How do you cope with unemployment a during the holidays? Like any loss, a job loss results in grief. In Part I outlined some basic stages you may pass through in dealing with job loss. You can read that article in full by clicking here. In this sequel, you will find practical suggestions for how to ease your progress through these stages.
1. SHOCK & DENIAL-
In this stage you will feel generally numb. You should take this opportunity to breathe. Literally. Keep a notebook with you during this and following stages and right EVERYTHING down. The smallest thought and feelings, when they come. Let yourself be emotional and feel. The worst thing you can do is to block yourself off from your emotions. To refocus: Keep a separate section for any ides that come to mind – you will find comfort in these as you progress through the various stages.
2. PAIN & GUILT-
Pain and heart-break are laced with guilt in this stage. Accept comfort and seek out others who care about you and/or who have had similar experiences or are currently working through this process themselves. To refocus: Think about when you have experienced similar feelings – what helped? What didn’t? Repeat those things or techniques that are tried and true.
3. ANGER & BARGAINING-
Anger is normal. Scream into a pillow or an empty field (if you have one available). Jump up and down and throw a tantrum. Sometimes you just need to physically express your anger to get through it. If you are a religious person, you might plead with your higher power at this point, promising anything from a new and improved you to all the money you will ever earn if you can just get a new job. To refocus: Continue to write in your notebook (call it a journal if you want!). Ask yourself what you are angry about. Return to the section of your notebook in which you wrote any ideas you might have for your Return To Work.
4. “DEPRESSION”, REFLECTION, LONELINESS-
It is important for you to “feel” how you feel – you are likely to feel depressed and lonely. If that is the case, take this time to be alone and think about your current situation. If you feel too lonely seek out others who you respect and/or have a positive, supportive nature. To refocus: Take stock of your assets (literally and figuratively). These may include your skills and abilities as well as your financial assets.
5. THE UPWARD TURN-
Eventually you will be able to begin and attain a rhythm in your job search and networking. Have a goal, complete with time frame, and steps that you can take toward that goal. Make your goal more specific and meaningful than “Get a job.” For example, will you settle for any job right now and then move on to find a better one? Or, do you have the resources to spend X number of months to search for a job at a given level? To refocus: Write down your goal and when you want to achieve it (it can be modified if necessary), develop a schedule (also in writing) that will allow you to reach your goal. Review your schedule and goal daily. For more information on setting goals, read my article: Dare to dream of change.
6. RECONSTRUCTION & WORKING THROUGH-
As you begin the upward turn, you will eventually be able to think about where you want to be and what type of job you might like to have. To refocus: Keep writing in your notebook and re-evaluate your progress and which goals you want to keep on at least a weekly basis. What is working? What is not getting you the interviews you need to get hired? Try to use a critical eye, if this is difficult, seek the help of an expert or a mentor.
7. ACCEPTANCE & HOPE-
Eventually, you will be able to accept that you may not be the same exact person you were before your “loss.” Who are you now? What is important to you? You may find it easier to be positive. To refocus: you will gain confidence and hope from your activity. Stay organized and act on every lead as soon as possible without being overly hasty.
You may not progress neatly through these stages, but most people will experience some level of each. Treat this part of your life as a leg of a journey, secure in the knowledge that you will end up where you need to be.
Mary is a Masters-prepared Career Counselor with over 18 years experience in resume writing, personal branding, career assessment and counseling. Specializing in non-traditional specialized careers and career-transitioning, she has the ability to synthesize and focus your unique skills and abilities to obtain interviews for the positions you want with the employers you want to notice you. Follow her on Twitter at @MarySevinsky.