The emotional toll of losing your job can be stressful, overwhelming and, often, a traumatic experience. As someone who has already been fired, despite having welcomed relief from a toxic CEO, I was consumed with worry for my future and whether or not I could find another job. Although I was lucky enough to have substantial savings and a rather generous severance package, this is not the reality for everyone. According to a recent report by LendingClub, 61% of workers live paycheck to paycheck with an average savings of $1,158. Interestingly, the report found that a majority of those living paycheck to paycheck (42%) are six-figure earners. Regardless of salary, being laid off can be a stressful experience both financially and emotionally.
It’s no surprise that many people suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after being fired or fired from their jobs. There is no time limit for how long PTSD can last. It can take months, years, or even decades. Symptoms may include inability to sleep, anxiety, depression, emotional numbness, cautiousness, increased reactions, etc. The rejection experienced by the loss of his job is enough to turn the most confident person into a distrustful one.
Here are four ways to regain your confidence after being laid off.
Take care of the tactical stuff
An age-old advice recommends job seekers spend eight hours a day applying for jobs. This advice is problematic because it emphasizes quantity rather than quality. Additionally, those who focus more on quantity are less likely to research the types of companies they are applying to and determine whether or not they are a good fit. As such, they are more prone to act out of desperation and accept the first job offer that comes their way, which could lead to them ending up in a toxic workplace.
Here are some tactical next steps you can take:
- Review your finances and create a budget
- Carefully review the dismissal documents before signing to understand exactly what it entails; Contact an employment lawyer or seek free employment legal advice through your city/county agency if you are unsure. Don’t be afraid to negotiate your compensation
- Unemployment file
- Consider alternative/temporary insurance for the end of your insurance
- Update your resume and LinkedIn
- Reach out to your network to let them know you’re looking for a job
- Reach out to former colleagues or managers to ask for a recommendation
Dive into self-care
It’s normal to feel a range of emotions after being fired from a job. In most cases, those who have been fired feel like a failure. They view dismissal as a form of personal rejection. The reality is that most layoffs are aimed at saving the company money by restructuring departments and eliminating redundant positions.
Now is more than ever the time to dive into self-care and focus on your mental health. You can use this time to visit friends and family, go on hikes, join a walking club, catch up on the books you’ve been wanting to read, practice yoga, pick up new hobbies, and more. When I was laid off, I took the summer off and traveled around the United States to visit friends before starting graduate school and my job search.
Also, reaching out to a counselor or therapist is a wonderful way to help you deal with the emotions and fears you have about losing your job. The biggest misconception people have about therapy is that it’s only for the weak, the crazy, and the mentally ill. It is simply not true. Therapists help individuals navigate difficult situations and develop coping mechanisms to move forward. Likewise, they provide a great outlet for blowing off steam while navigating the emotional struggles that come with looking for a job. Additionally, most therapists and counselors have the ability to apply sliding scale rates in an effort to work with you and your financial situation.
Assess your skills
One of the biggest mistakes most people make when employed is not documenting the projects they have undertaken and contributed to, the skills they have acquired and the knowledge they have. acquired. Therefore, as they try to reflect on these things after their employment, they forget many of the contributions they have made. For this reason, it’s important to spend time reflecting on everything you’ve done in previous posts. After assessing your skills, you’ll want to update your resume and LinkedIn accordingly.
As you revamp your resume, you’ll want to leverage your friends and family to review it and provide feedback. Don’t hesitate to contact your alma mater’s career center for help writing a resume and cover letter. Most colleges and universities also offer mock interviews so you can improve your interview skills. These services are free to current and former students to help them succeed in the job market.
This is a great time to evaluate tasks and projects that you didn’t particularly enjoy. Knowing them will help you better navigate job descriptions and weed out positions with a strong focus on things that don’t match your strengths and interests. Likewise, if you have identified any weaknesses or areas of opportunity that you want to improve, you can take courses to develop those skills. Now is the time to assess your career path and determine what you want for your future. You may find that your passions lie elsewhere or that you want to try freelance work instead. Everything is fine. It’s never too late to try something new or different.
Think about and define your needs
More often than not, people who lose their jobs act out of desperation to quickly find a new one. As such, they miss the red flags and end up in a toxic workplace or situation. I myself have been guilty of this. It is therefore crucial that you take the time to reflect on what is important to you.
Here are some questions to ask yourself when considering your needs:
- What is important in the next company I will join? (core values that align with mine? a product/service that I’m passionate about? an active leadership team that takes employee feedback and concerns seriously?)
- What do I need from a manager and a team?
- What are the non-negotiable benefits? (remote/flex work? a certain number of PTO and sick days? vision and dental care? mental health benefits? 401(k) plan?)
From there, you’ll want to develop interview questions that target those needs. For example, if you don’t want a micromanager, you can ask a question like “tell me about your management style”. To see if your opinions, views, and ideas will be valued, ask a question about how the company has handled change or what changes it has made as a result of employee feedback. Remember, the interview is as much about finding out if they meet your own needs as it is about finding them a good candidate for the role.