How To Bounce Back From A Job Loss

A job loss can be difficult, especially if your identity is defined by the work you do. Here's how to recover and come back mentally stronger.

Announcements of hiring freezes, layoffs and rescinded job offers within the tech industry and startup community have dominated the headlines for months. Now companies across other industries are scaling back their workforces as a possible recession looms. Although overall employer demand for talent is still high, the recent instability is creating anxiety among workers. In fact, a recent LinkedIn poll revealed that 60% of respondents were either worried or very worried about their careers because of economic uncertainty. A job loss can be difficult—especially if your identity and sense of worth are defined by the work you do. If it was a surprise, the experience could be even more devastating. But while losing your job is out of your control, how you handle it isn’t.

Here are five helpful tips to help you recover from a job loss and come back mentally stronger.

Give yourself time to process

Often the immediate reaction following a job loss is to frantically look for a new position. While it’s essential to consider your finances, allowing time to process what just happened is critical. This step is especially important if it’s your first time in this situation. A job loss is very similar to other kinds of loss and involves a grieving process. So, give yourself time to go through the necessary steps of denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. You don’t have to be jumping for joy, but you do need to make peace with what happened before you can successfully move forward.

Take a step back to reconsider your goals

If you can, this is the perfect moment to take some time off. Often, the only way to gain clarity is to still the mind. Unfortunately, you can’t do that if you’re scurrying around updating your resume and submitting job applications. So, instead, focus on your well-being by doing something you enjoy—whatever that means. Some examples could be playing golf, walking your dogs, or spending quality time with your kids. Then take a step back to reconsider what is most important to you in a position. Studies show that the Covid-19 pandemic has immensely impacted people’s lives, including leading individuals to reevaluate what they prioritize in life. So, consider your values and priorities before moving to the next phase.

Reach out to your support system

Trying to get through these difficult circumstances by yourself can worsen stress. In fact, one study by Dr. Daniel Griffiths, Ph.D., a research fellow at Monash University, suggests that the depression and anxiety that often accompany job loss can be reduced by social interaction. Nearly 30% of those surveyed who had lost their jobs reported psychological distress. But the odds of feeling that discomfort increased more than seven times with little to no social support. So, make an effort to lean on family and close friends. You may even want to engage a neutral third party like a career coach or therapist. These professionals can provide an unbiased opinion and help you reframe the situation more positively.

Refresh your job-hunting skills

If you’ve been out of the job-hunting game for a while, it’s time to upgrade those skills. However, remember that the process probably hasn’t changed as much as you think. One thing you do need to master is the video interview. While it is similar to an in-person interview, a video interview requires a certain setup. For example, choose an area where you can control your surroundings to minimize distractions like noisy pets and screaming children. Then there’s LinkedIn. With more than 50 million people searching for jobs on LinkedIn every week, it’s no surprise that 95% of recruiters are on LinkedIn looking for candidates. So, ensure your LinkedIn profile effectively positions you for your desired role. Finally, don’t forget that remote work opportunities have skyrocketed. Sites like Remote.co, FlexJobs and JustRemote are just some job boards that advertise these types of roles.

Stay positive

Staying positive during your job search is critical to success. If you can, create a daily job hunting routine. That way, you’ll stay organized, focused and motivated. At the same time, take breaks and find time to do something you enjoy. Another way to stay positive is to volunteer. Research shows that helping others is proven to boost well-being and reduce depression. Volunteering is also a good way to meet people who share your interests and are outside your professional network. Finally, remember to focus on what you can control. While it might seem like a long process, it will be worth it once you find your dream job.

A job loss feels personal. That’s because it is. After all, the average person spends around one-third of their life at work. It also goes beyond just losing your income. It means losing colleagues, routine, and a sense of purpose. The fundamental thing to remember is that you are so much more than your job. Once you realize that, you’ll focus on making a life instead of just making a living.

Feeling stuck and not sure it’s time to make a career shift? Download my free guide: 5 Signs It’s Time to Make a Bold Career Change!

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