Unexpected job loss comes as a shock to most.
Even if you did not lose your job unexpectedly, the worry of unemployment and the task of finding a new job often seems overwhelming at first. Experts suggest part of the shock resulting from a termination comes from a feeling of rejection, leading to sadness or anger.
Worrying about how your bills are going to be paid, and what you will tell others about your job loss weighs heavy in the first weeks after job loss. Several coping techniques exist to deal with this loss, and one of the first is to simply step back and allow yourself to recover from the emotional upset.
If you focus on finding work and you put in the required time, you are sure to find new employment. A few months down the line, you might even forget all about your termination. Refocusing your attention on what you want, rather than what you lost, is one of the most important factors to coping. If your job has just ended, use the following information to formulate your own personalized strategy for getting back on your feet.
What do you do when you lose your job?
Your course of action is dictated largely by the circumstances surrounding your termination. If you were wrongfully terminated due to sexual harassment or discrimination, you may wish to consult with an attorney. Many attorneys specialize specifically in wrongful termination cases and tell you if you have grounds for legal action. If you believe this is the case, do not wait to seek out a consultation because in many states deadlines for filing a complaint exists.
If this does not apply to you, then the next step after you receive word of your termination is to go onto your home computer and visit your state’s unemployment site. On this site, apply for your unemployment compensation.
Waiting even a week to do this delays your benefits as much as a month. Most sites ask a series of questions to determine your eligibility. Not all workers are eligible as assistance is based on how long you worked and how much money you made.
Applying for financial assistance through your state’s unemployment portal helps ease some of the panic you may be feeling in regard to losing your job. While unemployment compensation does not cover all your bills, it does ease some of the burden so you can look for work. This frees you to begin to address some of the tasks before you, namely finding a good job, or obtaining training for a career change.
Many workers take advantage of the termination and turn it into a positive event by exploring a change in careers, considering a new degree, obtaining new certifications or training, or starting their own small business. Viewed in this light, the termination was just the nudge you needed to make positive changes in your life.
Learn about Wrongful Termination
Wrongful termination is when an employee is fired illegally, either as a breach of contract or because of discrimination or harassment. Several consistent scenarios seem to support wrongful termination lawsuits including the following:
- Your job loss violates either a verbal or written contract.
- You informed to the authorities about unsafe practices in the workplace.
- You refused to take part in questionable or illegal activities requested by the employer.
- You were let go because of your age, race, you were pregnant or due to an affiliation with a religion.
Tips for Handling a Job Termination
If you suspect a termination is imminent, or you have time prior to your final exit interview, formulate some questions to ask your employer that may benefit you in the future. This allows you to turn what could be a painful and upsetting situation into an educational fact-finding event. Some key questions to ask include:
- Am I entitled to severance pay?
- May I still ask for a reference from you?
- Does the company offer an extended healthcare option?
- Would you consider me for short term projects in the future?
Avoid the desire to lash out at your employer, supervisor or other employees when you are terminated. Leaving as a class act shows your character better than throwing a tantrum. No one is sorry to see a hothead leave the building, but someone leaving with a calm, though sad, grace always leaves a positive last image in others’ minds. You never know if in the future some of those same employees, supervisors or even your former employer may personally recommend you to someone else.
Setting a Reemployment Plan
Once you are past the grieving process, begin developing a reemployment strategy. Creating a job search blueprint for yourself helps you stay on track, view your progress and achieve daily goals. Include the task of reviewing and updating your cover letter and resume on this list.
Learn about the new styles, formatting and presentations for these documents. Often, current samples for your industry are available online.
Make a thorough assessment of your skills, interests and knowledge base a part of your plan. Thinking outside of the box may open new avenues of thought as well as job opportunities. For example, as a secretary you managed multiple schedules. This skill makes you employable as a personal assistant for someone, often working from home.
Networking is another component to include in your blueprint for employment. Literally and figuratively, making connections via social media as well as face to face meetings increases your reach. Let everyone in your circle of influence know you are looking for a job and what you are interested in doing.
Going Back to School After a Job Termination
Were you let go from your former job because you failed to keep up with innovations, trends or new technologies? Take this time off as the opportunity to bolster your knowledge in these areas. Maybe now is the time to obtain the training you need to make a total career change and try something new.
Many employment training programs and short-term training programs exist, both online and through various institutions, each of which is designed with the non-traditional student in mind. Many offer night classes, short 8-week courses or long-distance learning (where you go at your own pace).