Anyone who has gone through it before knows the feeling all too well. Losing a job can be a painful experience. There may be some level of obscene comfort in the situation if you are directly responsible for it.
In other words, you had it coming to you, loser.
You screwed up. You lost a major customer and cost your company significant dollars. You crossed some invisible line of protocol and found yourself stranded at the point of no return. You unceremoniously forgot to dot an i or cross a t on an important contract. You insulted the boss in front of his boss. You didn’t play well with others.
Job loss hurts.
If, however, you did your job well, were well-respected by your colleagues and thought you were a valued member of the team and you still found yourself axed due to downsizing, closures and other incompetent management moves then, yes.
Job loss can really suck.
What to do from here, dear professional?
Bust out the tissues. Have a good cry. You of all people deserve an uninterrupted moment of focused self-pity.
How dare the man/the woman stick it to you?
Finished with the pity party? Time to regroup and move on.
- Make a clean cut. Figure out if you are due any severance pay or monies for vacation or sick leave not taken. Make sure you create closure on any loose ends of the relationship in terms of our benefits. Did you have a 401(k)? Did you transfer the balance into an alternative plan or are you at least aware of the legal timetable for doing so without losing any savings in the process?
- Make nice with management. They might have broken your professional heart but don’t let on that is the case. Be strong and let karma deal with them and their rampant incompetence. You just communicate your gratitude for the opportunity to breathe the same air and graciously leave the door open for future collaboration. It’s what classy professionals do.
- Get your resume in order. Theoretically, it should be ready to roll on a second’s notice. If you keep up with Resume Rx, then you should be good to go. If you don’t, then you should start. Your resume is an important piece of your career and you owe it respect. It has to be ready to roll in order for you to move on. Capiche?
- Jumpstart the networking activities. In a perfect world, you wouldn’t need to do this. Networking wouldn’t be a futile exercise in career resuscitation but rather a simple act of sending an SOS email, picking up the phone or calling in a favor some other way. If you haven’t been nurturing your relationships along the way, then jumpstart your networking you must. You know what to do. Shame on you for not doing it all all along.
- Start applying for other jobs. Just like riding a bike, the skill needed to identify and apply for jobs should come back to you easily. The keys to making the process work for you are consistency, patience and a realistic outlook.
Whether it’s your fault or not, job loss hurts. Grieve. Analyze. Learn. Move on.
This is your life.