7 Ways to Cope When You’ve Lost Your Job

Losing a job is a highly stressful and life altering event in anyone’s life.  Often time we walk into a job thinking that job is the job that’s going to boost your career and it’s a complete let down when you are let go.  Whether it’s a lay off, downsize, or you were fired, no one is ever 100% ready to lose their job, because, well…bills.  I’ve been laid off 3 times in the last 6 years (that’s once every 2 years) and each time pushed me closer to my real purpose in life.  Although my initial feelings were that of self doubt asking myself , Was I not good enough for the job? What did I do wrong?  Am I not smart enough?, I realized that it’s all a part of the process.  Since I seem to be a pro at this, I’ve outlined a few ways to cope after losing your job.

  1. Go Through the Emotions

Allow yourself to feel the emotions!   There are five stages of grief that we go through when we lose special and meaningful things and people in our lives.  Losing your job, in some cases does cause grief, and in extreme cases can lead to depression.  Feel every single emotion that you encounter, but don’t dwell in your misery.  I remember, after this last layoff, running into a fellow coworker  in the parking garage, carrying a box of my belongings and immediately breaking down into tears. It hit me that I no longer have a job.  How am I going to pay my bills??? Although that feeling of sadness was temporary ( it maybe lasted an hour), I felt it.  I felt upset and hurt, so I cried, and that’s okay.  I felt angry and wanted to get back at whoever was at fault.  I felt all of that and you will too, if you allow yourself to. Just don’t live in the misery.

2. It’s not personal

I actually believe that my last “release” had a lot more to do with me personally, than professionally.  I can’t prove it, but in my heart of hearts, I am almost certain.  Despite my feelings of being let go of because of personal vendettas, I didn’t take it personally.  Removing me from the company for personal feelings was more about them than it was about me.  Accepting that the elimination of your position is not personal will allow you to cope with the loss.  At the end of the day, as an employee, you are a number.  We have the bad habit of giving loyalty to a company that doesn’t reciprocate those same feelings.  Learn to separate your professional life from your personal life. The best advice I’ve received from a coworker many years ago, was to go to work to make money, not friends.  At times it may be a bit difficult to not make friends, but allow those friends to happen organically.  Don’t give too much of you personally.

3. You are NOT your job

Having an identity and a sense of self is of the utmost importance.  A healthy Work – Life balance is a great way to be okay when you lose your job.  I’ve witnessed a number of people who have nothing else going for themselves but their job.  Their entire identity is wrapped up into their title at ABC Company.  You know, those people who take their jobs waaayyy too seriously and are intimidated by others who pose a threat to their existence and importance.  Don’t be that person.  That person will have a helluva time coping when they are no longer employed.  Understand that you are not your title, you are a mother/free spirit/wanderlust/wife/artist,  who happens to be an {insert job title here}.  When I was laid off, each time, I knew that I was not that job.  I knew that I was going to be okay because that job didn’t make me and it didn’t make you!

4. It was your Time

One thing I’ve learned if I haven’t learned anything it’s that when it’s time for you to move, God will move you! Sometimes, in most cases, you have reached your maximum potential and God knows that way before we do, so He will move us, because we won’t move ourselves, for several reasons.  time-to-goEither we feel comfortable, we don’t have confidence in knowing that there is something bigger and better for us, the money is good, great benefits, etc, so we stay. Every single time I was laid off, it was time for me to go!! I remember waking up to go to the second job I was laid off from with stomach pains and often crying before, during, and after work, but I would not leave.  I was recently laid off 2 years before that, took a $20K pay cut and was struggling, so this painful job was what I needed to make ends meet,but God knew better.  He removed me from that job and gave me something so much better, that gave me back the money I initially lost plus $20K more.  At my most recent job, I peaked.  I didn’t see any people in management positions or higher that looked like me, which was a clear indication that chances for upward mobility for me were slim to none.  If that’s the way any company wants to operate it’s fully within their right, but it’s your choice to stay or not. Just hang on to the fact that when you are removed from a job, it was your time to go and pursue other opportunities.  Accept it as a win!

5. Pursue your dreams

There are people who are made for Corporate work and their are people who are made for entrepreneurship.  You have to know who you are.  Me, I enjoy the Corporate life, when it’s my own corporation.  I’m not that okay with taking orders from other people and I like to do my own thing, my way.  I like to believe that I’m a creative person and working towards someone else’s vision does not allow the opportunities necessary to display that creativity.  Take the time off to pursue those dreams you have been pushing to the side while you were making someone else’s dreams come true.  Push through that fear of failure and get it done.  Failure is a MAJOR part of success so face the failure head on.  Pursue what YOU want to do!  If it doesn’t work, at least you can say that you tried.  Don’t live with any ” I should haves”.  It’s not worth the stress.

6.  Take time to yourselfdepositphotos_10627813_original

Let’s face it, working a full time job is taxing.  For those who have spouses and/or children, it’s very rare that you get time to yourself.  If the situation allows, take this time without a full time job, for yourself.  Relax.  Do things you couldn’t find the time to do when you were working 40+ hours per week.  My initial reaction when I was laid off was to immediately apply for jobs.  Trust me, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t look for your next opportunity, but don’t let it consume you.  Take your time to find the job that is right for you.  Refer to Number 5.  Take a mini vacation to clear your mind.  I’m currently spending 2 weeks in California, sitting at the table in San Diego with the doors open, writing this post! Treat yourself.  Take care of yourself!  Don’t burn yourself out. Refuel and prepare yourself for what God has lined up for you next!

7.  Meditate/Pray

I’m a prayer warrior!  I love it, I practice it, I soak in it, I seek it.  I’m a firm believer that prayer changes things. Completely!  The day after my most recent lay off, I woke up (when I wanted to, mind you), had a cup of coffee, sat on the patio and had a little talk with Jesus.  After that talk, life became so much more clear.  I make sure that I take 45 minutes to an hour, each morning for meditation, before I start my day.  I do yoga while the coffee is brewing (for about 5 – 10 minutes), then take the remaining time to pray, read, and meditate on God’s word.  This practice doesn’t remove the hiccups from my day, but it makes it a lot easier to deal with.  Whatever you do to bring you to a zen frame of mind, calms you down, and slows your brain down, do it and do it daily.  This practice helps me to deal with life’s obstacles.

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It’s been 6 weeks since I was laid off and I’m busier now than I have ever been.  I’m working on pursuing my dreams and following the plan God has set for me.  It doesn’t come without sleepless nights, but I’m putting in the work and allowing God to use me for His purpose and His glorification.  I’m in a great place right now, mentally and physically (I mean, I’m in San Diego for goodness sake).  These steps helped me to cope.  I don’t wish anyone to lose their job, but if you ever find yourself in that situation, I hope these steps will get you through.

 

Love and Light!

♥Starr

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.” Psalm 32:8

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