How to Deal With an Unexpected Job Loss

If you just lost your job, there are probably a lot of thoughts going through your mind. You may be angry at your boss, or whoever else you think could be responsible for your situation. Sadness is not uncommon either. Most of all, you are probably anxious about what will happen next—will you get a job and how will you pay the bills until that happens. In the immediate aftermath of getting your walking papers, do the following:

  • Acknowledge that you are in a very stressful situation and your feelings are entirely a normal reaction to it. It is not uncommon to be upset or angry. While it’s okay to vent at your friends and family, do not act out toward your boss or coworkers.
  • Take a short break to evaluate your situation. You don’t have to start looking for a new job the day after you get fired but do not wallow in self-pity for very long.
  • Try to figure out what happened so you can learn from this experience. It’s easy to blame others, but it is essential to own your own mistakes. If you don’t, it won’t be possible to make the necessary changes to keep it from happening again.

After giving yourself a few days to grieve after an unexpected job loss, get going on creating a plan for your future. There’s a lot to think about including financial survival until you get a new job, health insurance, and figuring out a new career if you don’t want to stay in your present one. Here’s a simple strategy for moving forward:

  1. Losing your job provides the perfect opportunity to reevaluate your career choice and determine whether a change is in order. One thing to consider is whether you enjoyed what you were doing. Another is the health of your field. Did you lose your job because of layoffs? Whether you think you would be happier or have more stability in another occupation, make sure to do your homework first.
  1. If you decide to leave your current occupation but don’t know what career to choose, a self-assessment will allow you to learn about your interests, work-related values, personality type, and aptitudes. Then find suitable occupations based on this information. You may need professional help to do this.
  2. During your employment gap, take the time to spruce up your skills. Find out which ones are most valuable to employers in your field and sign up for classes or find free online tutorials. Look for low-cost educational programs offered by local organizations.
Unless you’ve decided to take time off from work to retrain for a new career, your primary objective is to find a new job as soon as possible. Create a competitive resume that highlights the skills that are most in demand in your field and is free of even minor errors. Let people in your professional network know what has happened and don’t be ashamed to ask for job leads. Review your job interviewing skills and make sure you have appropriate attire available.

While an unexpected job loss can be an overwhelming life-changing event, it is possible to recover quickly and successfully.



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