It hurts to lose your job. Losing it during a global pandemic even more so.
Dennis Hobbs is Vice-President, Client Services at Eisen Consulting Group. His organization offers career transition support to those who have recently found themselves out of work and are often in a state of shock. He’s someone you talk to right after you’re hit with the news that your services are no longer required.
“When you lose your job, get selfish, because it's all about you,” says Hobbs. “Learn what you can about why it has happened. Take ownership of those aspects in your control. Then close that chapter and do something for yourself.”
With over a decade of career-coaching experience, here are Hobbs’ key strategies for dealing with job loss:
1. Take some time off (if you can) and de-stress
If you can afford to take time some time off, then do so without guilt. Maybe you have enough saved up to relax at home for a few weeks. You can do some of the things you’ve put off because of the time pressures of your previous job. Whatever you choose to do, remember to take some time for yourself to de-stress.
2. Review your finances and personal situation
Revisit your financial plan, skill-set, family circumstances and career goals. See how big your “window” is. Ask yourself how long can you be off work before it affects your lifestyle. Taking control of your affairs will put you in the right frame of mind to move forward.
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3. Be realistic about what you can achieve and when
You may need some help with this, especially if your job loss came after a period of emotion or uncertainty. Training or upgrading your education or skills takes time, so make your plan realistic.
You may not have time or funds to take a college or online courses right away. But you can take small steps by researching your field to find out:
- what job skills employers are looking for,
- which skills are required and
- which ones add value to a company or organization.
Look through job postings and take note of the types of jobs you want. Pay particular attention to the qualifications and tasks that come with these postings. Then ask yourself if your current resume qualifies or if you’ll need to upgrade your skills with additional training.
You also need to keep the current economic environment in mind. Due to COVID-19, you may not see postings for the jobs you want right away. However, there are still opportunities out there that may become a short-term stepping-stone to achieving your career goals.
4. Prepare for your job search
Wandering around in today's competitive market without a clear and compelling message will add time and disappointment to your efforts. Connect with your network for informal feedback on your plan before asking for referrals.
The clichés sometimes hold true: When one door closes another one opens. But the key is to be prepared to knock before you can walk in.
Someone once said, “90% of success is not in showing up. It’s in showing up prepared.” If you have suffered a job loss, you know exactly what this means. If you haven’t, heed this advice and be prepared.
And finally, to those who are currently in job transition: Hang in there. Things will work out. “People react in a myriad of ways to job loss. But virtually all come to the same place after settling into a new job,” says Hobbs. “The majority say that the fit is so much better they cannot imagine why they had so much anxiety at the start.”
5. Get financial support if you need it
Worried about supporting yourself and your loved ones without a job? Until you’re ready and have the opportunity to work again, look into ways to get income support. This may mean:
- Applying for Employee Insurance (EI) benefits. EI provides regular benefits to Canadians who lose their jobs through no fault of their own. You can apply as soon as you stop working. Visit the Government of Canada’s EI page for more information.
- Applying for COVID-19-related government support programs. If you’ve stopped working because of COVID-19, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) may give you temporary income support. This benefit offers up to $2,000 monthly, for up to 4 months. Visit the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 economic response plan page for more information.
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