The post-pandemic world is everything but easy. People are either hearing stories about massive layoffs worldwide every day or they have recently been fired and are now trying to cope.
Losing a job is one of the most stressful events a person can experience. More precisely, getting laid off is among the top 5 stressful events, other ones being losing a loved one, divorce, moving, and a major illness or injury.
Regardless of the reason, getting laid off is a dreadful feeling because it always feels personal.
I lost a job twice. The first time was over a quick Zoom call at the very beginning of the pandemic. I remember my daughter sitting in my lap while my manager explained the whole marketing department had to go.
The second time was from a job I was completely uninterested in and I was practically waiting for it to happen.
Both times I felt helpless, anxious and scared.
But here’s the thing. Sometimes things in life go down and you have to wait for your turn to go up again.
Getting fired is one of those situations where you can’t change what happened, but you have a 100% impact on what happens next.
And to do so, you need to avoid falling into panic mode. Here are three steps that can help you deal with the huge stress caused by losing a job.
Take some time to decompress
If you’re anything like me, your first reaction is probably to jump right into looking for a new job. But I don’t recommend it.
The truth is, getting laid off is a traumatic experience. You need to go through the emotions of anger, shock, sadness, and defeat until you’re ready to start a new chapter of your professional life.
Take a few days or weeks to process these feelings. Traumatic events require healing before moving forward, and that includes finding a new job.
Reach out to others and ask for help
Losing a job often feels like a defeat. Of course, nobody likes to be perceived as a loser.
Losing a job doesn't make you a less valuable person and there is nothing to be ashamed of.
Although it feels personal, remember that getting laid off also means that you can now search for a better job and, therefore — a better life.
Talk to your friends, family, and former coworkers. Write a post about your job search journey on LinkedIn. Contact your other colleagues who were also laid off. The more people know that you are looking for a job, the more chance you have to find what you’re looking for.
Reassess your career values
Sometimes when we lose our jobs, we tend to focus too much on finding something new and we completely forget about the things we actually want to do in life.
While nobody wants to get fired, getting laid off actually gives you time to think about your career:
- Was the last job you had a good fit for you?
- Have your interests changed over the years?
- What skills have you always wanted to have/upgrade?
- How do you imagine your ideal career?
It doesn't seem like it now, but you can turn losing a job into something good because you can start over. As cheesy as it sounds, it gives you a chance to finally do something that is more aligned with your own values.