5 Tips to help cope with unexpected Job loss.

Whenever I share My Story, at some point I say: “I understand all too well what it’s like to be laid off after years of dedication… 12 to be exact.”

The difference between my story and most who experience a lay off? I welcomed it. I, by no stretch of the imagination, hated my job – oh no. I was just ready to move on. So that previous sentence usually is followed by: “I took my package, thanked them for the years and returned to school”.

But what about those who are NOT prepared for the devastating announcement that basically goes: “you have 60 days to take this pittance and find something new”? While I knew what I wanted to do, my team of 9 didn’t. There were tears (many), anger, frustration, confusion and, of course, fear. Each conversation started with: “CJ, what am I going to do?” and I did all that I could to support them, given the limited resources.

First of all – you’re going to be okay. Because when one door closes, another one always, always opens. Cliche, I know. But I was absolutely ecstatic that once our 60 days had expired, everyone on my team had found something new. Their new doors had opened.

I wanted to share some tips garnered from my experience working with my team. It is meant to help you through one of the most difficult transitions you can experience in your professional life.

  1. Let those emotions flow, but also know how to direct them.
    Your manager, in most cases, has to deliver the bad news but had nothing to do with the decision. If that’s the case, don’t take it personally and burn a very important bridge with misdirected anger and lose out on a glowing recommendation. Also, your loved ones are there to go through this with you – lean on them.
  2. Speaking of recommendations, make the ask.
    The support is there for you, if you choose to accept it. As you go into survival mode, ask that manager for a letter of recommendation. If there is another department that you are interested in, now is as good a time as any to job shadow.
  3. Identify your transferrable skills… As well as your Values.
    As you search for a new role, what are the skills that brought you joy when you used them and why? Is it because these skills were aligned with your core values? What are those Values? This will help you with not just finding a new role but a fulfilling one.
  4. Make a plan that includes a realistic Budget.
    How are you managing your time to effectively decide on and search for a new role? What resources has the company provided, if any? Are you utilizing them? And if you received a severance package, the amount will only take you so far. What are your expenses and how far can the amount take you, in the event you do not find something new within the deadline?
  5. Look forward to the Silver Lining.
    As you hurt, there are typically 5 stages of loss: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance. Identify the stage you are in and how long you would need to be there – and understand that this differs for each person. The more in-tune you are with your emotions throughout this experience, the easier it becomes to move through and on. Before you know it, the silver lining appears and that means that things are starting to improve.

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