First off, I have to apologise for being MIA on the blog. So many reasons, so little time to tell it. Well, I’m back and hopefully there won’t be a break in transmission.
On today’s topic, I must confess that I have no idea what a person should do after losing a job. Reason being that I haven’t lost any yet, thank God. But the point remains that people often find themselves without a job all of a sudden. Maybe as a result of redundancy, or just termination by their employers, which is more often without notice.
Whatever the case, losing your job is a scary thing to experience. The situation is more frightening when you realise that you haven’t been saving as much as you should (probably because you thought you weren’t going to lose your job any time soon). Anxiety sets in, and you begin to panic and bemoan your fate.
This question, “how do you move on after losing your job” became necessary recently. Over the last 3 months, my firm have had to ask 4 people to resign almost immediately. No notice, nothing. Of course the contract of employment says either party can terminate with one month notice, or payment in lieu of notice. I guess my firm chose payment in lieu of notice.
It was shocking to most of us because these were colleagues who we had worked with during the day, then you resume the next day and hear that management asked them to resign. I said to myself, if I’m feeling this way (shocked and speechless), I wonder how these people will be feeling.
As I’m not privy to such high level information, I can’t say why they were asked to leave, but I’m sure the firm must have had its reason for taking this decision. Nevertheless, it was a painful for one for all parties concerned.
Initially, I wanted to feature someone on the blog, preferably someone from HR, who has the experience to answer this question. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find anyone (please, if you know anyone who will be willing to discuss this issue with me, kindly leave a mail/comment).
So, I asked myself, what better way do you answer this question? By asking people who have lost their jobs and had to move on to another.
For the sake of anonymity, I won’t mention their names. And the funny thing is, they all said (well, almost said) the same thing. So, I have put together a list of things they suggested you do when you lose your job.
Most important thing to note is, this is definitely not the end of the road/world for you.
When the shock wears off, the next feeling is usually anger. You begin to think of how much you’ve put into the company, and how this was not appreciated etc. Anger is good as long as you deal with it immediately. Remaining angry for so long makes you bitter and may ruin your chances of getting another job.
When Ahmed (not real name) lost his job at an IT company, he said he was so mad. Mad at the company, and mad at himself. He narrated that there were cases where he had to come in to work even at the detriment of his health.
He allowed the anger to fester for so long. Whenever he goes for an interview and he’s asked why he left his former job, he wasted no time in pouring out his anger towards his former bosses.
After a while, he realised that he was not getting the call backs from the recruiters. Then one day, he happened to run into one of the people that interviewed him at a social event. They got talking, and the man revealed to him that he actually aced the interview.
But the major setback, and why they didn’t call him back, was his emotions towards his former employers. In his words, “we could feel your anger, and it was a very scary experience. What happens if something similar happens at this new place? Is that how you will go ahead to badmouth the company?”
Suffice it to say that Ahmed knew that he had to work on himself and let the anger go.
So, his advice to people who just lost their jobs is to deal with their anger, or even channel it towards a more positive way.
When Cynthia (again, not real name) said “travel”. I was like, “are you serious? That’s the last thing on the person’s mind!” But she was very serious about this.
As a nurse in one of the government hospitals with next to nothing as salary, she barely had time for herself. It was work, work, work. She couldn’t travel home (to her family’s house) as she didn’t have enough time or funds.
After 6 years, she was laid off. The first thing she did was to go home.
It was a very depressing period for her and she felt that she needed the comfort and familiarity of her home. So she travelled to her village and stayed for a few weeks. In her words, it was the best decision ever.
Her family welcomed her with open arms. The responsibility of ensuring that she was fed was her mother’s. She experienced peace in a way she couldn’t even put into words. Played with her little cousins, visited her grandparents, gossiped with her aunts…
When she returned to Lagos, it was with a renewed sense of purpose. She took her time to work on her résumé and sent it out to various hospitals.
While she was waiting for a positive response, she volunteered at her church’s clinic 3 times a week. After 6 months of waiting, she got employed at one of the private hospitals in Lagos.
Bottom line – take a break. Take care of yourself. Sleep longer, visit friends, do anything to decompress. Then you can bounce back.
This is not to beg for your job back, but to know why you were asked to resign. So, have a sit down with them, preferably weeks after leaving. That way you may have dealt with any residual anger you may be feeling towards the company.
Ask to know why you were let go This is important so that you can improve where necessary.
A friend of mine was asked to resign recently. She later found out that the reason she was asked to leave was because she had made grave mistakes that cost the company funds. In as much as she was one of the best employees the company had, the board felt that such errors were too grievous to forgive.
Now that she knows the reason, she believes that this will help her improve at her next job.
What I’ve noticed over the years is that a lot of people do not update their CVs whilst still employed. They only bother when they want to search for another job.
The danger with this, especially if you are in my line of work, is that you sometimes forget some of the transactions you’ve worked on. The idea is to update your CV, at least, every 3 months, or 2 months (regularly).
Now that you no longer have a job, it is important to totally overhaul your CV, especially, if you are one of those people who never update theirs. Check the format, your experience, your previous employers, your referees etc. Check everything.
Another thing you can do is to make a list. A list of what you enjoyed doing or not. What you expect in a new employer and location etc. This list will help you narrow down your options.
You should also update your LinkedIn profile, which is very important. Please check out my girl, Kachee’s post on this issue: 4 Practical Things To Do While Job Hunting and 8 Productive Things To Do On A Slow Day At Work.
You can also read her interview of Adaku Ufere, who got her job through LinkedIn!
I know hiring a mentor may not seem like a smart move to make at this point, but you can consider speaking with someone who has enough experience to guide you.
All these tips may not be necessary where you voluntarily resigned, but it is important not burn bridges while quitting.
So, there you have it folks! Tips that can help you move on after losing your job. I want to say a big thank you to everyone who allowed me pester them with questions. You guys are the real MVPs!
If you have other tips which I haven’t already covered, please feel free to list them in the comment section below.
Looking forward to seeing you guys next week.
All my love,