Losing your job happens. It happens to almost everyone, I know it’s hard when you think that you are a special little snowflake. but it’s true. Industries change, the economy fluctuates, business models are updated and sometimes you are the one who as to go.
The only thing you can do is to be prepared when the day comes. As someone who was not at all prepared and as someone who needs to have a plan for everything, when my time came I was caught very off guard and felt very lost.
Through my experience and from long conversations with friends and family who have been in the same situations, I have pulled together some things that either we wish we had known or that worked well for us at the time.
In the Moment
1. Stay pleasant and professional.
It may seem like this would be obvious. However, in the heat of the moment emotions can run high and some people may say things they regret. Tears on the other hand are completely acceptable. I’m not saying start wailing away like a banshee but it can be a blow to your ego and sometimes those damn tears just escape at the worst time. The most important thing though is to remember that you still may want to use these people as references for your next job and you don’t want to burn any bridges at this point
2. Ask them to walk you through the offer letter
Unless you’re an HR or Legal expert some of the terms and phrases they will use may be confusing or difficult, and you will also be able to clarify any issues you may have right away which will come in handy during some of the next few steps
3. Request a soft copy of the offer to be sent to your personal email account
Especially if you are someone who has all your important files online or on a hard drive. Also this way if you accidentally get your snack on your official letter you have a back up.
4. Ask them to call you a cab while you pack your desk
Even if they say “just flag one and expense it” say “Please have one waiting for me”. This is not an extreme request and sometimes they let you go at 8:30 in the morning when there are no cabs and you have to walk home with your bankers box full of all the food items you stashed away in your desk over the years. In case you cant tell that’s personal experience talking. I wish I had been more firm and made them call me one while I was busy filling my box full of hand lotion and cans of tuna.
Once you get home
1. Get a second set of eyes on your offer
This is where the soft copy comes in handy. Email it to your HR or Lawyer friend or to your mummydaddy because mummydaddies know all the things. And your significant other who knows way more fancy people than you do. This will help to make sure you’re getting the right offer and if there are any other questions you didn’t think of in the moment
2. Rally your support system
Don’t be embarrassed or feel weird about telling friends and family what happened. Maybe don’t post about it on social media right away but your close friends and family will be able to support you and remind you of how awesome and fantastic you are. And if they don’t remind you just send me a message and I’ll make sure you know how super duper you are!
3. Turn off your alarms for the next morning
You get to sleep in! Leave the planning for later, just relax stay in bed and do nothing in the morning because you can do whatever you want and you had a hard day.
The next day
Today is an important day. You may be in for an emotional roller coaster or you might be just fine. Take the day to yourself and don’t try to fill up your first day with busy work.
1. Build a budget
You should already have and follow a budget but let’s face it sometimes being an adult means that you build one and forget about it because… shoes. So make a spreadsheet, download an app go old school with a notebook. However you do it just make sure you cover your basics. Figure out how much time you have before you absolutely need a new job and if you need to borrow money.
2. Look up employment laws in your province or state
Even though you may have had someone look over your offer letter it is good to be well versed in your rights and make sure you fully understand your situation and reassure yourself that you are taking all the necessary precautions and steps.
3. File for your unemployment insurance
The sooner the better. It is easier for it to be put on hold than it is to back date and stress about it.
4. Take a nap
Seriously. How often can you take a nap at 11 am on a Wednesday just because?
The next week
1. Start a routine
We let you sleep in for a week now it’s time to really start a routine. This will help in the long run, being unemployed can dampen your spirit and it can make you very very lazy but having a routine will help combat some of those issues. Set a time to wake up EVERY morning. No excuses. Do the same with bed time. Make a schedule for hobbies, job hunting and household chores and stick to it. As tempting as it may be don’t stick your butt in front of the tv all day every day.
2. Network, Network, Network
If you left on good terms reach out to your former bosses or co-workers and invite them out for coffee. Keep these relationships open you never know who they may know or what companies and organizations they may have connections to. Also reach out to former colleagues and do your research on Linkedin. It’s never too soon to start planning your next step
3. Re-discover yourself
Maybe this is a blessing in disguise, maybe you weren’t completely happy at your job before. Or maybe you have always wanted to move to a new city or take that class that scares you. Take advantage of this free time and do your research, read those books on your shelf you bought to make yourself look smarter. Visit your friend who lives far enough away that you dont see them very often. Focus on yourself. Right now it is all about you and you deserve to be happy.
The next few weeks will have it’s ups and downs but remember that you will get through it and be stronger when you make it out the other side. Which you will.