Job loss can be devastating and depressing to say the least. I too had my fair share of  it in the past, coping with the thoughts that just weren’t easy to decipher then.  I do well relate to what some of you are currently going through during the job loss phase.

While you network, seek help and do everything you think in your power to get back to a job, I believe the important aspect is to manage your “self” first.

There are various emotions that dominate the mind in such threshold situations.  The stress and the side effects of the stress can play havoc with our emotional intelligence. The fact that your job role is redundant and hence you are no more part of the organization that you associated your self with, almost like your identity, is definitely a big dent to the mind.

This causes mind to go through various phases, some of them include:

1.Shock: The news about you no longer being indispensable is a shocker to many. You can’t relate to the reality jolt that comes along with this shock. “How can it be me?”, “how is it possible, there’s some mistake, need to check with my Manager / HR”, these are some self-talks that happen. The shock ,that all this while, you have seen and supported and empathized with fellow working professionals at work or in social media around you, whenever you heard that they lost the job now you are a part of that population too. The tables just runed, isn’t it!!

2. Self-denial: When the initial shock settles in, the self-denial kicks in. “This can’t be true”, “I have been the best in my team”, “I have received great reviews from my superiors, then how can I be impacted in the layoff?”, “I was handling critical clients/ projects, surely they have not realised that I am to be taken out of the layoff plan”….these and many such statements keeping darting out of the mind and then fall back into it….

Denial to accept that your identity attached to the designation or the job role does not exist anymore now , causing more self-doubt..

3.Self Doubt: Self-denial, refusing to accept the facts of the matter, being emotional, causes a negative spiral through negative self-talk and hence, self-doubt. Doubting your capabilities, your strengths as a person and professional is causing you to ask questions like : “was I not good enough”, “where did I go wrong”, “why did this happen to me”, “was I not productive enough compared to the team member who was retained?”, “how will I survive this?”, “for all the efforts and time I invested at the workplace, this is what I get” etc . All this is further leading to the next maze of confusion and not to mention the lower self-confidence.

Feeling sorry for yourself and your present condition is not only a waste of energy, but the worst habit you could possibly have

Dale Carnegie

4. Confusion: Owing to the self-denial, lower self-confidence, the person who has lost the job, also tends to be confused about what to do next.

How will is I survive this phase, with no income / salary, how long will I be able to manage my finance? How will I start my job search? What will people say if they find out about me being jobless?,  How will my immediate family take this news? And many such questions bog down the mind and create a kind of paralysis to see ahead clearly.

5. Lack of direction: In situations where, people have accepted job loss, overcome self-denial about it, still the confusion causes lack of direction. Questions like: “where do I start?”, “who can guide me?”, “what is my next step?”, “should I take a break and then start the job search?”, “will I get employed in this market?” are the questions that occupy most of the waking hours….

7. Being Desperate: The overwhelming feeling caused by the some or all of the emotional states mentioned above, can force you to lose the focus on what needs to be done. Hence, the best strategy the mind plays out is to tempt to apply all / every role out there, without gauging the skills, level, expertise, industry. Sounds familiar? yes that’s when you appear to be desperate/ tend to be desperate for some job to hold on to.

8.Bad Decision Making:  Being desperate for a job, causes to make bad choices, bad decisions. You may feel like picking up the first job opportunity that comes your way, even if it means getting a pay package lesser than your previous role, or a role 2 levels below even though you know, you are much experienced. Once into the job, it will be a very demotivating work life, as you will always be on the look out for something better, bigger and aspirational.

9.Being depressed and unhappy: When bad choices are made, poor decisions executed, we tend to be unhappy. In this case we end up being stuck in a work we do not enjoy or see adding value to. This feeling of being unfulfilled, unhappy, unworthy eats us from within like termites. Unhappiness shows in every other aspect of your life, however lucky and blessed you are (could be birth of a child, having a great support system at home, an encouraging partner etc). That often then leads to depression.

