When we imagine moving on to the next career opportunity, we imagine doing so on our own terms. In the ideal scenario, we’re choosing to leave a steady paycheck to pursue an entrepreneurial endeavor or move to another company for a new opportunity. Usually, we don’t imagine getting back into the job-hunting game because we were let go.
However, it’s a place most Americans will find themselves at some point in their careers. In fact, 56% of people will experience a job loss at least once in their life. Whether it’s due to performance issues, company budget cuts, or a corporate restructure…here’s how to bounce back when life throws you one of its roughest curveballs.
1. Don’t let the layoff change your character.
If you’ve been formally told your time is up, no amount of begging or pleading will change your former employer’s mind. And on the other hand…being rude, saying unkind things, or lashing out won’t get you anywhere either. It’s easier said than done, but respectfully let them know you understand…and then leave. Leaving well will only help you move on quicker.
2. Get in touch with your network.
As quickly as you feel ready, reach out to the people in your circle of friends and former colleagues and let them know you’re actively looking for new opportunities. Tell them what you’re looking for, what your strengths are; and ask them if it would be okay to send them your resume for any opportunities they may come across.
3. Don’t overshare.
Getting let go feels highly personal, even if it wasn’t personal at all (for example, when an entire department gets let go from a company). You may feel the need to get ahead of the situation and let people know why you were let go…but sleep on any social media sharing decisions before you make them. A lengthy LinkedIn update about being let go may do more harm than good.
4. Explore freelancing.
According to just about every study available on the internet, freelancing is the future. Almost half of the workforce freelances in some capacity. Freelancing can be something you find that works for you permanently, or it can be something that bridges the gap until your next right opportunity. When you’re reaching out to your network, let them know you’re available for any freelance opportunities.
5. Make a plan of action.
Besides the fear that comes with losing a paycheck, the hardest part of being let go is the loss of control. Unfortunately, that feeling only gets worse when job hunting begins. If you’ve looked for a new job in the last ten years, you know how overwhelming and defeating it is to find the right opportunities, spend hours on the applications, and then send your information into a black hole of HR filters. To regain some feeling of control, make a plan of action that keeps you on task. You can structure it however you want, but give yourself achievable daily goals that make every day feel like a win.
6. Get out of the house.
Your new full-time job may be looking for a full-time job, but the freedoms of being home-based come with many (many) distractions. Unless you’re a seasoned remote worker, it’s going to be all too easy to stay in your pajamas and watch Seinfeld reruns all day. Wake up early, get ready for the day, and head out to a coffee shop or library to put your plan of action in motion.
7. Enjoy your time off.
This may be the last thing you can imagine after being let go, but the truth is: You will find another job. It may take weeks or months, but it will happen. In the meantime, stay focused on job hunting; but enjoy the extra time you have with your family. Pick your kids up from school, watch their soccer practice, or host a game night with your friends on a Tuesday. Eventually, life will get crazy again; enjoy the reset.
Losing a job is one of the hardest experiences life can throw at you; but with an open mind and plan of action, you’ll find the next right opportunity for you (and be a better and happier person for it!).