Here’s What You Need To Do When You’ve Lost Your Job

The job market and economy can be cruel. The United States enjoyed an amazing run of good fortune with the stock market, cryptocurrencies and real estate booming. There are plenty of good, well-paying jobs available. Feeling confident, people freely switched roles to earn more money, work remotely or be treated better by their bosses. Now, the situation for many people, particularly in the tech sector, has dramatically changed. According to Crunchbase, over 17,000 U.S. workers in the tech sector have been laid off in this year’s mass downsizings.

Take Time To Process The Job Loss And Grieve

Losing a job is a stressful, anxiety-inducing event. For the thousands of people impacted by the job losses, offers rescinded or worried if they will be next in line to receive a pink slip, this could be a traumatic time. It’s especially frightening when the layoffs seem to be clustered in your sector. If companies in a similar space are enacting hiring freezes simultaneously, there are fewer jobs available and more people competing for the precious openings.

White-collar professionals tend to connect their identity with the job they hold. They feel a sense of status and self-worth by working at a prestigious, marquee-brand company. When you’ve lost a job, it may cause some mental health issues. Before launching a job search, allow yourself time to decompress, process what happened and grieve the loss. It’s understandable for people to temporarily feel angry, resentful and engage in self-pity.

You’ll soon feel pressured to immediately embark upon a job hunt. The challenge is that you’re now interviewing when you’re not at your best. The job loss eats away at your self-esteem and confidence. When you have a safe and secure position, interviewing is easier than when you’re in between roles. With a job, you can bomb the interview and you don’t have to worry too much or take it to hear,t as you still have a position to return to. For those who are pushed into unemployment, there is no safety net. If you go on interviews and receive no feedback, get ghosted and are, ultimately, not offered the role, the stress builds.

Avoid A Downward Spiral

The constant rejection can cause a chain reaction. You weren’t selected for a second interview, so you start doubting yourself. Time goes by and there aren’t any meetings lined up on your calendar. When you finally receive an interview request, your heart starts beating faster and you get anxious. There is an overwhelming pressure to nail the interview. It’s exceedingly difficult to come across well in an interview when you are dealing with feelings of inadequacy, stress, unresolved anger and resentment that you were selected for downsizing.

These feelings are hard to suppress during the hiring process. A tech worker isn’t an actor and can’t just turn on the charm and charisma on cue, especially when you feel like your life is crashing down around you.

Some well-compensated professionals tend to spend more than they earn, counting on future earnings and stock option gains in the future. This creates another set of problems. You not only need a job, but desperately require a steady paycheck to meet all of your financial obligations, including paying off college debt, mortgage or rent and all the other bills. It doesn’t help matters that runaway inflation is driving up the cost of everything. The financial aspect adds another layer of worry.

Searching For A Job Is Your New Job

Looking for a job is now your new occupation. Get started by updating your résumé and enhancing the LinkedIn profile. Since LinkedIn is the go-to site for job seekers, you’ll need to actively engage on the platform.

Connect with former co-workers, college alumni, friends, acquaintances and others who can offer potential job leads and introductions. Position yourself as a thought leader in your space. Find people within your career sector. Like and comment on their posts to catch people’s attention. Write your own posts or make short-form videos to standout in the crowd. These actions will help you get noticed by hiring managers, recruiters and human resources talent acquisition personnel.

Seek out recruiters in your space and set up meetings with them. Attend networking events in your space. Put together an elevator pitch. This is a 30-second to one-minute talk that concisely sets forth your skills, experience, background, education and other reasons as to why you’re perfectly suited for the role. The pitch isn’t only for the interview. It comes in handy when you interact with people and want to let them know about the situation. Having the story memorized, you’ll come across enthusiastic, energetic and motivated whenever you are in the position to ask someone for their help in directing you toward job openings.

People get downsized all the time, but people generally don’t talk about it too much. This makes you feel as if it’s only happening to you. In a social setting, when the topic of your status arises, be honest about what is happening. There is nothing to be embarrassed about.

The Interview

Be prepared to endure a marathon interview process, all the while dealing with a range of powerful emotions. The highs and lows can exacerbate your mental well-being. In addition to feeling a loss of identity, you’ve also lost your work friends. The daily routine of life is thrown off-kilter.

With concerns over finding a job and needing a paycheck, you may not bring your best self to the interview. The human resources professional, hiring managers and other interviewers will pick up on your vibe. They’ll sense your tension and simmering frustration. With the wounds still fresh, it’s likely that you’ll inadvertently offer a slight against your former boss and company. As there are other candidates available, the interviewer may take a pass on your candidacy and move on to the next person.

To counteract this problem, roleplay interviewing with a career coach or a trusted friend who will be honest with you. Ask the person for their feedback and constructive criticism. Practice your elevator pitch and research commonly asked interview questions to be prepared. Make sure that you fully understand the job description. Research the company and people you’re interviewing with, as they usually ask “what do you know about the job and company?” It will take time, but you’ll start feeling better and continually improve your interviewing skills.

Conduct A Postmortem

As painful as it may be, conduct a postmortem to think about what happened. Be candid with yourself. Assess if there was anything you should have done differently. This isn’t meant to blame the victim, but to make sure that you don’t repeat any of the same negative actions again.

Use this time to reevaluate your work-life. Maybe you were in the wrong job, company or career. The pandemic has opened people’s eyes to the fact that life is short and you owe it to yourself to find a job and career that offers meaning, purpose, fulfillment, appreciation from management and the compensation you deserve. You may come to an epiphany that you were never really happy with your chosen profession.

Take Care Of Your Mental Health And Well-Being

It’s important to keep a positive attitude. Stay away from things that may make you feel temporarily better, but are harmful to your health in the long term. This means avoiding overeating, too much alcohol consumption, an overreliance on medications or illegal substances. Instead of withdrawing from society because of feelings of inadequacy, keep up with your contacts. If you feel as if your mental health is sliding, seek out professional help. Embark upon a fitness routine to keep yourself occupied in the downtime and stay healthy.

Keep Your Focus On How You Leave

Not only were you shown the door, you need to deal with paperwork. Carefully read the severance package and any other materials the company gives to you. If you have options or a complicated compensation structure, you may want to enlist the services of an employment lawyer.

During the exit interview, don’t disparage your boss or co-workers, even if they were jerks. It’s a bad look and could burn bridges. You’ll need positive references for your next role. Give your regards to everyone and get their contact information. Stay in touch, as they can assist you with job leads and connections.

You will eventually find a new job. It could take a week or six months. Sometimes, you luck out and you’re in the right place at the right time. Other times, it takes a while to catch a break. Stay focused, remain strong, keep a positive attitude and keep searching and networking everyday. It will be a great feeling when you finally land a great new job. You may even look back one day and say, “I’m glad this happened. I’ve now found a job that I love with people I enjoy working with and there is a bright future ahead of me!”

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