Lost your job? 6 stages you will go through to heal

You were called to the director’s office or to human resources and you were told that you were let go. You lost your job, that simple. You might feel shocked and confused and ask why? What had you done wrong? You might get an answer, you might not.

The reason could be anything; Covid-19, cutting budget, downsizing, restructuring, low performance, or even because your boss simply didn’t like you. No matter what the reason was, you have no job now. You are experiencing so many different emotions at the same time.

6 stages after losing your job

  • Shock and denial: You can’t believe it. You think it’s just a mistake and it will be redone. You try to understand what is going on. You feel shocked and confused. Or you might think you misunderstood the whole situation and the conversation is not really about you letting go.
  • Desperation and anxiety: You feel desperate. You’ve lost your job and you might not have enough savings to pay your bills and your rent. You feel obliged to find another job right away. Feeling restless and anxious all the time, you search for any jobs that you come across even if you know you’re chances are low. You want to jump into anything to prove to yourself and others that you were good enough and it wasn’t your fault that you were let go.
  • Sadness and self-blame: You start looking for reasons to blame yourself. You’re extremely sad and think the world is over. You might even cry which is completely ok, that’s what I did when I got fired. You think of all things you could have, should have, or might have done to prevent getting laid off. But to be honest, nothing makes you feel better.
  • Anger: You get angry at your boss, your coworkers, and whoever was related to you at work or even your family. You try to put the blame on everyone else except yourself. You might see the world as unfair and even blame the universe for what happened to you.
  • Depression: You experience not having the energy or motivation to get out of bed. You watch TV all day long and spend your whole time on useless social media. You don’t want to socialize and want to stay home.
  • Acceptance: You finally come to a conclusion that it really happened to you. You lost your job. It was a very bad experience, very sad and maybe unfair but it happened and you have no choice but accept it. In fact, the sooner you reach this stage, the sooner you can recover from it and plan for your future.

Sometimes you might need help. If you think going through these steps is not easy, ask for help. Don’t let negative thoughts and feelings get over you.

It might be the best thing ever happened to you

It may seem crazy. “How on earth losing my job or getting fired might be the best thing that has happened to me?” You might say that you have lost your source of income, you felt humiliated in front of your family and friends, you felt unqualified or even ashamed. You might think that it was the worst experience you’ve had in your life.

Yes, it is not pleasant but try to see it this way. You have a chance to think about your career and ask yourself some questions to find out what the next step could be the best for you. Questions such as:

  • Did I really love my job?
  • Was I happy at work?
  • Is it really something that I want to spend almost 1/3 of my time on it?
  • Did I have good relationships at work?
  • Did I enjoy my job?
  • Did I have the chance to learn and grow?
  • Is it something I want to do again?
  • Did I wake up every day excited to go to work?

If you answered yes to all, it was really unfortunate that you lost your job. But the bright side is that you have already done what you loved and you’re experienced in. You have built a resume in the field you love and enjoy, so what you need to do is just focus on finding a new opportunity. Remember, you’re a few steps ahead of people who have less experience than you.

But if you answered No to all or most of those questions, believe me, it was the best thing that has ever happened to you.

What next?

Now, you have the opportunity to explore your options. But first, you need to go through some stages to be ready for your next job.

  • Do nothing and clear your head: Give yourself time to recover. Do nothing serious. Don’t apply, don’t even look into job search websites. This stage doesn’t need to take a long time. A few days or maybe a couple of weeks might be enough for you to stop feeling sad, angry, or anxious.
  • List your skills and abilities: When you feel better, sit down and write a list of skills and abilities that you feel confident about. Look for your work-related strengths, skills that can make money for you.
  • List your passions and interests: Make a list of things that you love. Things that make you happy.
  • Find something you like and you can make money out of it: Now that you have two lists of what you can do based on your skills, knowledge, and experience and what you enjoy doing, try to find something which covers both.
  • When you find what you need to do, start planning: Make a step-by-step plan. Your favorite job might need new skills to learn or you might need to start with an entry-level job. As long as, you know what you want to do for the rest of your life, spending some time getting ready is totally worth it.
  • Stay focused and don’t lose hope: Feeling disappointed or losing hope while you’re looking for a new job happens all the time. But you need to remind yourself that this situation is temporary and it will pass soon. Imagine the day you start your new, how excited you may feel. Remember that feeling whenever you feel disappointed.
  • Celebrate your new job: This step is the best. You have found a new job, you meet new people and learn new things. New opportunities are ahead of you.

Be happy and celebrate it!

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