My finances, my projects, my life
May 24, 2020

Job loss: bounce back in four steps

You’ve just found out you’re being made redundant and the news has come like a bolt from the blue. Shock, a feeling of injustice, anger, worry and sadness – you’re full of emotions and finding it hard to keep a clear head. Stay calm. The myLIFE team is here to share its four-step method to staying grounded and bouncing back after losing your job.

Step 1: coming to terms with the situation

Regardless of the underlying circumstances, redundancy and unemployment are almost always experienced as a sort of “social death”. This is particularly true if you have to leave a company you’ve worked at for years, or even decades. Faced with this feeling of “social death”, you’ll first need to come to terms with your situation, then start the mourning process. And mourning involves accepting reality.

Avoid denial, panic or hysteria. These reactions solve nothing and they may even hurt you. You should also try to avoid thinking of yourself as a victim and asking “why me?” because these tendencies may undermine your self-confidence. To deal with the situation in the best possible way, don’t isolate yourself. Instead, surround yourself with people you trust who can offer you comfort and support – people who can help you focus your energy on the future rather than the past. Avoid toxic people who’ll try to turn you into a victim, including your other colleagues who’ve also been let go. The temptation to band together is strong, but this can be harmful if the only reason to do so is to feel miserable together and badmouth your former employer. You don’t need someone to blame, you need a solution. And to find a solution, you’ll need to take a few steps straight away!

Being dismissed can generate intense emotions that, if not properly managed, may lead us to make hasty and irrational decisions.

Step 2: taking the right action

Being dismissed can generate intense emotions that, if not properly managed, may lead you to make hasty and irrational decisions with harmful, or even disastrous, consequences. First, rather than slamming the door behind you, try to negotiate the conditions of your departure: notice period, severance pay, letter of recommendation or re-employment plan assistance, etc. To do this, you may need help from your trade union delegation.

Next, promptly register as a jobseeker with ADEM to claim unemployment benefits. Don’t rashly accept a low-paying job in the heat of the moment if it doesn’t reflect your skills and experience. This could have major consequences for the rest of your career. Instead, we recommend that you quickly inform your network of your job search, and update your profile and CV. Take the time to look through job offers online, and set up alerts to see new offers that match your criteria as soon as possible. Depending on your profile, consider informing head-hunters of your availability.

One final important measure: manage your finances. Unless you’ve negotiated a healthy severance package, it’s likely that your income will temporarily decrease. It is therefore essential that you assess your financial resources and cut back where necessary. This is especially important, as it will take some time before you receive any unemployment benefits you may be entitled to. Avoid taking on any debt during this transition period, unless you absolutely have to as part of your next career move.

This is probably the first time in a long while that you’ve had space to stop and reflect on what really matters to you.

Step 3: taking a step back

Now that the initial shock has passed and you’ve taken the first steps in the right direction, it’s time to step back. After all, this is probably the first time in a long while that you’ve had space to stop and reflect on what really matters to you. If you’ve been granted severance pay, you’ll also have a little bit of money to look forward to.

Since you can’t go back in time, why not see your situation as an opportunity, rather than a failure? Don’t let your layoff or temporary unemployment define you; rather, see yourself as someone turning the page to a new chapter in their life. But before you think about how to start this new chapter, ask yourself the right question: what do you want to do with your life? It’s only once you have a clear answer to this question that you’ll be able to effectively search for fulfilling work.

Be careful: when the future is uncertain or in flux, a common temptation is to go backwards, without thinking. This isn’t a good idea. Since the situation is what it is, give yourself a chance to reconsider your professional choices before deciding on the way forward, whether or not you take a new path. In other words, take some time to review your strengths and weaknesses, ambitions, values and skills. Take a fresh look at yourself, rather than mechanically dusting off a 10-year-old CV. You’ve changed, and your current situation is a great opportunity to set goals for yourself that reflect who you are today.

Step 4: getting organised, acting and persevering

By this point, you know where you want to go moving forward. Congratulations! Now it’s time to take care of yourself, and to do everything you can to make your new professional goal a reality.

One trap to avoid at all costs is giving up and letting any feelings of emptiness overwhelm you.

One trap to avoid at all costs is giving up and letting any feelings of emptiness overwhelm you. In the past, your days were organised around your work. Now, you’ll need to discipline yourself and structure your day so that there are moments for relaxing and reflecting and times to take steps towards securing your next job. Remember to let your network know, and take advantage of your free time to extend it. Now that you have your ideas in order, you can identify your most useful contacts.

It may also be a good time to train, so as to hone some of the skills you need to turn your new career plan into reality. Get all the help you can. In addition to ADEM, there are associations, organisations, and even companies specialising in jobseeker support. You can also get help if you plan to start your own business.

Are you looking for a new job? Don’t just apply for jobs that meet your criteria. Be proactive and try spontaneously applying for jobs with employers that interest you.

Be patient. Even if you’ve already been refused dozens of times, you may only be one step away from success. Perseverance is often the key to overcoming a challenge. We wish you every success in the future.