How To Handle Change: When You've Lost Your Job

When You've Lost Your Job
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If you are laid off or fired, don't do anything at first. Give yourself time to just be. You don't need to immediately start sending out resumes. What you need to do is to take a moment to breathe. Feel your feelings of anger and frustration, but don't fall into the victim mode. Accept the situation and then begin to take small steps to get back on track.

To begin with, keep a daily routine. Get up early and have a plan for the day. Find ways to fill your time besides just job-searching. Exercise, do jobs around the house, and find meaning in the transition so you can bring closure to it.

Next, view this turn of events as an opportunity to take stock of your life. In fact, what an opportunity to re-evaluate where you are with your career and what direction you would like to go in next. If you find that you need additional help or guidance, do not hesitate to meet with a career development professional, they can help you assess and redirect.

They say that whatever doesn't kill you will make you stronger. Losing a job can produce significant financial stress and emotional duress. Deal with the stress, handle your emotions, and manage the change that you are undergoing. Keep your perspective. After all, your job was just one part of your very full, abundant life. Remember that when one door shuts, another opens. Unfortunately, we often look so longingly at the one that just closed, we neglect to see the many that may have opened. Finding ways to adjust to your new life situation is essential.

The Five Steps of the Adjustment Process

You are not fully aware of what has happened.

Your may be in denial or try to place blame on others.

Stages of resistance:
     Relief (you feel as if a burden has been lifted and begin to see opportunity).
     Anger (you blame those you might think are responsible).
     Depression (you may feel depressed once the reality of the situation sets in).

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You start to explore other options.

You come to terms with the situation and gain the energy and desire to move forward.

You start to take action on specific goals or plans.

How To Handle the Change

Change happens to all of us, but everyone handles it differently. There are some common feelings that are associated with sudden changes: you may feel awkward, uneasy, annoyed, frustrated, unsure of yourself, and alone.

When you start to feel overwhelmed, take time to reflect and refocus. Know your vision and your values, set realistic goals, and learn from setbacks. Some grieving is natural, but the faster you can move through the process, the better. You may feel an initial loss of identity (Americans identify very strongly with the work we do).

And you may mourn the loss of your network (the social life that was linked to your job). You may not know quite what to do with yourself (as you were not ready to be unemployed). But there are some ways to cope. First, it important to understand what happened, accept the situation, change what you can, and brainstorm your options. Then you can begin again.

Problem-Solving Model

  1. Define the problem.
  2. Investigate it in detail.
  3. Produce potential solutions.
  4. Select the best.
  5. Try it out.
  6. Evaluate the results.

How to Manage a Career Change

• Remember change has many positive benefits.

• Focus on what is to be gained.

• Join a support group.

• Get professional help, if necessary.

• Set priorities and goals.

• Practice stress-reducing techniques.

• Talk about things with someone you trust.

• Concentrate on what you did right on your last job.

• Remember your contributions.

• Update your resume.

• List your positive work-related attributes.

• Be aware of your strengths and weaknesses.

• Ask yourself what can be learned from the situation.

• Volunteer or spend time doing things you always wanted to do, but never had the time or energy for.

• Think creatively about possible career/life directions you can take.

Develop Resiliency

When You've Lost Your Job: Involuntary TerminationThe #1 skill to develop in today's world of work is resiliency, or the ability to "bounce back." Resiliency will enable you to more easily handle all kinds of life transitions.

Resilient Qualities:

Interconnected to others: Has a keen sense of the interconnectedness of all life

Driven by values: Makes decisions from personal value system.

Require solitude: Takes time to reflect.

Self-reliant: Knows that they are responsible for their own life.

Is creative and playful: Able to have fun and be creative.

Adaptable and flexible: Can change and/or go with the flow.

Collaborative and team-oriented: Works with others to accomplish tasks.

Always in training: Continually learning and adding to their repertoire of skills.

Multi-tasking: Can perform numerous things at one time.

Future-oriented: Looks toward the future and realizes the impact of what they do today.

Coming to Terms with the Loss of a Job, and Moving On

Remember that there are always other jobs, but not other people, memories, or days. Keep your perspective — a job is replaceable, you are not! Do not confuse who you are with your role or title. Initially, your self-esteem may wane, but you can affirm yourself and your skills by thinking positively.

Things usually happen for a reason. Know that a new experience is waiting for you just around the corner. As always, when you learn what you are meant to learn and follow your intuition, you will be led in the right direction.

Everyone should be fired or laid off at least once in their life. It builds character. And if you believe as I do, that everything happens for a reason, then you can come to terms with the situation and move on.

Journal Assignment

What career changes have you experienced?

How did you handle them?

How could further develop your resiliency for future transitions?

This article was excerpted from the book: Get Smart, by Michelle L. Casto.
Reprinted with permission of the publisher, Get Smart Publishing.

Book by this author:

The Destiny Discovery: Find Your Soul's Path to Success
by Michelle Casto.

The Destiny Discovery: Find Your Soul's Path to Success by Casto, Michelle.This book will touch and inspire people from all walks of life who are looking to wake up to their purpose, access their personal power, and be a contribution to themselves and the world. In this enlightening book, Michelle L. Casto combines her proven Destiny Discovery Process and professional expertise in personal transformation and career guidance, to take you on an exciting journey of discovery toward the destiny that already lives in your heart.

Click here for more info and/or to order this book. Also available as a Kindle edition and an Audiobook.

About the Author

Michelle L. Casto

Michelle L. Casto is a Whole Life Coach. She holds a Master of Education from the University of South Carolina, a Bachelor of Science degree from Ohio University, and is a Certified Career Development and Customer Service Instructor, who has taught and counseled students at several major universities in the southeastern United States. As a writer, speaker, and trainer, she specializes in the areas of Romantic Relationships, Gender Communication, Career Development, Customer Service, and Stress Management. Visit her website at

Video with Michelle: Letting go is a key step in Conscious Creation

Books by Michelle L. Casto


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