Losing a job is never nice. Whether it comes as a surprise or it’s something you were expecting, it’s an awful experience. Having your stable income and lifestyle taken away from you is scary. It can shake up your whole world and make you reconsider everything you thought you knew about your life and where it’s going.
But these things happen and if it happens to you, you’re going to need to know how to deal with it. So, here are eight things you should do if you ever lose your job.
Don’t just sit there and sign papers when they tell you that you’re unexpectedly unemployed. Instead, ask specific questions. Is it because of downsizing? If so, why did they choose to let you go and not someone else? Or is it your job performance? It’s best you try to fully understand the situation and how it came about. This will help you in the future.
Decide whether it’s worth fighting
After you ask about the details, decide whether you want to fight their decision. Do you believe you were unfairly dismissed for reasons they haven’t listed? Was it because you complained about harassment or pointed out unethical practices? If so, then you should think about paid or free legal advice in South Africa. If not, however, then you should accept the situation.
Accept the situation
It is what it is and you’ve got to look forward and focus on your future. How are you going to proceed? The first step in moving on is accepting where you are at the moment. Yes, you’re unemployed, but you should look at the experience and connections you still have. There’s no point in screaming and crying into your pillow. This has happened and you need to start making plans. The sooner you come to terms with your situation, the easier it will be to move on.
Assess what went wrong from your side
You may not have thought you were doing anything wrong at the time but if they claim you behaved in an unacceptable manner, you need to think about it. Look back at your career and pinpoint all the events or actions they may have been referring to. What went wrong? What could you have done differently?
Think about what you’re going to do differently in the future
Sit down with a pen and paper and write down all your missteps and the way you plan to handle those things in the future. Will you count to 10 and breathe before getting annoyed at a coworker? Will you get to work earlier, be more organised for meetings and do your admin long before it becomes an issue? It’s important that you know what you need to work on so you can make sure you don’t find yourself in this situation again.
Consider whether you were on the right track in the first place
Was that really the career you wanted? Were you happy going to work every day or was it simply a way to make money and afford to pay your rent? If you weren’t really enjoying what you were doing, that may have contributed to the reason you lost your job. Think about what type of job you really want and write a detailed plan of how to get that dream position.
Get everything in order
Don’t waste valuable time. Go home and put together your CV. Update it and check the latest trends in putting together resumes. You never know how much has changed in the job market since you last found yourself unemployed or looking for a new job. Add all the experience you gained from your previous job. You don’t just need to list your experience and give references. You should also add a quick overview of your skills and the responsibilities you had.
Start applying for jobs
Take a long look at your CV and then start searching for jobs. If you have a computer and an internet connection, there is no excuse for you to delay the process. There are many sites online to help you find the perfect job for you. If you don’t find many options for you right away, sign up for newsletters and alerts. And don’t only apply for jobs that are 100 percent attractive. Sometimes positions are advertised by people who don’t know how to explain the job description properly. You also can’t afford to be picky when you have to pay rent and feed yourself. So, get applying right away.
Losing your job is a horrible experience. It can make you second guess everything. It can make your whole life feel unstable. But you shouldn’t give up. Ask questions, decide whether it’s worth fighting, accept the situation, assess what went wrong from your side, think about what you’re going to do differently in future, consider whether that was even the right job for you, get everything in order and start applying for jobs.