Could there be a silver lining to the crisis of losing your job? Actually there are several.
Understand that being downsized, cut back, or just plain fired isn't likely to make you feel good. It creates fear. How will I pay the bills? How long will it take to find another job that pays as well? What about medical insurance?
Depending on your previous level of self worth, losing your job can be a glancing blow to your self-esteem and/or it can be emotionally devastating. Even if your family and friends are supportive, job loss strains family ties. If you have a marriage or a relationship with a relative that is on the brink, being out of work can snap the connection.
In the moment, job loss generates feelings that range from someone having thrown a brick at you to perhaps having had a whole building fall on you. How will the experience appear when you look back on it ten years from now?
Remember how you felt when your first love ended? From the perspective of years later, you are probably either greatly relieved you aren't married to that person, or you look back upon what was then a major catastrophe as a minor setback.
Remember the day your lemonade stand didn't have any customers? Recall the season you dropped what would have been the winning touchdown pass? Everything looks different as it recedes into our history.
Take a deep breath and imagine yourself ten years from now looking back at the time you got laid off. Visualize how you want your life to be then – your career, your income, your home, how you spend your time, how you interact with your friends and family, and your self-confidence and self esteem. Perhaps your visualization includes holding a salaried job, but you may dream of being self-employed, owning your own company, being an artisan, or a consultant.
No one chooses to lose a job. We describe it differently when it's our choice. If you have become unemployed against your will, take this opportunity to design your future:
1. Consider becoming self-employed, a consultant, or starting your own business.
2. Evaluate your hobbies and interests as potential income-producing activities. If you love woodworking, think about becoming a custom cabinetmaker. If you have a musical, artistic, or literary talent, consider turning professional or teaching your skill.
3. If you aren't sure you want a career change, go ahead and send out resumes and ask everyone you know about finding a new job. While you are waiting for responses, test out other directions. Pursue marketing your skill in those areas that truly interest you.
Whether you have always wanted to start an online storefront, teach trumpet, or become a personal shopper, give it a try. By the time you get a job offer in your previous field, you may be relieved to go back, or you may have found confidence in your new career direction.
4. Volunteer your time. You'll feel better about yourself. It will improve your self-esteem. You will meet interesting people and perhaps find a job through the networking opportunity. You can try out new skills and interests that have the potential to become full time income-producing opportunities.
5. Use the time between jobs to enhance your outlook on life. While seminars and even books may not be in your budget at this time, there are vast online resources, as well as public libraries, to support your personal growth, enhance your self-esteem, find greater happiness, break addictive habits, manage stress, and increase your physical and emotional wellness.
6. Begin healthful practices. Take a daily walk, preferably an early morning walk in complete silence. Learn Yoga, Qigong, or another discipline that quiets the mind and increases wellness through breathing, gentle stretching, and focus. Adopt whichever one you choose as a daily practice.
Use the forced change to improve your habits. Stop smoking and reduce alcohol rather than letting your cravings take advantage of you at this vulnerable time.
7. Spend time with your loved ones. A stressful job often leaves little time or emotional energy for friends and family. Commit to spending more quality time with your loved ones.
If you feel depressed, consciously form a smile on your face and act upbeat until the happy feeling becomes genuine. Support your loved ones and gratefully accept their support.
8. Know you are never alone. Whatever your spiritual beliefs and practices, turn to them in this time of challenge, and know that goodness always pours forth in its own time and manner. Have patience and faith in your future.