Last week, I was enjoying lunch on a patio with a friend on my day off. It was gorgeous outside; the world just felt right.
Two margaritas in, our lunch arrived and I received a call from my supervisor requesting my immediate presence at our office. I knew something was up, but I remained calm and assumed something imperative came up and he just needed my attention at the office.
To my surprise, our CEO and an HR employee awaited my arrival at our office, which meant HR had flown in from out of state. They sat me down and explained they had decided to close our office and move operations to our headquarters location.
Despite their efforts to deliver the blow thoughtfully and respectfully, it felt horrible.
At some point in life, most of us will experience losing a job. Fear of the unknown, worry, panic, waiting and rejection accompany the whirlwind of hysteria that comes with job loss. It can be a scary and chaotic period of time that cannot pass quickly enough.
Whether you are laid off or fired, the news more than often comes with no warning and tends to be quite shocking.
Regardless, it compromises your livelihood and the bills for which you are responsible to cover. So, should job loss ever ail you, here’s how to handle the path ahead:
Leave with integrity
When receiving the soul-crushing news that you’ve lost your job, it’s easy to lose your cool and let your emotions get the best of you. Every word following the initial blow will fade into the background and all you will be able to think about will be the lingering shock, anger and panic.
You may get upset and even feel the tears well up in your eyes. You may want to cry, but it is not the time or place. Refocus on what you are hearing, remain attentive and ask whatever you need in order to get closure and answers.
You will need a referral, should potential hiring managers call your past employers, and it’s best to leave with an admirable and professional impression. Bottom line: Wait until you’re out of the building to get emotional, then lose your sh*t properly, in private.
Pick your poison
Drive to the store and purchase your favorite type of liquor or wine. You’ll need a stiff drink while you attempt to process your day.
File for unemployment benefits, if you qualify
Now is not the time to make late payments on your bills and ruin your credit because you lack funds. If you qualify, you’ll want to apply for benefits immediately to ensure that you don’t make a crappy situation worse. You can do this online, in your pajamas, so at least there’s that.
Update your résumé and LinkedIn profile
This is crucial and should obviously happen as soon as possible. These are the basic tools you will need to fix your situation and get your life back in order.
Security and purpose are important in adulthood and fear of the unknown is a terrifying thing. Your résumé will essentially determine your interview and, therefore, job opportunities, too.
Reach out to loved ones
Love, understanding and support from friends and family will keep you sane and provide distractions. Take breaks and laugh when you can in order to keep from feeling like the walking dead.
It’s not ideal to need to repeatedly share your news and story, but putting out the general word will help, should anyone know of an open position. Circulate your résumé in order to let your network know you are seeking a new job.
Whenever your mind wanders toward the treacherous territory of things that could go wrong, redirect your focus to what you need to do to make things go how you want. It does you no good to hit rock bottom or play the victim.
Search for companies located near your zip code and visit their careers pages to apply for jobs that pique your interest.
Keep your routines
Go to bed and wake up when you normally do. Don’t get lazy or ruin your existing routines, like working out, sleeping and eating. Maintaining those routines will keep you healthy and prevent your stress levels from doing further damage.