March 27, 2003
Coping with a job loss
Special to NWjobs
Mary called her friend in tears, crying, "I've lost my job."
Tom called home enraged he'd been laid off.
Shock. Denial. Anger. Betrayal. Fear. Guilt. Sometimes even relief. These are often the flood of feelings that come with losing your job. It's traumatic. Your sense of self-worth, and for many -- men in particular -- your entire identity has been attacked. Psychologist and Career Coach Judi Craig (www.lost-my-job.com) recommends that you deal with the feelings, not gloss over them.
Everyone hates those feelings of rejection, but coping properly will do a lot to get you back to work faster.
- Resolve your feelings away from the old job. Burning a bridge by telling off a boss may feel good for a few minutes but will not get you a needed reference. Better to challenge your anger and write out descriptive letters that you NEVER SEND. The writing process gets the feelings out and expressed, and allows a catharsis to take place. Then you can move on.
- Recognize that depression is normal. Your positive resolve starts to fade as days turn into weeks, and weeks go into months, without a new job. Getting discouraged and feeling hopeless will eat away at you. Don't let that happen. Plan each day. Be up and dressed by 8:30 a.m. Go exercise. Walk, work-out - do anything - but do it away from home. Plan activities: networking meetings, library research, read articles and books to monitor what's happening in your field. Mail prospect letters to potential bosses. Keep a 25 hour-per-week job search to-do list.
- Get professional help. The area is full of job search classes, books and terrific articles to teach you exactly how to write an impressive resume, search online and polish your interview skills. Check the community colleges. Many have low-cost counseling and classes. Find a buddy or a group of people who are also job hunting. Share leads. Churches often offer job search assistance. For more expert guidance ask friends for a referral to a career counselor. Be sure to thoroughly check out their Web sites, fees, style, and areas of expertise before committing your dollars.
- Fill your mind with positive images and success stories. Movies, TV shows, books, songs, inspirational stories - overdose on "feel good" foods for the psyche. Tearjerkers will add to your misery - avoid them. Stay away from black-cloud people who commiserate with "Woe is me." They won't help you to project a positive image. Dr. Gregg Jantz, a gifted motivator, psychologist and author of "Becoming Strong Again," warns about the results of self-talk. "When your inner dialogue is negative about yourself-about your life-you become poisoned by your own self-talk. How you think tells you how to feel. How you feel tells you how to act. Negative self-talk always tears you down."
- Find a cheerleader! Despite their best intentions, families don't always do this for you. Find a good counselor or friend to talk to about how bad you feel-expressing the feelings are a vital part of healing and moving on.
- Have hope. I've seen hundreds of clients who've lost their jobs live through the experience and go on to find more satisfying and higher paying jobs than those they lost. Use the time to identify a really good position, target employers you want to work for and ask friends for introductions.
Being proactive is the key to success, so don't wait for employers to call you! Call a potential boss today with a 60-second introduction that clearly outlines specifics of how well you can perform on the job for them.
Robin Ryan has appeared on Oprah, NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw, CNN, CNBC and is considered America's top career coach. She is the best-selling author of: 60 Seconds & You're Hired!; Winning Resumes; Winning Cover Letters, and What to Do with the Rest of Your Life. She's the creator of the highly acclaimed audio training program Interview Advantage and The DreamMaker. Robin's passion is helping people find better jobs which she successfully does through her career counseling practice where she offers individual career coaching and resume writing services. A popular national speaker, Robin has spoken to over a thousand audiences on improving their lives and obtaining greater success. To purchase products or contact Robin visit her Web site at www.robinryan.com.
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