Post written in collaboration with Janet Andrews, M.A., Executive Job Search Coach
You lost your job? It happens. The hard part is that it's happening to you and along with that loss, come a few gains that are unwelcome: stress, anxiety and worry. According to the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale, job loss is the 8th greatest stressor out of 43 life events!
If that isn't enough, you also have a few losses in areas that sustained you in the past, like a strong sense of self-identity and security about the future. With a job loss, you may feel at times that you are starring in a sub-par TV Sitcom, where the characters are lackluster, the plot is predictable, and they are still using a laugh track because there is nothing worth laughing at. How do you get yourself written out of that story line?
It's time to start developing your own project with production values worthy of a Golden Globe "nod." Taking action toward what you want is the best way to get back on track and begin to transform your job loss into a script worth producing. Before you know it, you'll be sipping wine at the open bar and chatting with Ricky Gervais backstage after your big win!
Here are 7 steps to get you prepared for your "close up":
1. Before you start developing your next project, acknowledge the Loss.
Losing your job, for whatever reason, is considered a major loss, even if you knew in advance it was being eliminated. Trying to step around the loss, ignore the loss or climb over the loss, just makes the loss stronger. Take the time to acknowledge what happened and the feelings that are associated with your job loss.
Five Stages of Grief. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, MD, a Swiss American psychiatrist and pioneer in near-death studies, identified five stages of grief and loss: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Though they are not in a linear timeline, the five stages help frame and identify what you may be feeling. Notice where you are at any given moment.
Talk to others. Get confidential support and a listening ear from people you know and trust before you start your job search. With so many areas of your life affected at once by a job loss, it is important to be easy on yourself and understand the significance this impact may have on you and others close to you.
Start a journal. A journal is an essential tool to help achieve closure more quickly and avoid bringing negativity to networking meetings and interviews. Keep your journal personal and private and use it to identify and work through any unresolved emotions and stumbling blocks that may sabotage your success. Writing helps let go of emotional baggage and helps to work through the emotional stages of grief and loss. Keep your Journal focused on feelings with the intent of releasing them.
2. Tune into the Health Network
Maintain balance and a healthy lifestyle by exercising daily to keep the endorphins going and reduce stress. Try Yoga and Meditation to help clear your mind and gain a positive perspective. Adopt new healthy eating habits to be at your best and put your best foot forward. Plan enjoyable and fun activities into your schedule as often as possible. Keep communication open with all family members, allowing feelings to be expressed.
3. Visualize Each Aspect of your Show
Neuroscientists propose that combining a clear vision of what you want with the positive emotions of having attained it, rewires the brain and brings more opportunities and options into your consciousness.
To make your vision stronger, write it out, tweak frequently and visualize daily. Imagine what this new opportunity will look like in all areas and how it will help you attain your career and financial goals. Jump into the excitement and gratitude of what it feels like to already be in that position. Focusing on your future in this way creates a strong intention that will power up your job search success and keep it exciting!
4. Shop Your Project
Take some time to explore multiple career paths and job possibilities. Is there another line of work that you have always wanted to pursue? Or is this a good opportunity to transition into a new position or a new company culture that is a better fit for you? Is this the time to increase your income? Examine your "transferable skills." Consider working in a different field, doing contract work or starting your own business. Use your imagination. In addition to doing your own soul searching and research, ask others for feedback. They may identify areas of work that you would be good at that you hadn't considered, in order to utilize your transferable skills.
5. Let's Do Lunch
Use your calendar to set up meetings several weeks in advance, so that you continue to be active in your job search with networking, attending professional association meetings, conducting informational interviews and meeting new people.
Establish a daily routine. Create "to do" lists and break tasks into manageable chunks. This will help you focus and be efficient with your time, allowing you to plan for a successful campaign with timely follow-up. Be sure to maintain a record of activities including calls, meetings and interviews.
6. Don't Forget Your Production Team
Develop a strong support network. Let others be involved in encouraging you by sharing your process and progress. Contact friends, families and mentors who care about you and also have your success a priority. Ask them to provide positive feedback and support as you begin your job search. Utilize all of the resources you can to tap into the hidden job market, including professional contacts, neighbors, alumni associations, group memberships and professional organizations. Take the time to research and identify a thorough list of target companies, so that you can structure a marketing plan to reach those companies.
Use LinkedIn as an integral part of developing a network and creating connections with people in your target companies. As surprising as this may be, it is sometimes your newest connections and people that you don't know yet that may be the most instrumental in introducing you to the right people in your target market.
7. Believe In Your Project: You
Trust in a greater universal intelligence that your efforts and activities will work out the best for you, even though it may not always look like it in the moment. Know that the universe is conspiring on your behalf, to bring you the best outcome possible with your job search, and that the job loss is here to bring you golden opportunities on the horizon, if not a Golden Globe.
Before you know it, you will be skipping back down the red carpet with a limousine waiting and a Golden Globe in hand!