How to Deal with Job Loss

Updated 6 May 2023

Whether you were laid off or fired, losing your job can be a taxing hardship both emotionally and financially. While you may not be able to control the loss of your job, you can certainly take the steps needed to lessen the blow and ease the pain. It's important to understand that there are several ways to bounce back and start the job search anew. In this article, we discuss how to handle a job loss and provide you with tips to help you find a new job.

How to handle job loss

Though losing a job can be a stressful and heartbreaking situation, there are several ways to help you cope. The better you handle your emotions and get your life in order, the better you'll be able to move forward. Here are some steps to take when handling the loss of a job:

  1. Acknowledge your emotions

  2. Consider your finances

  3. Don't let your job loss define you

  4. Surround yourself with the right group of people

  5. Stay in shape

  6. Consider your next career move

  7. Consider how to advance in your career

Related: 11 Signs Your Boss Wants You to Leave (Plus Reaction Tips)

1. Acknowledge your emotions

It's normal to experience a range of emotions when you lose your job. While you may feel sad at first, you may grow to be angry that you were fired or let go. It's also possible that you may feel excited to start a new career and let go of the past. Regardless of what you're feeling, it's important to recognise that your emotions are normal. Process these emotions and remind yourself that it's okay to feel them. After you've done this, move on and set your sights on your next job or professional goal.

2. Consider your finances

When you lose your job, you're likely losing your main source of income. One of the most important steps to take in this situation is to look over your finances. Consider what—and if—you'll be getting unemployment benefits or if you'll be receiving any severance pay from your employer. A human resources professional from your former company should be able to answer any questions concerning both unemployment and severance. Depending on these figures, you'll need to work out a budget and adjust your spending accordingly. For example, if you're not going to be receiving a lot of financial assistance during this time, consider cutting back on eating out or other unnecessary purchases.

Related: Guide: How to Get a Job

3. Don't let your job loss define you

Though losing your job can be hard, it's important to understand that you are not a failure. Build resilience and remind yourself that you are not defined by your job nor your company's decision to let you go. Consider how far you've come in your career, or how much you've done to achieve your professional goals thus far. Though this may feel like a setback, it doesn't define your overall professional career or self.

4. Stay in shape

Staying in shape is a great way to keep a healthy mindset and improve both your emotional and physical health. Consider exercising and implementing good dietary choices. The better your body feels, the better you'll feel overall. Staying in shape will help clear your head and put you in the right mindset to focus on your future employment.

5. Consider your next career move

When you lose a job, it's a great time to reevaluate your next career move. Think of your past positions and which ones gave you the most joy. If you enjoyed your most recent position, consider applying for a related opening. If you didn't, look for opportunities outside of your industry. This is a great time to gain experience in another field or learn something new.

Related: How to Find the Best Jobs for You

6. Consider how to advance in your career

If you're planning on staying in the same industry for your next position, think of ways to give your resume an added boost. You can volunteer, get training, take an online course and more. If you're hoping to land a more managerial or advanced role, consider obtaining a master's or doctorate degree in your field. Any experience you gain during this time can be added to your resume and portfolio and will increase your chances of landing a job in your chosen profession.

Related: 10 Tips for Understanding What to Do If You Lose Your Job

Tips for starting a new job search

Here are several tips to help you with your job search after a job loss:

  • Understand what you want in a future career. Before you apply for a new job, it's important to consider whether or not you want to continue in the same industry. If you've been unhappy in the past, this is a great opportunity to switch gears. Fully understanding what you want can move your career in a better direction.

  • Stay focused. Though it can be easy to dwell on the loss of your job, try to stay focused on the road ahead. Think about what you need to do to prepare for a new job hunt.

  • Build your network. If you're staying in the same industry, it's a good idea to start networking with colleagues you already know. This will help open the door to new job opportunities. Since many jobs are unadvertised, it's important to reach out to people you know and let them know that you're looking for a new position.

  • Create a plan. After losing your job, it's important to make a plan for how you plan to start your job search. Consider whether you can take some time off or if you should start your job search immediately.


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