What to do right now if you just lost your job
With 51% of Canadian workers spending less than two years on the job, it seems that frequent job movement — whether through resignation, quitting, or being let go — is the new norm. Over the course of my career so far, I’ve noticed that certain people were able to quickly recover from career setbacks such as getting laid off or fired. They all have similar attitudes and approaches and all were able to find an even better position than the one they had before, in a relatively short amount of time. Here’s what I’ve noticed they’ve done:
- 1. Mourn
Deep down you know that you’ll find another position, and that the one you lost wasn’t a great a fit for you anyway. But in this moment, you’re allowed to be sad, angry and confused. This is where close and sympathetic friends, family and partners come in handy.
2. Stay positive
The fact is, no one wants to be around a Debbie or Danny Downer, let alone refer or hire one. No matter how bitter you are on the inside (and it won’t last, trust me), arm yourself with positivity. It’ll pay off.
Being truthful about your strengths, what you can improve, and what you really want to do with your life will play a big role in how you decide to go forward.
4. Update your resume
Believe it or not, most open positions still require a resume. Update your resume, get feedback, then revise and polish. You never know who you’re going to meet or what amazing opportunity will become available, so it’s best to be prepared.
5. Say your goodbyes
Alright, you’ve recovered from the initial shock, you’ve mastered the outward air of optimism, and you accept that you, and you alone, are accountable for your future. Now that you’re more or less pulled together, it’s time to take back control of the situation by deciding when and how you want to say good-bye to colleagues you didn’t get a chance to before. You’ll help maintain your relationship with them, build your list of references, and who knows, one of them may have a lead or contact.
You’ve been working at least 40 hours a week for how many years now? Take a little break, and if you can afford it, a vacation. Many people I talk to regret not doing at least some travel between jobs.
7. Jump into the job search, fast
While you should reflect and rest, unless you’re fulfilling a lifelong dream by taking a year off to teach orphans in South America, start looking for a new job in the field you want. Now. Unfortunately, most employers do not look favorably on long gaps of unemployment. Plus, the longer you’re unemployed, the harder it becomes to find something. So jump in, and stay focused.
8. Reach out
Don’t become a hermit or isolate yourself. Now more than ever is the time to put yourself out there and meet people in your target industry. Go to events, conferences and reach out to people you admire on LinkedIn.
Today’s worker must have the resilience and adaptability to quickly bounce back from career trials and tribulations. We’ll all have them at some point in our careers. The key is what you do with this set-back to turn it into a success story.
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