Job Search

What to Do If You Lose Your Job

Man who lost his job sitting on office steps head and shoulders slumped as people pass him by

Whether it’s down to the pace of technological change or plain old corporate restructurings, these days, there’s no such thing as job security.

That’s why I’m sharing with you the things I would do if I lost my job. Many of them are worth considering even if you’re gainfully employed.

These come in four categories:

  • Self-Care
  • The Basics
  • Strategy
  • Execution

Self-Care

1. Give yourself permission to grieve

It can feel traumatic when you lose (or even leave) a job. You’re parting with the place you’ve spent the majority of your waking hours and for many of us, it’s part of our identity.

If you’re going through this or if you fear going through this, it’s perfectly normal.

Of course, at some point you have to move on. But don’t feel like you have to “muscle” through the stages of grief.

2. Do something you enjoy every day

When things don’t go well, it’s exactly the time when you have to treat yourself well. Make sure you’re doing things that spark joy in your life.


Need More Unemployment Advice?: Just Been Laid Off? Keep Calm and Read This Checklist


The Basics

3. Get your financial situation in order

Wherever you are in your career, it’s good to figure out what your numbers really are.

Look at your expenditures, potential cost savings, how much income you need for the lifestyle you want to have, and how long you could go without having that new income stream.

4. Set up your logistics

For me, this meant carving out a space for my home office and agreeing on some ground rules with my husband, who successfully ran our home life during my 24-year corporate career.

5. Set up and migrate towards using a personal email address

Even if you’re gainfully employed, I recommend setting up a personal email address. The key is to actually use it so it’s not such a shock when you no longer have the one from work.

6. Update your LinkedIn profile

We all Google each other, and what’s likely show up for you is your LinkedIn page. So, you want your profile to be current and to capture the essence of who you are.

Strategy

7. Figure out what you really want to do

Give yourself permission to reframe losing your job as a golden opportunity to figure out what you really want to do.

Maybe you want to get back into the industry or role you were in.

Maybe you want to find a different opportunity. This is a great time to start looking at what I call adjacent opportunities: sectors or roles that are close to what you were doing so you can leverage your former skills.

Or maybe you want to move onto something completely different.

8. What’s your value proposition?

Think about your special strengths. What are the things that you’re both great at and love to do?

Your value proposition comes in when you look at your special strengths and match them against the needs of a particular organization, sector or entrepreneurial business niche.

9. Get your story down

This is about personal branding. How do you want to project your value proposition and the things that you really want to do?

It’s your version of: “This is what I did in the past. This is what I’d like to do in the future. Here’s where my strengths lie and here’s where I can really add value to these kinds of organizations.”

When you know your story and convey it succinctly, people will more quickly “get” who you are and how they can help.


Unemployed longer than 6 Months? Read this: 5 Tips for the Long-Term Unemployed


Execution

10. Focus on your network

The majority of people find their jobs through their extended networks, especially if they’re looking at doing something different.

Map out your network and reach out to old and existing contacts. They can be references as well as a rich source of ideas for who else you should be talking to.

Also reach out to new people to expand your network. It’s all about getting comfortable having conversations. You can leverage and continue to refine your storyline here.

11. Identify your retooling and retraining needs

Figure out what kind of retraining or retooling you need based on what you want to do.

When I left investment banking, I decided I wanted to help people to be better leaders and more successful in their careers, so I found it valuable to get a coaching credential.

12. Find a bridging platform

You don’t have to find your “next big thing” right away.

And you also don’t want to jump at the first job that comes your way if it’s not right.

When you look ahead at your bigger aspirations, you’re likely to find a few stepping stones that can lead you there. Each of those stepping stones is a platform you can stand on to learn, contribute, be visible, and connect with people.

Find activities that feed into things you love to do with places and people you enjoy. These could be things like joining non-profit boards, volunteering, or guest lecturing.

Conclusion

Whether you’ve lost your job or fear you might, these steps can help you make a better transition with speed and grace.

It helps if you keep taking actions, no matter how small. And it’s even better when you combine this with being around people who can support, inspire and guide you.

What step would most move the needle for you if you took it right now?


Stuck in Your Search? Try our Resume & Job Search Coaching Services


 

About the Author

May Busch is a sought-after executive coach, speaker, advisor, author, and former COO of Morgan Stanley Europe. Her passion is helping people succeed in their career and life – to be better, do more, and make the difference they are meant to make. Find her on MayBusch.com and follow her on Twitter at @maybusch