One Year On… How To Make The Most Of Losing Your Job

  • Published on:
    September 23, 2020
  • Reading time by:
    4 minutes

With so much going on in the world more and more people are losing their jobs. A significant change like losing a job, can really change your life and your vision of your future. 

Roles and businesses can sometimes change overnight, and everyone loses their job once in their lives. In most cases it is not personal and should not be taken that way.

When you lose your job, most people will tell you that in a year’s time you will be happier than you were and doing something you want to be doing. Everyone will tell you it has happened for a reason even if you can see it is a good enough reason at the time.

At the time of losing your job, you cannot believe it. For awhile you will be in your own head trying to understand what and how it happened. You might be busy reflecting on what you could have done differently to have changed the situation you now find yourself in. You ask yourself so many questions and question your own decision making and beliefs. You also question your future and there are so many unknowns now in front of you. 

Here are some ideas to help you through this period and then onto your next big thing:

Grieve and be upset

There is a high chance you didn’t see this coming or there was nothing you could do about losing your job. You might be angry at the people or the situation and that is ok, as it probably wasn’t fair that this happened to you. We all know, life isn’t fair sometimes and we have to lean to roll with the punches and this is one of those punches. Give yourself some time to grieve the role and the future you might have seen there. Have a cry (the shower is great for this) but don’t let this mood overtake you for too long. Shake it off and move on. Rewrite your mindset and the voices in your head.

Learn to live simply

Hopefully you have been paid out a little bit of money. Work out quickly how long you can live off that payout at your current expenses and rate. Then work out how long you can live off that payout if you cut your corners a little bit. You want to aim to be living off that money for 3-6 months as it could take that long to find your next thing.

It is time to be brutal about your spending. You do not need to buy any new clothes. Cut down on your gym membership – you know have the time to walk around the block every day for free. Accept a free coffee from a friend. Spend as little as possible as you don’t want to be accepting a new job just out of need of money! You might need that payout for a variety of reasons so put as much as you can away in savings as a just in case.

Take some time out to work out what is next

There is a chance you have moved from role to role for several years with barely a break between the roles. This is the time to have a break. Yes, it has been enforced but that isn’t a bad thing. Write up a to do list of all those things you wanted to do around the house and online that you never have the time to do. Start getting them done or realise they are not as important as you think they are. At the same time, start having a think about what you enjoyed and didn’t enjoy in your last couple of roles. 

Some questions you could ask yourself: 

  • Are you passionate about the industry still or can you take your current skills to a different industry? 
  • Is this the time to do a short course to get some additional skills up and move to a different type of role or level? 
  • Is this the time to start your own thing and what would it be? 
  • What are some ideal companies you might like to work for? 

There are more options than you think and it’s time to cast your net as far and as wide as possible and make what is next the best move possible!

Network, network, network!

Everyone will tell you that the best way to land your next gig is via networking. Sometimes this is hard work as you need to accept that you have lost your current job and start telling people you have. It is time to start asking for help, for a coffee or zoom catch up or even a phone call. Start by writing down all the people you have loved working with over the years. Chat to them first and tell them the news. Next write a longer list of people you know who have influence or good networks or are at interesting companies. Contact them next and again tell them your story (and each time you tell your story it does get easier!). Then finally have a longer list of people who are connections or contacts that are not as strong but could be used as needed.

Networking takes time but provides great outcomes! When getting in touch with people get a little story together of what has happened. Frame it in the best possible way to ensure you do not sound bitter and twisted, even if you still are. People will ask you the hard questions about what you want next and get will get to practise your spiel and run some ideas off them. Ask them for their opinion as that might spark some other ideas for you.

So many roles out there are not advertised the traditional way and networking is the best way to find them. If you are looking for anything that isn’t full time you will have to rely on your networks as these opportunities are never advertised and sometimes instead can be pitched to a person as an idea. Have some ideas of projects you could do or work on for specific companies and try pitching them. The worse they will say is no, and you will be no worse off it they do. If they say yes, then get ready for a fun ride!

Networking really nets some great results and sometimes a role or a company you hadn’t thought of yourself. Stick with it as it does work, and a warm opportunity or introduction is always the best – it is at least a nice icebreaker! People know people and will hear of things over time so be patient with this approach. People love to help out others if they can and then you have a new connection for life.

Losing your job is confronting. Everyone says a year on you will look back on it and see it as the best thing for you. At the time it is really hard to see where you will be in a year’s time but believe in yourself and your future and help yourself make the next thing you do great!

Alicia Cohen

Currently, a freelance consultant, Alicia has over 20 years of the UK and Australian experience in professional and corporate roles within sales, management, and leadership. With post-graduate qualifications in publishing, communications, training and directorship, Alicia loves to chat about all things business, women’s affairs and digital.

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