Losing a job, whatever the reason, is never easy. Friends and family will tell you everything happens for a reason during this time. But sometimes you will just need time for the inevitable feeling of rejection to heal.
It is normal for losing a job to affect your self-esteem and confidence. Besides the fact that it may affect your financial stability, many people get a sense of routine and purpose through permanent employment, making the transition even more unpleasant.
You may have not passed your probation or been ‘let go’ due to downsizing. You could have been made redundant. Even if the reason seems obvious, don’t be afraid to probe your employer on why; if not to help procure some closure, then for your own sanity.
Is my current position no longer required or valued within the company? Why does my employer not think I’m right for the role? These are all valid questions that deserve valid answers.
There is no perfect work environment, and there is no perfect employer. Whether the situation was handled poorly or unprofessionally, don’t be too quick to get out your burn book.
Maintaining a good relationship with a previous employer – where possible – is valuable, not only professionally but in terms of getting over it, no matter how scathing your opinion is of them.
Look for a new role completely different from your last
If there is no immediate urgency to find a new role, take your time applying for a new one.
Look across multiple platforms you haven’t utilised before. If you religiously use job sites, try using a recruitment agency. If you haven’t updated your LinkedIn for years, now is the time to do so. If you’re extremely uncertain, about what to do next, look for temporary positions. Use your newfound freedom to your advantage.
Take a break
Use this time to fulfil all those conversations that ended in ‘We’ll definitely have to arrange something soon’. Routine can be your greatest friend, while concurrently your worst enemy.
Join that zumba class you’ve been talking about for a year. Book that holiday you haven’t had time to plan for months. Reach out to those friends you forget even exist sometimes because they’re so low maintenance.
Find the silver lining
Being made to feel like more like a number than a person might make you realise you despise corporate environments. Being made to feel like the issues that might have led to your job loss were, at least partially, personal might make you realise you dislike working in small or family-run businesses.
Maybe this is a good time to consider going part-time and focusing on another project or business idea you’ve had in mind. If you’re struggling to find that silver lining, there’s always that one colleague I’m sure you’ll be happy to never see again.
Use this time to do some self-critique rather than self-loathing
When I worked at a chain hotel at 17, my manager told me I was the best Food and Beverage Assistant the team had ever had. I was told at another job I didn’t have a good rapport with other employees and didn’t come across as friendly and approachable in the office.
Two very different employers gave me very different character references. I worked hard at both jobs, I cared about both roles equally, but I wasn’t happy within my role at the latter.
What lesson did I learn in all this? Stop wearing your feelings on your face. There is always something you can learn about yourself from situations that don’t work in your favour. That may be how to handle situations better in the future or doing some positive self-work.
At the risk of sounding totally cliché, losing a job is not the end of the world. Nor does it mean that you are a substandard employee. If you use this experience to help you find a role that is right for you, you’ll be grateful it happened…one day. If not, you can always tweet your PayPal and hope for the best.