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Glenford Smith | How to bounce back from job loss

Published:Wednesday | March 16, 2016 | 12:00 AM

One of the hardest challenges we will ever confront is losing a great job.

If it's a case of being fired because of something we did or didn't do that's tough enough. But it's even tougher when you get up one morning without a job to go to, knowing it's not your fault. This can devastate you emotionally if you aren't prepared, and don't know how to cope.

This article will give you some helpful tips for bouncing back strongly.

Acknowledge what you're feeling and write it down: Depending on the circumstances of your job loss, you may feel anger, fear, disappointment, shame, or uncertainty about the future. It's crucial not to deny or suppress these feelings.

Time and again, it's been proved that 'feelings that are suppressed will find ways to express.' Writing your thoughts and feelings down will prove cathartic. This also helps you to see them separate from yourself, so you can analyse and understand them better.

University of Texas Professor of Psychology James Pennebaker once conducted an experiment with two groups of unemployed persons. One group wrote down their feelings about being laid off for 20 minutes, five days in a row. Another group wrote about their job-hunting schedule.

In the ensuing months, more members of the emotion-writing group found jobs, and expressed regret at not knowing about that technique before.

Make a list of your achievements and lessons learnt while on the job: Focusing on positive achievements will affirm your self-worth. Highlighting the lessons learnt will stimulate feelings of hope and pride, knowing that all isn't lost. You're finding some value in your experience.

You may also be able to perceive potential strengths which you can build upon, going forward.

Find or create a support group: "Lean on me when you're not strong, I'll be your friend, I'll help you carry on for, it won't be long 'til I'm gonna need somebody to lean on." So goes the well-known 1972 song Lean on Me by Bill Withers. It's true - we all need somebody to lean on at times. One such time is during an unexpected job loss.

Having supportive friends and family will prove invaluable. Just by sharing your feelings with them, you'll feel better. Being with them also makes it less likely that you'll wallow in self-pity or other negative emotions.

Look for the silver lining in the cloud of your job loss: If you look carefully, you'll find some benefit in your experience. Many persons have testified that by losing a job they didn't have the courage to leave, they found their ideal job, or created a business they always dreamed about. Determine to turn this stumbling block into a stepping stone to greater career success.

Create a plan and take action: Decide your next career move and formulate a plan of action. then implement your plan. It's crucial that you get back into the work game as soon as possible, before the frustration of inertia kicks in. Taking positive action is the best antidote against depression and a feeling of helplessness.

Glenford Smith is a motivational speaker and success strategist. He is the author of 'From Problems to Power' and co-author of 'Profile of Excellence'.