On day one, losing your job seems like the end of the world. The past might be stacked with regrets, the future with concerns. Yet a new career and life can sometimes emerge from the ashes, one that far surpasses what occurred before. Here are five things to consider when you first receive the news – and what they mean.
Getting sacked for being bad can be good
It might seem embarrassing, demoralising and humiliating when you lose your job, depending on how and why you actually left your company. Sometimes, however, even the worst experience can actually be brilliant.
‘Getting the boot’ forces you to think about your attitude and what you are bringing to a typical workplace. It might lead to a brutal assessment of your personality, or highlight areas of your skillset that need a top-up or overhaul. Nobody wants to have a harsh period of self-reflection but it can be cathartic and cleansing, and revitalise your focus.
You have rights…
Redundancy can be a nasty time, with workers viewing each other suspiciously. Expect periods of jealousy and resentment; some veteran employees will be terrified of the future, while others will be delighted to get out and spare no time bragging about their next move.
In either case there is at least one benefit: a financial payout. Redundancy periods carry an absolute minimum notice period of one week, but if you’ve been at your employers for more than two years you’ll get a week’s notice for every year of service. You can find out what you would be entitled to from the Money Advice Service.
…but move quickly
Your period of redundancy gives you time – but don’t rest on your laurels.
Prepare a digital CV on the first night, with links to companies, work and projects of which you are proud. Set up your LinkedIn feed to send jobs of interest. Reach out to old friends and colleagues to look for opportunities. Read the terms of your redundancy and if they are favourable, get applying – you may be able to leave during your notice period and not miss out on the full payment.
Don’t burn bridges and let anger fester
In a LinkedIn post read by more than 310,000 people, Paul Elsass recounted the tale of a discussion he had with a recruiter after he had been removed from his previous job.
She said: “While I like you and see a very solid resume here, I can’t recommend that they talk with you. The reason is that when you told me about this last position you were in, I could hear all kinds of anger in your voice. My advice to you, Paul, is that if you want a job, you had better deal with that anger and get past it.”
Just as Mr Elsass eventually banished his anger and moved on, so should you. It’s not beyond the realms of possibility that you return to your old company someday, and remember that you may need a reference soon enough.
New period of life
Do you need to return to work immediately? If so, do you need to stay in the same profession or sector? The answer is almost always no, even if you don’t realise it. Sometimes luck, a discussion in a bar or a moment of epiphany can lead to the spark of an idea which may lead to a new period of employment, or self employment.
For inspiration take a look at this Mashable piece, and the case studies that went from one career to another, completely different sphere. Amy Halm left communications to become a narcotics dog handler. Yangyang Cheng left TV reporting to become head of a language school.
Never say never.