I have lost my job…what must I do?

Losing a job can be very difficult especially when you are not prepared for it. It is emotionally wrecking because losing a job is like losing a part of you and loss is generally a difficult thing to handle. In addition to dealing with this personal loss you also need to think about how to manage your life going forward. For most people, job losses come when they are least prepared – at a time when they do not know how they will handle their daily upkeep and fixed term financial commitments. This results in short term plans being cancelled and sometimes long terms ones being written off too. With all these negative possibilities it is very easy to lose hope, get into a depression and enter a period of regression. Feelings of despair can leave you thinking you have lost control of your life.

You have control.

No-matter what, you have control over your life. If your feelings are contrary to this there are a few things that you can do to manage the impact of losing a job and regain control.

Take Stock

The first thing you need to do is take stock of where you are:

  • financially– check how much money you have in your savings and how long it will last based on an adjusted budget. You can not keep on spending the same way you did when you had a job. Check how much you will get from your severance package and likewise budget for it. Do not panic if you do not have any savings- there is always a way in life and if its not money that will help you manage it will be something else.
  • emotionally– check how you are faring emotionally. Depending on how you have lost the job you should expect to experience a mix of feelings which may include anger, bitterness, sadness, anxiety etc. You then need map how you are going to deal with your emotions in a healthy way. Succeeding in handling your emotions will be key in ensuring full control over your life.
  • skills- do a skills audit to establish the skills that you have. The easiest starting point is through listing what you have been doing in the job that you have just lost. But your skills can also include other abilities that you utilise in other areas. So you can be an accountant who is also a good story teller. Skills audits help you to establish abilities that you can monetize
  • networks– family, social, professional net works are important to establish because they will help you manage during the next few months. Family and friends help you manage emotionally. They allow you to share how you are feeling and what you are going through while giving you hope that your situation will get better. These in addition to the professional networks also help you to locate new opportunities.

Strategize

Taking stock helps you to map how you are going to respond to the situation that is unfolding before you. Utilise the information gathered from the stock taking process to persue the 3 following paths

  • Golden goose pathway– there will be basic amenities to meet before you get the next job or even set up the next side gig. Your golden goose strategy will help you find ways to make money which comes on a daily or weekly basis. This is the money that you will use to pay for things like food, fuel, water and electricity. Normally you should have this set up even when you are working but if you have not already done so you should check what you can do with the money that you have therefore setting it up should not require huge investments. This can include buying and selling miscellaneous products or agricultural produce from your garden etc.
  • Job Search pathway– You then need to have a solid plan for how you will look for a job. Everything has to be deliberate and you should handle this like a mini project that comes with deadlines for:
    • updating your CV
    • updating your LinkedIN profile
    • sending solicited and unsolicited cover letter samples
    • listing a clear understanding of your personal and professional values
    • coming up with a list of companies that you would like to work for including subscribing to their job notifications
    • submitting job application plan for solicited and unsolicited jobs including how you will use your networks to do so
    • up-skilling for specific jobs that you may be interested in while job hunting
  • Side Gig set up pathway– You are a brand and the skills that you used in your job are not confined to usage by an employer. The skills that you acquired through your studies should not lie dormant. You too can use them to create your own work and get paid. You too can service individuals and companies alike. You must therefore package your self so that you are suitable for contracting and this may include:
    • defining your portfolio i.e. profiling yourself as a researcher, trainer, story teller depending on your skills set. Know how much your services are worth to avoid under or over pricing yourself. Both can lead service seekers to avoid you because they can’t afford you and because they doubt the quality of service they will get, respectively. So know what others are charging and come up with optimum prices.
    • re-framing your social media profiling by generating content that is in line with what your side gig will be about. Your social media account is the most important starting point because this is where most of your networks will be located and they are the ones that will likely generate your first gig
    • Setting up a website is an easy thing to do nowadays. As your main branding and jobbing space it will demonstrate that you are serious about your work and can be engaged. So get onto wordpress and wix free website platforms and make sure everyone knows about it.
    • Plan to offer free services to individuals and companies to help get your name out there.
    • setting up systems and policies that will likely be required to contract you

Sustain

While you implement your strategy it is important to sustain it by always checking your emotional space. Left unchecked you can become fatigued, frustrated and depressed. Do this on a daily basis so that you gain control over your emotions quickly. Take up hobbies that will help you cope. This is the time to start practicing for that marathon that you always wanted to take part in. With hobbies, you never know, you might discover your true passion and cash cow in the same place.

Stay connected spiritually. When all these practical things are failing you will find strength in a higher power. Stay prayed up. Listen to the inner man and you will always know what to do in any situation that you will encounter along the way.

Remember to manage your costs. Do simple things like growing your own food. If you do not have space turn old drums and buckets into gardening space. Grow your own herbs. Walk and cycle to places that are within reasonable distance – if you push yourself too much it can stress you too. However, this is good because besides saving money it is good for your health.

Stay away from spaces that will put pressure on you to have it together. This is the time to avoid friends that have expensive lives. Look within and do what works for you because if you allow it, pressure will push you to stress and maybe take wrong actions to sustain your desired life.

Always look up to the stars during this journey. You will be fine.