Losing one’s job can be a traumatic experience, as many people are discovering in this troubled economy. It is not uncommon to cry or feel sick when finding out you were laid off or fired. After the incident, you may have strong feelings of sadness, anger, and resentment, not to mention a drop in self-esteem.
Of course, most people learn how to recover from job loss over time. This article will cover 5 tips to help you recover from job loss.
1. Stay positive.
Yes, it is hard to stay positive when you have just lost your livelihood. But, keep in mind that most people eventually recover from job loss. According to a German study published by the American Psychological Association last year, most people who were satisfied with their lives before the job loss return to high levels of life satisfaction within a year of the incident.
This analysis was based on data from 774 study participants, all which had lost their jobs during the study. The study spanned the participants’ self-assessed reports of life satisfaction from years 3 before losing their jobs to the 4 years after the loss. They were asked “How satisfied are you nowadays with your life as a whole?” Participants rated their response on a scale of 0 to 10, with 10 indicating complete satisfaction.
The biggest group, 69% of participants, had fairly high and stable levels of satisfaction before losing their jobs. They were more prone to suffer from job loss, but a year later, their life satisfaction scores were back up to normal.
So, it may take about a year to fully recover from job loss, but eventually, you will probably go back to feeling as good about your life as you did before.
2. If you are ready, ask your manager why you were let go.
Some employees are fired without being told why. Or, they may be given only vague reasons.
It may help you find closure to ask why you were fired. Leadership development coach Joan Lloyd recommends calling your manager back and calmly asking for feedback. She recommends admitting you don’t want to make the same errors twice and asking them for specific reasons why you were fired.
Of course, this is not a good option for everyone trying to recover from job loss. If you are still furious about the job loss, it will show. If you left on very bad terms with your manager, it’s probably best to make a clean break and move on.
3. Find a career coach or mentor to help you get back on track.
If you’re looking for honest advice, Joan Lloyd recommends finding a reputable career coach. They can help you understand how you may have contributed to the situation. They are not meant to comfort you emotionally, but can help with many career-related issues.
You can also seek a career mentor. This should be a person with a stable career with a company or in an industry that you want to enter. Our blog offers helpful advice on how to choose a career mentor.
4. Use this as an opportunity to improve your resume.
It can be time-consuming to write a good resume. The silver lining to your situation is that you now have more time to work your resume.
As you think of what to include and what not to include on your latest resume, you may have mixed feelings about the job you just lost. Remember, your resume doesn’t need to be a comprehensive list of every position you’ve held. Your resume is an ad for you.
When deciding whether to include the job you lost on your resume, consider the impression you would make if a hiring manager asked you about the position during an interview. In this tough economy, there is no real stigma attached to being laid off. However, being fired is still seen pretty unfavorably.
There is no cookie-cutter advice for this situation. You need to really consider, and possibly ask a career coach, whether it would be beneficial to include the position on your resume. However, we can say that you should never include the reason why you lost your job on your resume! This is considered unprofessional.
5. If needed, seek psychological help.
There is no shame in feeling glum when you are struggling to recover from job loss. However, if feelings of sadness are so persistent or intense that they stop you from living a normal life, you may be suffering from depression. Depression is a common, treatable condition.
The Mayo Clinic lists these as common symptoms of depression:
- Feelings of sadness or unhappiness
- Irritability or frustration, even over small matters
- Loss of interest or pleasure in normal activities
- Reduced sex drive
- Insomnia or excessive sleeping
- Changes in appetite — depression often causes decreased appetite and weight loss, but in some people it causes increased cravings for food and weight gain
- Indecisiveness, distractibility and decreased concentration
- Agitation or restlessness — for example, pacing, hand-wringing or an inability to sit still
- Slowed thinking, speaking or body movements
- Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions and remembering things
- Fatigue, tiredness and loss of energy — even small tasks may seem to require a lot of effort
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt, fixating on past failures or blaming yourself when things aren’t going right
- Crying spells for no apparent reason
- Unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches
- Frequent thoughts of death, dying or suicide
If you are having these symptoms, please seek psychological help. You do not need to experience all of the above symptoms to be diagnosed with depression. Therapy and medication can be helpful whether you’re suffering from severe or relatively mild depression.
The bottom line on how to recover from job loss:
Recovering from job loss is never easy. However, you can help yourself by staying positive, finding a career coach or mentor, and considering asking your former manager for honest feedback. It is normal to feel sad when trying to recover from job loss, but you should seek psychological help if these symptoms significantly impact your life. Again, most people do fully recover from job loss eventually. You can do it, too.