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You lost your job. Now what?

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You lost your job (the reason doesn’t really matter so much at this point does it). What do you do?

BREATHE: It may feel like the end of the world, but for most it is not. As an adult you structure your life around your work schedule. You are your job. When you unexpectedly lose your job it wreaks havoc with your emotions. Your self esteem suffers. Your relationships suffer. You feel miserable. Don’t do anything. Now is not the time for action.

GRIEVE: Yes, grieve – the death of your job. Allow yourself to mourn similar to how you would for that of a loved one. Crying is normal. Anger is common. Blame, very common. Any feeling you experience is normal – remember this if nothing else.

PLAN: What are your options? Start by listing everything that comes to mind and sort, reject, or expand on your ideas as necessary. A planner or a pad of paper and pen will help you capture thoughts and ideas that will help you develop your plan. (Computers are awesome, but at this point won’t be as helpful to you as the old fashioned way).  Also read Job Search Planning

IDENTIFY NEEDS: Once you have the beginnings of a plan you will find that you need to do or get things. What don’t you have that you need to get yourself back on your feet? Hopefully your résumé is up to date, at least! Otherwise you may need to update that, certainly. You may need names and contact information for people that can help you.

ENLIST HELP: Who can you tap into to network yourself to a new position? Help can come from friends and family or from a professional. Now might not be the time to rely on an aunt who serves as the family’s “guru.” If you lost your job due to being fired or injured at work you may need to consider whether or not you need to consult an attorney, for example.  Also read: Fighting FIRED with FIre

REVISE PLAN AS NECESSARY: So you have a plan in place and you are working it – great! Right? Maybe not. It is good to reassess your progress periodically as you work your return to work plan. Weekly usually makes good sense in most cases. Are you getting return calls? Are you getting interviews? If not, why not. Examine each prior week for anything upon which you could improve.

WORK YOUR PLAN CONSISTENTLY: Keep your goal uppermost, whether it is to get any job or if you have more specific goals. The more you focus on what you want the greater the chances that you will see opportunities that you might not otherwise. Every activity and communication can move you closer to your goal.

FOLLOW THROUGH/FOLLOW UP: Some people are able to follow up effortlessly while most have to work at it. Keep your activities organized in a way that will allow you to follow up on opportunities that might present themselves. If you are asked to call back in two days, call back in two days. If you submit an online application or resume, follow up to be sure it was received and ask for an interview.

CELEBRATE YOUR RETURN TO THE WORKFORCE. Just when you think it will never happen you will get the offer.

Suggested Reading: I Lost my job, now what?

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Good luck in your search,


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