I’ve Just Lost My Job – Now What?!?

You’ve just lost your job. A million questions are going through your mind.  What am I going to do?  What if I can’t find another position right away?  How will this impact my life, my family and my future?  How will I tell people?

No doubt about it, losing your job can be nothing short of overwhelming.  But with the right approach and a positive attitude this experience can open the door to unanticipated new opportunities in your career.  

So if you just received the news and you feel like your head is spinning, here’s what you need to do to get control of the situation and move forward.

First, take a breath.

Understand that job loss is something that has happened to even the most successful individuals.  It’s ok to let your emotions run their course.  In fact, it’s often a good idea to take a few days to let the news sink in – especially if you are feeling upset, hurt or angry.  Allowing yourself a little breathing room will prevent you from lashing out and making rash decisions that could potentially come back to bite you in the future.

Focus on leaving like a true professional.

The goal is to keep your career brand and your reputation intact, regardless of the circumstances.  Avoid the temptation to email others or take to social media to share your negative feelings.  How you leave an organization speaks highly to your professionalism and composure under pressure – attributes that are remembered when referrals and references are given.

It’s good to vent your feelings but do so in private with close friends and family.  When with your colleagues, maintain a professional demeanor at all times.  If you are feeling overly angry, sad or upset consider speaking to a counsellor. 

Devise a leaving statement.

When networking and speaking with recruiters you will need to have a leaving statement which describes, in neutral terms, what has occurred and what your future plans are.  Be sure to use terms that put a positive spin on the situation.  This draws attention away from the past and helps your audience focus more on the type of work you wish to pursue in the future. 

For example, your statement might say something like: “My role was restructured, so I’m looking for new opportunities to [describe what type of work you are interested in],” or, “There have been changes at my company and as a result, my role has been impacted. I’m now looking for new opportunities to [describe the type of work you are interested in].” 

Get your financial plan in place. 

Nothing creates more anxiety quite like not having a financial plan to support you through your job search.  If applicable, inquire with your former employer if they will offer a severance package to assist you through this transition.  Then, sit down and figure out your budget.

Keep in mind that you will be saving money since you won’t be commuting to work, buying your lunch, etc., and don’t forget to allocate money for weekly coffees with your network connections.

Leave no stone unturned. 

Create a list of EVERYONE you know and meet with everyone you can to tell them you are looking for a new opportunity.  This is where your leaving statement will come into play.

If you haven’t already done so, be sure to update your resume so that it includes all relevant details and recent experience. (Here are some tips for crafting a resume that gets results.)

Now is also a great time to revisit and revamp your LinkedIn profile.

Don’t give up! 

Regardless of how frustrated and overwhelmed you may feel, it’s important to remember that you WILL find another job. More importantly, it’s a great time to remind yourself that work doesn’t define you. 

Use this time to reset and refresh.  You might need two weeks or a good month off before kicking off your job search. That’s totally ok! You’ll be invigorated and ready to launch into networking and interviews with fresh energy and a new outlook. 

Losing your job can be a daunting life experience. However with the right plan and a positive attitude, you have the power to turn a challenging situation into an amazing new career opportunity.

Need more guidance during this transition? Check out my Job Search Toolkit. Or contact me to schedule a complimentary 20-minute telephone consultation to determine what you need to do to fast track your job search and help get your career back on track.

Author: Joanne Loberg of JL Careers Inc. is a Certified Executive Coach and Internationally Certified Career Management Professional.  She has a reputation as a highly sought after Career Consultant and she has been referred to as "an absolute expert at navigating the complex territory of career advancement.” Joanne provides leadership coaching as well as career transition coaching, career planning workshops, and job search services (resumes, LinkedIn profiles, cover letters, and interview practice) for Professionals and Executives. Copyright 2017 JL Careers Inc. All rights reserved.

Wishing you much career success!

Joanne Loberg
Certified Executive Coach & Internationally Certified Career Management Professional
JL Careers Inc

© 2004-2013 JL Careers, Vancouver BC, Canada

JL Careers provides Career and Leadership Coaching, Career Development Workshops, and Career Transition Services which support organizational succession planning, leadership development and employee engagement strategies.