What to Do When You Lose Your Job Unexpectedly

Unexpectedly losing your job can be emotionally and financially devastating. It can cause you to question your self-worth, your professional abilities and of course, it affects your financial situation.

Being able to keep yourself mentally sound and financially prepared as you begin the next chapter of your career is essential. So today I want to share a few tips to help you navigate this difficult situation.

Mental Preparation

The most important thing to do when you unexpectedly lose your job is to completely separate yourself from the company. It’s natural to want to know why it happened, but unfortunately, you can’t always get an answer and even if you do, it won’t change the outcome. The best thing to do is to move on as quickly as possible.

Be careful not to get caught up in office gossip either. It’s tempting to talk to former co-workers or other employees to find out what’s been happening since you left, but doing so prevents you from being able to move forward. So as difficult as it may be, you have to let the past be in the past in order to be able to “mourn” your job loss.

Tip: Use this time as an opportunity to reflect on what your dreams and goals are. Allow yourself to take your career in a different direction or spend time discovering a new passion.

Financial Preparedness

Not knowing how you’ll be able to support yourself, or your family can be extremely stressful. It’s easy to start panicking about your financial situation and feel like you’re out of money, but remember this is a temporary problem. It won’t last forever. Life can change in a day and to worry about the future isn’t going to change anything. The best thing you can do is focus on the facts and keep the situation in perspective.   

Tip: Create a budget for how long you can realistically support yourself without a consistent income. Also, consider getting a side gig or freelance work. Try services like Thumbtack & Task Rabbit to discover new ways to make money.

Company References

If didn’t leave the company on good terms, it’s best not to ask your former boss or HR department for a letter of recommendation. Instead, ask a trusted peer or subordinate, someone who worked alongside you, for a letter of recommendation. Potential employers want to know what you’re like to work with and what leadership skills you have, so these letters of recommendation can be very powerful and help set you apart from other candidates.

Tip: A letter of recommendation from your peer should focus on teamwork, collaboration, and your communication skills. A letter from a subordinate should be centered on mentorship, leading by example and your coaching skills.

Losing your job unexpectedly is never easy and can be very scary. Start by separating yourself from the company and focus on the facts to keep yourself from getting overwhelmed by negative emotions. Remind yourself this is only temporary and be grateful you now have the chance to pursue a new direction, job or passion.