Five Stages to Move from Job Loss to Job Renewal
Have you ever misplaced your car? Well I did last week! It was a great reminder of how we feel when we lose something - our car, our wallet, or even our job.
As I confidently walked to where I remembered parking my car, it took time to recognize that it wasn’t there. Similar to job loss, there’s an initial feeling of disorientation and confusion.
The emotional impact can seem overwhelming. When faced with loss, what’s important is how you deal with it. Rather than being paralyzed by fear, recognize the five key stages that can take you from job loss to job renewal.
- Denial – In this stage, we resist reality. Feelings of shock and disbelief are common. “This isn’t possible.” “I couldn’t have lost my job.” “What’s happening?” In my situation, I kept searching for the car, not wanting to believe it was gone. The good news is that once you break through denial, the gates to managing the situation fly wide open.
- Support – Don’t try to recover from job loss alone. It’s smart to get help. Find someone you can talk with and confide in about how you’re feeling. In my situation, I turned to someone I trusted. He listened, offered suggestions, and literally “walked the road with me.” Likewise, your friend can offer a new perspective while emphasizing that every thing will work out.
- Assessment and planning – Once you find the right support, you’re ready to take stock of your situation, assess your choices, and develop a plan to move ahead. Some questions might include “What am I interested in exploring?” “How can I give life to my interests?” “Where do opportunities exist?” “What plans do I need to make?” My friend helped me assess the situation calmly and rationally and helped me clarify options. After job loss, if you’re riding an emotional wave, your friend, confidant, or coach can remain objective, help you clarify options, and help broaden your perspective.
- Decision-making and self-revival - At this stage, you’re ready to regain self-confidence and take action. It’s time to implement your plans. It helps to clarify what the end-result will look like and feel like. In my case, it meant shifting directions and looking for my car in a new location. Guess what? We found it! Once you decide to shift direction, you can find a new job in the right career.
- Renewal – The process of rebuilding after job loss takes time. There’s no “right” pace for this kind of journey. Some people will move quickly from one stage to the next; others may become stuck in a stage. Be easy on yourself! Create a support system, know that you can be resilient, and be confident that you can find work that’s fulfilling and right for you.
I encourage you to find the lessons in your loss. No matter how bad the circumstances, ask, “What can I learn from this experience?” In the case of job loss, the lesson often has to do with realistically taking stock of your situation, gaining new perspective, and taking action to continue building or redirect your career.
Remember, things aren’t always as they first appear … or dis-appear!