There’s nothing easy about losing your job. Whatever the reason behind it, there’s an emotional reaction that you need to deal with before taking steps to move on. For most folks, this means taking a bit of time just for yourself.
Of course, if your financial situation is not the best, you may feel you can’t take time off. But it needn’t be a long time, and sometimes as little as a couple of days will do the trick.
So what do you do during this recovery time? Much will depend on you: your personality, your emotional temperature, your family situation, your support group and more. But here are some general thoughts and ideas you can adapt to suit yourself.
First, be nice to yourself. Don’t beat yourself up because of what has happened. If a good friend was in this position, wouldn’t you give them words of encouragement and reassure them that they are “all right”? Well, you can do the same for yourself. This might be the ideal time to treat yourself to a spa treatment. If that feels too extravagant, think about a pedicure — nothing is more relaxing!
You may also need to reassure your family that things will work out. You might do this naturally over a family dinner, or you might decide to have a family meeting just for the purpose. Don’t deny what has happened, but stay away from self-blame and focus on the possibility for something even better for you and for them.
During this time, you can also start preparing for the job search by taking a personal inventory of your career history, your strengths and weaknesses. This is not for anyone else to see. It’s a planning tool for yourself, so you can be completely honest in your assessment.
Maybe you have strengths you’ve used in other areas of your life, but not in your job. For example, if you’ve coached a sports team you may have developed leadership skills. Have you utilized these in your past jobs? If not, that’s something to consider now.
Thinking of the jobs in your past, what areas were you not so strong in, and what things did you actively dislike? Quite often they are one and the same, and once you’ve recognized them you might be able to avoid those functions and duties in your next job.
But if you don’t have high competence in one area now, that doesn’t mean it has to stay that way. Now might be just the time to look at ways of increasing your skills in that area. Can you take a course at a local college, or is there something available online?
An exercise that can rejuvenate your enthusiasm is to describe your ideal job. Write down on paper the type of work you’d love to do. Do you like working with technology? Are you excited by the idea of selling? Would you like to work with animals or children? Again, this is for your eyes only, so be open to ideas that might surprise you.
Whether you decide to look for the same type of work you had before or venture into new territory, now is the time to call on your network. Reach out to as many people as you can, telling them you are starting a new job search and the type of work that interests you. Ask them if they know of anyone who might be looking for job candidates or if they have any ideas that might help you. You may be pleasantly surprised at how eager people are to help when they can.
Your online network is also important. If you’re not on LinkedIn (connect with Jobacle), change that right away. The biggest group of people who make regular use of LinkedIn are recruiters and head hunters looking for job candidates, so get on there and help them find you!
Take enough time to write a good profile on LinkedIn, using keywords that describe your desired job. That way, recruiters who need someone like you will be able to find you.
Once you actively begin your search, treat it as a full-time job. That’s right, looking for a job is a job! That means you get up at the time you’d get up for work. Shave, shower and groom yourself as if you were going to work — because you are!
Keep records of what you’re doing as you search: phone calls, emails, LinkedIn postings and names of contacts. Not only will this help you keep track of what you’re doing, but if you treat the search as you would your job, you’ll stay in the right frame of mind, and when you find your job you’ll hit the ground running!