Jobs are rarely for life. Most of us will, at some point, experience losing a job for one reason or another. We might decide to quit because we’ve had enough, or we might be made redundant because the company is downsizing, for example. Whatever the reason you might eventually end up parting ways with your job, it can be hard to pick yourself up and feel like a regular human being again, especially if your job is tied into your self-worth (which it is for many of us, unfortunately). Here are the first steps you should take when you lose your job.
Start looking for another job
As soon as you know you’re losing your job – whether it’s the moment you hand in your notice or the moment after that fateful meeting – you should start looking for another one. Hopefully, you’ll have a notice period to work through, which means you shouldn’t be too long out of work, but even if that’s not the case, it’s important to show that you’re constantly on the lookout for another position. This will help to plug and/or explain any significant gaps in your CV as well.
Examine your finances
Naturally, after a job loss, your financial health is going to look a little different. It’s important to comb your finances to make sure that you’re adapting to what is, in the end, a rather seismic change in your personal circumstances. Remember that personal loans are always an option if you are struggling for cash in the short term, too; anything from £500 loans all the way through to bigger options could help you to survive. Just don’t take this option if your financial health absolutely can’t sustain repayments.
Work on your CV
Whether you call it a CV or a resumé, one thing’s for sure: when you lose your job, it’s time to work on that document. First, you’ll need to update it to reflect your change in employment, but this could also be a good opportunity to examine it and make sure it looks good for future employers. After all, it could have been a long time since you last looked at your CV, especially if you’ve been in your current position for a while, so what better opportunity to revamp it?
Focus on your mental health
There are going to be a lot of demands on you after you lose your job, and with all of that happening, it can be easy to forget that losing a job also takes a huge toll on your mental health. It’s important to try to take time out to focus on yourself and enact some self-care. Whatever that looks like to you – playing video games, taking a relaxing bath, or going for a walk, for example – make sure you’re parcelling out time during your day to accommodate your wellbeing.
One of the most difficult things to do if you lose your job is to learn how to fill the time effectively. Boredom can be a serious problem when you’re unemployed, so one of the best ways to fill that time is to volunteer. By volunteering, you can increase your skillset, do something that’s really worthwhile with your time, and add to your experience. There are plenty of organisations and companies out there that are always on the lookout for volunteers, so why not get started as soon as you leave work?
Check your benefits
Depending on where you are in the world, you might be entitled to benefits when you lose your job. If you don’t have much money stored up, for example, you’re entitled to Universal Credit in the UK; it’s not much, but it could make the difference, so don’t pass up on it if you can claim. Other benefits may be available to you as well, including childcare and help with paying your bills, so be sure to visit your government’s website to brush up on what you might be entitled to.
Consider a change of career
If you are lucky enough to be comfortable when you lose your job – or even if not, but you know you’ve hit a tipping point – then this could be the moment to retrain and change your career. Think about what you’ve always wanted to do in life. Isn’t it better to chase that dream than it is to settle for something in which you’ll never be happy? Maybe the dream isn’t realistic or attainable, but some version of it might be, so why not start mapping out a potential career change?
Start practising interview techniques
When you lose your job, you’re going to need to start thinking about applying for other positions. With that in mind, you’re going to get interviews, and it’s important to know how to interview well, which is another skill you might have lost during your time in paid employment. Recruit a family member or friend to help you practise some mock interviews. Think of some common questions interviewers might ask, and prepare answers for them. You can never be fully ready for the curveball questions, but you can try to think about how to improvise and respond to them as they come.
Finally, one of the things that’s most important when losing your job is acknowledging that it’s OK to feel grief. Any change in personal circumstances can feel painful, and losing a job is no different. You might feel ridiculous for grieving a job as you would a loved one, but you shouldn’t; it’s a seismic, often devastating change in your life that means you don’t have the security and sense of identity you once did. Look after yourself and acknowledge that it is OK to feel pain if you lose your job.