Confidence after a job loss
Job loss leaves most people feeling less confident. It’s not just about losing the income but also about your image and sense of yourself. For many of us, the value we put on ourselves is closely tied in to our work. Let’s face it, for lots of us, work is where we spend most of our waking life. It’s often where we find our friends (and even partners) and where we may make out major achievements. So when we lose a job, we feel we’ve lost part of ourselves and we grieve for it.
But you are much more than your job. People who really matter value you for much more than your work role. So, how can you begin to appreciate yourself again after job loss? How can you send that confidence back up the scale? Here are some thoughts.
Understand why it happened
If you have been made redundant keep in mind that it’s not personal – you were just unlucky and you are part of a very large and growing club. You may have suffered job loss for other reasons. Make sure you understand why and learn from it. Have you been sacked (let go)? Think about whether you should change something about yourself to make sure it doesn’t happen again. In all cases, what matters most is going forward, not dwelling on negative things from the past. But ,if there are lessons then learn them
Time for some mind-work
After job loss, the temptation is to ruminate on what has happened. The same thoughts and questions keep going round and round in your mind with no real answers emerging. Sadly, this is happening at a time when you may not have much to keep you busy. So you need to build a new routine.
Make sure you have plans for each day. Making a work routine for your job search is important. I usually advise clients to spend as as much time as they did at work, on their job search.
As for that tape that keeps running round your head, well think of it as an old radio playing in the background. Don’t fight the thoughts, observe them. Try not to engage with them. If the thoughts persist, think about seeking help from a counsellor or coach. You may want to consider taking a mindfulness course, it will help with exactly this kind of thinking.
After job loss, you may miss the company and the contact with people that you had at work. Now is the time to work on your network. Get out that old address book, look up your email contacts and those on your mobile phone. Find people on social networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. When you are not at work, social networks can become your water cooler – a way of keeping in touch with what is going on in the world. And you will be surprised how supportive your social media chums can be.
Pick up old contacts and find out what people are doing now. Show a real interest in them. It will give you company but also might give you a lead to the next job. Meet up – have a coffee with them. Tell them you are interested in new opportunities but don’t dwell too much on why you lost the last job.
Keep up appearances
This is a time when it is all too easy to slump around in jogging pants all day. Mind you the jogging, or at least some kind of exercise, is important – as is a good diet. Dress for work in the home office – albeit a little more casually than you did for work. It will help to raise your morale.
Worrying about money
Most of us will feel bad about the loss of income. But there is help – make it a project to find out all the sources of financial support available to you. For people in the UK, here is a link to Citizens Advice Benefits Information. Take time to understand where you might find help, then make sure you take advantage of it. Think carefully about how you and your family are spending money. Changes may be needed after your job loss.
Living with less money may mean changes in lifestyle for all the family; not so many meals out and subscriptions to clubs etc. Make the changes carefully, particularly if they affect your children. Plan and prioritise just like you would at work but engage the family in the choices you make. If you have a mortgage, now may be the time to consider discussing a mortgage payment holiday.
Time to consider just how competent you are!
This is the time to focus on what you are good at and your passed achievements. Elsewhere on this blog there is advice on writing your STAR stories. Preparing your STAR stories can be a real boost to your self-confidence after job loss. But they are also a great way to prepare to update your CV ready for your new job search.
Time for some enjoyment
When money is short, it is time to get creative about ideas for family and relaxation time. Even though it is now about long country walks rather than theme parks, it can still be fun. There are lots of free events and festivals around if you look for them – use that involuntary spare time to find them.
Don’t waste time and energy on guilt
Feeling guilty about job loss doesn’t change what has happened. Spend time looking forward because you can change the future. Don’t be hard on your self. You are one amongst thousands. In any case, you may not have a job but you do have a project and that is you.
Wendy Smith is a career, life and business coach with depth of experience in management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with the life’s more challenging personal issues. You can contact Wendy at firstname.lastname@example.org or find out more here