coping with a job loss

Losing a job can be a distressing experience which has an impact on many aspects of everyday life. Suddenly financial issues become more of a worry than ever, family relationships can become strained, and self-confidence can plummet. But most often, losing a job can open up new opportunities once the crisis has passed. There are some things to keep in mind when facing a job loss which will help you to move forward towards your new future in a more positive and enthusiastic frame of mind.

Top tips

Speak to your manager or HR adviser in the first instance

If you’re unclear about why you’ve lost your job, ask your manager or HR adviser to explain everything to you in detail. If you’re being made redundant, you will also want to ask about any arrangements your organisation is making for you. And if you’ve lost your job for another reason, find out whether or not you can appeal the decision. This is also the time to ask for clarification as to the way that references will be handled after you’ve left.

Leave on a good note

All industries are small at the end of the day, and it’s amazing how we can lose one job only to find that we’re working with a previous manager in the future. Before you leave any job, thank your manager for their support during your time at the company and let them know that you’ve appreciated the experiences you’ve had. Even when we’re hurt or angry it’s important to leave any company on a positive note wherever possible.

Don’t withhold the news from your family

You may want to wait for a few days to get your thoughts in order, but hiding a job loss from your family has long-term consequences. Not only will you need their support but secrets have a way of creating barriers between people. Let those closest to you know what’s happened and provide them with as much detail as you can. Has your employer offered redundancy pay? When will you need to return any company property such as a car? Once you’re clear about where you stand financially, you and your family can begin to make plans. Remember, there’s no shame in losing a job and in fact, many, many people have experienced it at least once during their career.

Update your CV as soon as possible after leaving your job

You may not even want to think about looking for a new job at this stage but updating your CV as soon as possible is a good idea. Recent accomplishments are fresh in your mind as are the types of tasks you performed in your role. As time goes on, it’s easy to forget our ‘wins’ leaving us scrambling at the last minute to sell ourselves to a new employer. You might also like to contact colleagues and past managers in the industry for testimonials as to your professionalism, dedication and successes.

For more information see our section on How to create a CV and Preparing for an interview

Make an effort to catch up with your colleagues before you leave

If your circumstances allow you to meet up with colleagues before you leave, organise a casual get together with them to say goodbye. It’s a great opportunity to thank them for their support and arrange to keep in touch with those you’re close to. Losing a job is hard enough but feeling isolated from your team makes it harder to move on.

Take good care of yourself

Any trauma in life can leave us feeling battered and bruised and losing a job is no different. Make sure that you get enough sleep and eat well especially in the early days. If you’re feeling anxious or stressed, see your GP for advice as soon as possible. And don’t forget to make a real effort to see your friends and family when you feel ready. If you’re financially able to, you might consider taking a little time off before looking for a new job to rest, recover and consider your next steps. If this isn’t possible, make sure that you plan some time with friends and family, a fun activity with your children, or something else you can really look forward to.

The job hunt

There are many sources of support for people looking for work including recruitment agencies, and Job Centre Plus. Hunting for a job can feel lonely and frustrating so make an effort to keep in touch with people in your industry; they might know who is hiring or might be able to offer you advice.