What to Do When You’re Unexpectedly Unemployed

These tips will help you in the moments and days immediately after an unexpected job loss.

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- Posted on Mar 21, 2017

unexpected job loss

You did not anticipate being fired or laid off. You certainly did not anticipate lack of notice or lack of recourse. But, there you are, suddenly unemployed with no back-up income, no prospects and no hope.  Regardless of the circumstances, this can sting and your emotions can range from anger to sadness to disbelief.

But one setback—even a major one—is not the end of your story. This may be hard to see in the middle of your disappointment, but a closed door can be the first step into living a life that is more fulfilling and more in-line with your God-given purpose. In the event of an unexpected job loss, here are 5 things you can do to stay hopeful, get back on your feet, as soon as possible, and start living the life meant for you.

1. Channel your pent up energy.

In the moments after being let go, you may have a lot of pent up energy. Channeling this energy strategically and positively will make all the difference. So whether this means going for a swim or going for a long walk (without your phone), exercise will help you get rid of some of this energy quickly and divert it from lashing out at your family or your former boss/coworkers. It may also have the effect of draining you of all your energy. Going home and taking a nap is a safe way to regain some of your strength right away.

2. Update your résumé.

After you’ve exercised and rested to clear your head, start updating your résumé and try to keep your focus only on that task. Undoubtedly, you will want to get started right away on your new job search. However, understand that this can be a lengthy process, particularly if you don’t have any inside contacts, so don’t get burned out too fast. Once you think it is finished, send it to two or three friends to review and critique.

3. Make a 5-day plan.

You can drive yourself into a panic attack focusing on how to pay bills next month or for the rest of the year after an unexpected job loss. Don’t think that far ahead. Focus your energy on the next 5 days only. Go ahead and plan to spend a few hours every day on your job search as well as a few hours embracing the time off. Plan quality time with your friends, spouse, children or grandchildren, or some quality time alone. Pick up a book or magazine you have been meaning to read, go to a matinee, practice a new language and try a new restaurant or coffee shop. You can choose to do your job search in the morning or afternoon but try to stay active each day, doing more than just searching for jobs, so that you don’t get stuck in an emotional pitfall of worry and depression.

4. Get organized.

So many jobs require that you create a login to apply for any of their jobs, and it can be quite exhausting to keep track of it all. Go ahead and open a spreadsheet so you can track the job you applied for/company name, login and password for each one. You should also have handy three references and their contact information so you do not have to search for this every time you need to input it. You should also read through all instructions for applying for unemployment insurance so you can do so correctly and in a timely fashion, to tide you over while you complete your search

5. Be patient with yourself.

 You may start getting interviews immediately but chances are you will have about two weeks before you start getting any feedback. If you need to take a full day off the job search because you are not seeing any new jobs posted, do that. If you feel anxiousness creeping in, give yourself a break. . Practice meditation and prayer. Take some time to breathe and focus on things that make you feel grateful. Get back to your search when you’re feeling clear-headed, calm and hopeful for the future.

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