The shock is tremendous when you first learn that your job has been taken away from you. Stunned, frightened, angry-these are the first feelings you’ll experience.
Losing your job is one of the worst feelings there is. Yet, you are about to enter a potentially interesting, challenging and liberating life experience. How you respond and the actions you take can determine your financial health, career direction and happiness of your family for the rest of your life.
Commit yourself to these 12 things and you’ll experience a much quicker and more satisfying resolution to your job transition.
The 12 Things
1. Go home immediately following your termination meeting.
Wait to say goodbye to your colleagues at another time. Go home and have a good cry. You owe it to yourself. People who are truly your friends will remain so.
2. Get support from a loved one.
Comfort and care is crucial at this time. Only a loved one can give it to you.
3. Clear out your office when few people are around.
Ask your boss to accompany you after office hours to clean out your desk.
4. Identify where you want to work next and plan how to get there.
Identify the type of work you want to do, where you want to do it, and who has the power to hire you. These three points will be three-quarters of the way to a new job.
5. Don’t start contacting people until you are ready.
It takes several days to collect your thoughts and plan your career transition. Start making your personal contacts once you have a sense of how what kind of help you want from them (don’t wait more than a week to begin doing this).
6. Carefully review your severance plan, insurance alternatives and 401K rollover options.
Don’t make rash decisions. Get professional help to review your separation agreement and your retirement package. Spend the money for professional advice. It may be the cheapest investment you ever make. Take your spouse to your benefits’ review meeting to help you to make wise, informed decisions.
7. If offered outplacement, take full advantage of the service. If not, ask for it!
Your outplacement consultant can provide excellent guidance and support during this difficult time. She’s an expert at dealing with the emotions you are experiencing, as well as the technical side of the job transition process. If your employer has failed to arrange for outplacement, ask for it. A good outplacement service can take months off your job search.
8. Prepare yourself to hear bad things about the job market, don’t listen.
Some of your “friends” believe their mission in life is to tell you all the bad things happening in the job market. They’ll point out every layoff, bankruptcy and negative information that demonstrates how hard it is find a job. You will find a job, get on with it.
9. Inventory your accomplishments.
Identify the last ten years. Whether work or personal, list accomplishments in detail. Identify the contribution they made, and learn to talk about them effectively.
10. Develop a regular workday routine.
Be disciplined. If you arrived at work every day at 7:30 in the morning, make sure you’re doing the same now. Begin your job search at 7:30 a.m. Work as diligently as you are used to working on your regular job.
11. Catalog your contacts.
It’s not who you know but who knows you that will get you your next job. List every person you can think of who may be able to assist. Plan to contact each person as soon as you feel confident (but don’t wait too long. Confidence grows with the experience of talking about your search).
12. Stay in touch with friends and acquaintances.
You may feel self-conscious about your unemployment and hesitate to talk to friends and acquaintances. An active social life and regular communication will help you identify significant job opportunities. Do not reduce your social activities; increase them.
Your next job will be a chance to start all over again. No one will know the mistakes you made in the past nor will they know your accomplishments unless you decide to tell them. Create for yourself and your new job an exciting opportunity to be reborn. Don’t look back, only look forward to greater growth and learning.