Depression causes to dampen that fire in the belly for motivation that pulls you up in life, depression take away any colour that’s there in our life, causing us to feel even more stressed out, even leading to our impact cognitive abilities, that so far had helped us to work faster, interpret data, have emotional control etc, thereby impacting overall productivity downhill.

Depression is a prison where you are both the suffering prisoner and the cruel jailor

– Dorothy Rowe

We as working professional do not wish  to go through the above vicious cycle, even if we are in the step one of receiving the bad news of job loss or in the self denial phase figuring out “why me”.

So while all this and more is happening when we lose jobs, how can we deal with this? How do we manage ourselves and be responsible to us?

It is observed that most human beings, are the worst critics of self. So Self denial, self doubt, lower self esteem etc are bound to be the after effects of such a shock.

This is the phase where you are tested by yourself, your mind, your emotions and your logic.

When you receive the news, once the shock settles in, attempt to regain yourself. Remember your worth that brought you until this journey. Now the journey abruptly ended forcing you to do a course correction.

Photo Credit: The Image Ally

Please do not tie yourself to the job designation or the title you have been employed for past many years….As I have mentioned earlier in my posts, title came to you because of who you demonstrated to be, they were given to you because of what your strengths are, what skills your had and the expertise you carry. Your job titles are temporary, but you are permanent.

Be there for yourself, instead of criticizing unjustly, swearing on about your luck, fate, destiny. Instead, take a step back. Reassess your strengths, your area of expertise and rich experiences. Talk to yourself positively. Reaffirm your worth, continue to believe in yourself and say that you will pass this phase of being unemployed. If you are not cheering for yourself first, no one else can.

Be resilient and pull yourself out of the self denial and self pity if you see yourself drowning in it.

Self pity did not help any one in past, nor will it help you today.

The Image Ally

So get up, plan your next step. Assess the markets, take time to weigh your opportunities. Are finances a big issue, haven’t you planned your finances for next 3 to 6 months? Utilize the severance packages offered as part of the layoff (if applicable), by reassessing your expenses it will help you to stay afloat for some time at least. Else, if you are willing to reconsider you lifestyle and related expenses, you will be able to manage your finances to stretch for longer duration with your savings. Also, you may want to reconsider your healthcare and insurance providers for better deals on coverage and premium.

List down the closest of friends, family who will be open to accept your current situation and be willing to be your a standby as a financial support until you get a foot hold back into the employment zone.

Until you ask for help, you will not get the help. It’s very rare help comes through by silent suffering.  This will be the true test of them being your true cheer leaders…just a pointer to think.

Don’t suffer in silence, find a way to vent out your fears and worries in a healthy manner. It could be talking out to your partner or a close friend, talking to your parents if you are close to them, writing journals to let the free flow of thoughts, it could also be exercising, meditation, walking or running. Any hobbies like taking up a acting class, music classes, painting, baking, pottery, gardening, that help you to keep your mind positively occupied are great for you.

Save your mind from the stress created by “being inside your head”. This will help you focus on solution that will support you while you land a job, like alternate income options through freelancing, taking up small projects in your area of expertise, teaching professionals in your domain if you are an expert, blogging, hobbies that can help you earn to keep your expense ship floating for the time being.

Having a strong, clam mind, will help you focus on the right opportunities, attend interviews confidently, get good offers, compare them based on your expertise, skills, experience, role. This will help you not to rush into any decisions.

Bear in mind that getting a job becomes more of a process of research, networking and personal branding as you grow up the ladder and as you become more experienced. This requires patience and perseverance.

So do not give up. Keep trying, be choosy when you apply for jobs.

Upgrade your skills (tech and interpersonal skills) to help you perform better in the new role. Find a mentor or a coach to help you navigate through this phase.

I truly hope and wish that the above blog, helps you to stay confident and be optimistic in your job search. Wishing you all the success in your job search ahead….

If you see practical tips that can help you or someone in your network, going through this phase, please share this article with them. Also like, comment and share your thoughts and tips on the aforementioned topic.

Best Regards

The Image Ally

(We work with mid to senior level professionals, business owners and entrepreneurs to upgrade and upskill themselves and their personal brand towards success.)

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