How To Cope With Losing Your Job
Whether it's through redundancy, early retirement, or something else entirely, losing a job can feel as bad as a breakup. An emotional pile-up arises from the loss of routine, security, friendships, and in many cases, our identity. When such a huge part of our lives is pulled out from beneath us, it becomes so important to nurture the right actions and attitudes to help us deal with change.
Allow Yourself to Feel Whatever You're Feeling
It's normal to feel sadness, even grief, when we lose a job. For many of us our careers form a significant part of our identity, and when that's taken away without much warning we're often left with a sense of loss. It's completely okay to feel this way, but just like during a break-up, it's important to remember that there are plenty more fish to fry out there.
Create a New Routine
The routine of a 9-5 provides comfort and stability. When our days suddenly become a blank canvas it can be difficult to stop them blurring into one another as we begin to feel less and less productive. Make a list of three things you'd like to do with your time, whether it's learning a new skill, educating yourself, or embarking on a new hobby, and structure your usual 9-5 around these three things so that you know what to be working on and when.
Finances are one of the first places our minds wander to when we lose a job. Whether it's fears over rent, childcare, or bills, it's important to calm your nerves by taking stock of everything in your bank account, and how to manage it sensibly over the next few weeks. Consider inviting people over instead of going out for drinks, and it's always a good idea to have a spreadsheet to track the next few month's outgoings. Having visibility over your financial future can feel extremely grounding in times of uncertainty.
Whether busy means more exercise, more socialising, or curling up with a book, make sure your calendar involves a number of activities to keep your brain engaged. Not only will it pull you out of your unemployment bubble and remind you of all the other good things in life, but it's rare to find so much time to ourselves in adult life to do all the things we want to do, but never have any time for.
From your CV to an internal stock of your skills, figure out how you can shine even brighter, what your best qualities are, and what you can bring to the table. Once you've worked this out you'll feel far more confident to start looking for new opportunities, and if you realise some gaps exist, then there are hundreds of online courses to bridge them (or carve out a new path altogether!) A great place to start building out your skillset is Coursera, which has many free or affordable online courses.
It sounds really lame to be told to stay positive during what can feel like such a tumultuous time, but there are sparks of light to be enjoyed between jobs too; time is a resource as scarce and as valuable as money, so make sure you savour every moment and fill it with meaning, whether that's more time with your family and pets, more time dedicated to health and fitness, or more time spent doing the things you love.