It was like having lived through grief as if I had lost a loved one. I wandered around the house not knowing what to do, not knowing where to start, I felt lost, like having been thrown back into square one.
Losing a job can be as painful and overwhelming as any loss, it is normal to grieve and take time to rethink everything. However, many have a difficult time getting out of this stage of improvement and they remain stagnant. The grief of a job is experienced as having lost someone, it is a healing process that takes time and work.
The circumstances in which we lost our job can make the experience even more stressful. Some only see how their contract is finished, others wake up one day without knowing that it is the last they will have a job, we can feel betrayed, robbed as if something had been taken from us.
Even if it wasn’t your dream job, it was your source of stability and peace of mind, “what am I supposed to do now?” you wonder. Some believe it’s just a matter of focusing on getting another job as quickly as possible, like sweeping under the rug, pretending nothing happened and getting into job-hunting beast mode. If you stop for a moment to think, this is not how we deal with the loss of a loved one, we don’t focus on getting a replacement as soon as we walk out of the funeral, we take time to heal and grieve. With a job it should be the same, allow yourself to feel, then you will get back on your feet.
Hurting is fine, just don’t get too used to it
Grief is normal in every process of loss that we experience in our lives, from a pet, a friend to when your favorite TV show is canceled or simply comes to an end. I’m still recovering from the Game of Thrones finale.
Losing a job can affect our mental health in different ways. Some people begin to develop a professional identity crisis when they are abruptly fired from a job they believed they would have for years. Perhaps you were expecting a promotion, a very important position within the company, and instead, you were granted permanent vacations without pay.
On the other hand, this event can become a very strong blow to the confidence and self-esteem of any person, we begin to wonder if we are enough if we really can excel at any job. You can end up in a spiral of decline where you even question whether you are really good at something.
Then there are the things that we actually lose. You can lose friends from work or important contacts, starting to network again may seem impossible. So many years building relationships, routines, and purposes, and in a second everything went down the toilet.
All of the above are very fair and valid reasons for grieving. We cannot ignore these facts or try to form a hard shell to avoid feeling bad about it, because we simply cannot. Someday all those problems will pop out, the best thing is that you deal with all those emotions in a controlled way. It’s better to cry on your couch than in line at the grocery store.
How to grieve a job in a healthy way
As I told you, this is a stage that you must live to overcome this obstacle, but you must know how to do it well. It is very easy to mistake an adjustment time for a series of unhealthy habits that will make it increasingly difficult to get out of there.
Here are some ways to deal with emotions constructively:
It’s a matter of time: time is key, you shouldn’t rush out to find a new job while the wound is still open, but you can’t afford to take a six-month sabbatical either. Take a few days to adjust, evaluate why you lost your previous job, do things that make you feel good and couldn’t do before because of lack of time.
Feel free to express: you don’t have to keep it a secret. Tell your parents, your friends, roommates everything you are going through. Talk about it, ask them their opinions and what would they do, don’t reserve anything. Talking about it will make it feel real and you can better regulate your emotions about it.
Don’t try to fool anyone: you must accept the reality of the situation. You may think you were fired because your boss was jealous or because they couldn’t appreciate a rising star, but if the truth is that you just weren’t trying hard enough, there is no gain in deceiving yourself. Face the situation for what it is: a job loss. Nobody took it from you, you lost it.
Don’t beat yourself up too much either: this may sound counterintuitive. Nor should you remain in constant criticism and blame yourself, regardless of the circumstances, you have a great set of skills and abilities that make you a great candidate for many jobs. Just as you must recognize what caused you to lose your job, you must recognize the strengths that will make you find another.
See it as an opportunity: you can interpret the situation as an unsolicited hiatus. If you can afford to take the time, consider new alternatives, perhaps a career in a totally different area. Perhaps you were in a dead-end job and needed a sign that you must progress in another path. Use the time to rethink plans.
Don’t worry, you are going to find a new job, but have these tips:
The hardest part is keeping up, you must have a focused mentality so as not to stagnate and without realizing it you have been unemployed for three months. These tips will help you get through this stage like a champ:
Have a strategy
A new job is not going to fall from the sky. You must be clear about what you are looking for and where to do it. You can’t expect to be offered a CEO position out of the blue. Use contacts, LinkedIn, classifieds to find new opportunities.
Just because you don’t have to set the alarm clock doesn’t mean you can wake up at 2pm. You will have more time on hand but you should take advantage of every hour of the day to do something productive. Whether it’s looking for offers, meditating, exercising, or whatever makes you feel better. Create a routine like you would if you weren’t unemployed.
Update your CV
If you were several years in your previous job, surely you have not seen your CV since then. Add all the experiences and skills that you have acquired in that time, adjust them based on what you want to achieve. There is no use for you to have six months of experience in a warehouse if you are looking for a sales position. A killer resume can be the key to a dream job.
Find ways to stay motivated
The worst that can happen is that you lose all motivation, you can even fall into a depressive episode. Never hesitate to seek help, from friends or professionals. Look for jobs that really inspire you and fill you with satisfaction. The hill can be steep but the only way is up.
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