You’ve just lost your job… now what?

By Shailen Lakhani - Last update


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A contact of mine was recently called into a ‘meeting’ and was told that she (along with others) was now effectively fired. She was given 5 minutes to leave the building and when she went back to her desk there was a security guard waiting to make sure that she didn t cause a fuss or steal anything. She was told that if she co-operated with leaving she would receive 3 weeks pay, otherwise she would receive just one week s pay.

I know this story has been replicated all over the country (and indeed world) over the past few months and it s a time of huge tumult and change. Here are some ideas/strategies (adopted from Laura Berman Fortgang s book Now What 90 Days to a New Life Direction). While you are probably feeling overwhelmed with worry and anxiety, here are 3 practical strategies you can implement to begin your new life.

Strategy 1 Acknowledge and respect your feelings of loss

It strikes me sometimes that we can bypass this stage and seek to go straight to focussing on the positives. I believe that we ignore this stage at our peril. It will be difficult to go forward if we are still hooked by the anger and grief engendered by losing our job. Allow yourself time to grieve. Identify ways to deal with your feelings: talking to trusted friends/family, journal about it, do something physically strenuous, vent to a coach or counsellor.

One of the most powerful ways to deal with these feelings is simply to allow ourselves to be present to them and feel them fully (and if you feel resistance, just be present to the resistance. ) Don t try to change them or beat yourself up. This is a surprisingly fast way to deal with feelings. They are a bit like children. . . once they get heard, they are fine!

Strategy 2 – Take stock of what you got

Review your CV (you can use one of the online service such as http://cvcafe. com/ to create one); but beyond that identify what you are taking with you from this situation: what are the hard skills, soft skills Take time to write them down. Here are some examples: computer skills, ability to negotiate, relationship building skills, being organised with your contacts. What have you learned (grudgingly or not!) over the past while What situations have you handled that have grown your confidence Really take the time to acknowledge and list these skills.

Strategy 3 Create a new routine

Now that you have left your job you may feel as though a major piece of your daily ‘scaffolding’ is gone. While you may spend a couple of days watching late night movies and catching up on Dr. Phil and Oprah in the morning, you should also begin to create a new routine for yourself. Actually, why not take the time to fantasise about what an ‘ideal day’ would look like If you could design your day to be any way you want it to be. . . why not experiment with that now In fact part of the work identified in Strategy 2 could be incorporated into this new routine.


Shailen Lakhani

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