Thursday, 11 June 2015

How To... Bounce Back When You Lose Your Job

It happens to the best of us, perhaps for no rhyme or reason. If you're particularly unlucky, it might happen more than once - but it is not the end of your life. Here are 7 steps to get you back on your feet.

1. Negotiate, if possible
First of all, is their decision negotiable? You can ascertain this during - or very soon after - your termination. If so, go on to negotiate a period of probation if it's worth your while (and it is, if you like your job and see it as integral to your career).

If it's non-negotiable, then make sure everything is completely legal (you can find out more here, and don't forget to check your contract). If it is, then let's get down to the not so formal stuff. If it's isn't, then you need to seek legal advice from the Citizens Advice Bureau, which as I understand it, is free. It is also helpful to speak to HR and legal professionals, if you can.

2. Accept you will feel like sh*t
Embrace it, even. When I lost my dream job after only three months of being there, I cried myself to sleep. Extreme? Perhaps, but I thought it was the be all and end all. You will survive this. So allow yourself a few days down time. You are absolutely allowed to be as selfish as you wish in this small timeframe.

3. Get up
Right, this is the not so easy bit. You may feel like your world has crumbled around your ears, but it hasn't. Considering you're probably your average sized adult, you have outgoings to pay for and you're going to need to sort that quickly. Obviously how you approach this will vary greatly depending on your industry and individual circumstances, but it's simple: Update your CV, connect on LinkedIn, get networking and start searching.

Don't carry your mistakes around with you. 
Instead, place them under your feet 
and use them as stepping stones 
to rise above them.

4. Find a stopgap
In the meantime, you probably need to bring in the cash - even if it's nowhere near what you're used to earning. So swallow your pride, bury that bruised ego and grab something that will do for now. You can find temporary, contractual and freelance work fairly quickly without too much effort, and don't forget to ask around friends and family - you never know where your skill set may come in handy.

5. Use surplus time wisely
It's very tempting to bury your head in the sand, shut your eyes and pretend it isn't happening - perhaps by booking a last minute break to forget your troubles or treating yourself to something a bit snazzy. Not a good idea - you might need that money further down the line, and actually the time away - or object bought - will remind you of the time you lost your job and felt aimless. Rethink it. Can you build your skills? Learn a language? Go on a course that adds to your career path?

6. Look at your happiness and overall goals
Now here's a question. Life - God - the great unknown, whatever you want to believe, has thrown you a great big curveball. So did you enjoy your job? Really analyse your answer. I had to acknowledge that my dream job, for various reasons, didn't live up to my expectations. My passion wasn't met with passion, nor my commitment (relocating some several hundred miles just to begin with) met with time for my development. So whatever happened and however you felt, go through it and find what you enjoyed and what you'd rather leave behind. That's as good a starting place as any for accepting a new role.

7. Don't bring baggage with you
It's so easy to take it personally, but business is business. I wrecked myself for a few days wondering if I did something wrong, but as word started to get out about other cuts in the company, I saw it for what it was - in my case, restructure (read- 'We don't know what we want, and it's not working') and a cold case of 'last in, first out'. The fact of the matter is, you can do your best and still not be enough. In the wise, wise words of Beyoncé:

"The reality is... sometimes you lose. And you're never too good to lose, 
you're never too big to lose, you're never too smart to lose. 
It happens, and it happens when it needs to happen. 
You need to embrace those things."

Do not take the knock to your confidence with you to your next job. Do not take it through life. It is necessary to leave things behind because they are heavy to carry - so cut it out. The only way is up.



  1. Great advice guys. I was made redundant 10 years ago when I was 7 months pregnant with my 2nd child and it was not an experience I would like to repeat. However, it is a learning opportunity and how we deal with the challenges in our life say a lot about us as people. I am a great believer in 'things happen for a reason' of, as long as you stay positive and keep trying, things will always work out in the end. Lorraine x

    1. Thanks Lorraine - wow that is absolutely terrible, sure that's not illegal?!? Great advice too - working through it as a learning curve!

      Felicity x


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