Being laid off or getting fired are, unfortunately, common events that many people will have to deal with at least a few times over the course of their professional career. While you may feel remorse for friends and family members when this type of event happens to them, you can feel a sense of panic or extreme stress when it happens to you.
Of course, some people who are currently out of a job may have quit on their own accord, and this may have been because of poor management or another similar type of issue. In any case, this professional gap can be stressful, but you can more easily navigate through this tumultuous time without scars by following a few tips.
1. Keep Calm and Focus
After losing or quitting a job, you may understandably feel confused or even hurt. It is normal to feel these emotions, so embrace them for a short period of time. During that period, consider everything from meditating to working out, blogging and more to get your mind off of the pain. You can and should spend time reflecting on what may have gone wrong in your previous position so that you can learn from it.
However, you should not dwell on negative emotions tied to those life lessons, but let them go so that you can move on with your life. Embrace this break from a work routine by spending more time with friends and family, relaxing, having fun, and enjoying the resulting reduced stress levels. After all, this break is only temporary, and you may soon find another job. By adjusting your line of thinking so that you focus on the transient nature of this break, you may be able to relax and enjoy a sense of calmness.
2. Enjoy Your Free Time
When you are not working regularly, you may have many hours in your day to enjoy at your leisure. Think of this time as a vacation of sorts that you can use to regroup and focus on your physical and mental health. Use it to reconnect with loved ones and to focus on nurturing these relationships.
You can explore new hobbies or interests that you have been meaning to try, such as taking dance lessons, cycling and more. If you have the funds to do so, you may even travel without concern about getting back to a job. Your trip will be much more relaxing than it would be if you had the stress of job responsibilities looming over you.
3. Make a New Financial Plan
A lot of individuals out of work for even a few weeks may begin to feel financial stress related to a lack of incoming funds. While you may want to enjoy your time off of work, practice moderation so that you can avoid overspending. Consider reducing your personal expenses so that you can conserve your savings. For example, you may cut back on cable TV, your entertainment expense, restaurant meals and more. You may also find a side job that can offset your lack of full-time income.
This could help you to stretch your savings for a longer period of time and reduce the financial strain that you may be feeling. If you are offered COBRA health insurance, consider the benefits associated with taking advantage of extended coverage for as long as it is available to you.
4. Get Back on Track
It is easy to get lazy when you have ample time to yourself each day. You may find yourself sleeping in regularly, spending hours watching TV and more. However, this can create boredom and may even lead to depression.
To prevent it, make a to-do list of items that need your attention around the house. Focus on improving your skills by working toward a new certification. Attend professional networking events and job fairs. You could even volunteer for an organization that supports a cause that you feel strongly about so that you feel productive each day. Another smart idea is to revise your resume and update your LinkedIn profile accordingly.
5. Start Looking for a New Gig
Many people will take a few days or even longer than week to enjoy their time off of work and regroup after quitting or losing a job. That is perfectly fine; however, you do not want to spend too much time taking it easy. The sooner you start looking for a new job, the sooner you may be able to start working and get your career and finances back on track.
While looking for job postings online, you should also network with personal and professional contacts to learn about jobs and to potentially get your foot in the door. If you are out of a job for an extended period of time, ensure that you follow forums, blogs, trade journals and more so that you can keep up with industry changes that may be relevant when you interview for a new position.
Tomorrow is Another Day
Regardless of why you are currently out of a job, your lack of gainful employment can seem like a stressful setback. You may even take your lack of income and your employment issues personally, and this could lead to depression. When you follow these important tips, however, you can navigate through this rough patch more comfortably, and you may more easily find a great new gig that takes your career to the next level.
Michelle Laurey is a freelance writer who enjoys fitness, relaxing in the fresh air, trying to live a healthy life and daydreaming about visiting new places (and actually visiting them). Her best ideas and problem solutions appear while she’s riding her bicycle. You can reach her via Twitter.