Work-Life 6/4/2015

The Forgotten Phase of The Job Hunt: Recovering After Job Loss by Leslie-Juvin Acker

This week’s topic is the job hunt, but I want to focus on what happens after we’ve been fired or laid off. It sucks. It’s painful. And it stings on so many levels, leaving repercussions on our lives and minds long after we’ve severed ties with our former company.

The Separation And The Fallout

Getting fired or laid off is tough and the psychological and emotional landmine is the first hurdle to tackle before heading back into the job market. Even if we’ve seen the separation coming from a mile away, nothing can quite prepare us for the shock of hearing that our days are over. It feels like we’ve been led out to pasture or worse, taken behind the barn and shot like Old Yeller.

There’s the fall out: we feel totally lost, disenchanted, angry, hurt and the plethora of human emotions catches us like a whirl in the white water. Then, we retreat to lick our wounds and sentence ourselves to exist amongst the living dead until we can snap out of the funk.

The thing is, everything we need to know in order to get back on the career track is within us. It’s just buried under the junk (negative thought processes and self-sabotaging behaviors) that has got us down. It’s all inside and it’s all around - but we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

Getting Over The Grief

One of the essential steps of getting back into the job search is getting over any sense of grief, loneliness, and even betrayal that we feel. This means treating ourselves with kid gloves and nurturing ourselves through the yucky parts of job loss to adequately emotionally prepare for the new job hunt.

Many job seekers make the mistake of hopping right into the job search either for a lack of funds or for ego. The tricky thing is we go into this with a “get anything” mindset and that “anything” might be the exact opposite of what we really want. But, for the sake of personal enlightenment, bear with me…

Taking the time (whether it be a concentrated weekend, a few weeks or months, or even a year) can help get us into the right and balanced frame of mind for the job hunt. It doesn’t have to be ceremonious or drastic like hiding in a monastery or going back to school. It can be as simple as going to the beach or park to connect with nature just to get out of a work setting and into the bigger world. Feeling grounded and connected to what’s important are the goals for this step of self reflection and contemplation.

Connecting with Others Once Again

Once we feel a sense of groundedness, we can gently connect without friends and network to get into the mood of socializing. Networking can be a draining process which is why I recommend filling up the emotional bank first before making withdrawals. Reviving the spirit is essential so that people can get a sense of our confidence from our job hunt instead of feeling pity for our job loss or confusion we might convey about our future. In other words, when we’re not reeling from a job loss we’re confidently working on expanding ourselves and our opportunities and thus others are confident to help us out.

Recovering from a job loss is a natural part of the job search process, but unfortunately often goes ignored. I have seen this happen during the 2008 financial crises and some are still living with the trauma of getting laid off because they haven’t properly worked through this essential phase. Don’t be like these people - give yourself time to blossom and be patient with the process. It takes a lot of courage to trust again.

Remember, the answers to your next career move ultimately lie within and around you. We just have to see them with a fresh pair of eyes. Don’t rush the recovery process because it’s an essential part of the growth towards the next big thing. Nurture yourself and when you’re ready you’ll get the sign that the job hunt is well under way. In fact, taking the recovery time to heal after a job loss means the job hunt has already begun.

Coach Leslie’s Questions To Ask:

?     What does my inner wisdom say about how I feel and think about my lost job?

?     What does this pain or discomfort I feel about my job loss tell me about how it all went down?

?     Do I have a friend or coach who can listen to my side of the story? Can they give me a positive perspective?

?     How can I treat myself compassionately as I grieve my job loss? What are my energizers?

?     Once I have given myself adequate time and care, what is the one challenge I’ll take on as the “new” me? What would the old me would not have risked at the old job?