Bouncing Back from Job Loss

The pandemic has caused unprecedented economic losses, putting nearly half of the total global workforce at risk of losing their livelihood. The International Labour Organization has recorded a 17% decline in working hours. This means that several workers have had their hours cut back or, worse, have been laid off.

All of the sudden changes and losses in employment demand an extreme amount of adjustment from people—and this on top of the disruptions in daily life. With reduced social interactions and increased health worries, the income loss following a job loss is even more alarming. It even affects self-esteem and a person’s sense of self-worth. After all, working on a career for years and having it taken away almost overnight can leave a person with insecurity and, possibly, depression.

It’s important to be able to self-regulate and cultivate peace of mind, Professor Emeritus at the University of North Carolina Bryan Robinson explains. This allows you to manage what you can and let the rest go, eliminating stressors that could hinder re-employment. With perseverance, sincere introspection, and hard work, you can bounce back strong from job loss.

Reassessing your skills

Dedicating yourself to a career for several years wires your brain to think that it’s the only thing you can do. It’s natural to develop a set of values and beliefs about your professional self over time, turning them into rationalized principles. Unconsciously, these principles guide you in making each decision. And that’s okay. After all, not every decision you make needs to be analyzed—deciding what to wear in the morning barely calls for a psychical debate. However, it’s important to know that these habits don’t define your entire professional trajectory.

In our Challenging Mental Structures, Biases and Habits at Work write-up, we talk about how each individual has the power to change and redirect the way they think. Surely, job loss is the appropriate time for you to reassess your skills and their potential. This doesn’t just open up new opportunities for employment, but also validates your self-worth, boosting your confidence.

Managing Stress Smartly

Stress has a number of negative effects. Chron identifies poor time management, strained interactions, lack of focus, and health deterioration to be some of them. You can’t put your best foot forward if you can’t deal with stress, so here are some tips to help you cope:

Get active: Exercise releases endorphins, the happy hormone responsible for stress relief. It also gives you an opportunity to refocus your energy on something positive and constructive, instead of dwelling on the negative emotions. The World Health Organization encourages people to get the right amount of exercise that they need, even while they’re staying at home. You can do cardio exercises, yoga, HIIT, and other types of home exercises and start managing stress, all while improving your health.

Practice mindfulness: A lot of people think that in order to practice meditation, you need to spend hours sitting cross-legged on the ground. Sometimes, even just breathing deeply can help you deal with stress. Pain Free Working lists some great breathing exercises that you can practice for stress-relief.

Learning new things and skills

While it’s important to seek out skills that could potentially help you land a job, make sure that you also see this as a self-improvement activity.

Educational Psychology Professor Conor McGuckin says that learning new skills and activities gives one a sense of purpose and structure to their days. Find things you enjoy learning about and upskill yourself, so you can find more meaning in the things you decide to pursue.

Finding clients and jobs

You can be a great candidate for a job, but you’ll only ever get it if you take action. Tech marketer JayDee Lok offers the following advice:

Cast a wide net: Don’t be restricted by your previous work experience. Focus on your skills and your capabilities and think about how you can apply them across different industries.

Do your homework: Create an online version of your CV on websites like LinkedIn, highlighting your skills and experiences. While you can reach out to companies and other professionals online, you can also leverage your existing network. Let your friends and family know that you’re looking for work opportunities, and do some research on their companies and be assertive in telling them which positions you may be interested in.

Be quick and honest: Have all your documents ready and check your emails regularly. With the current competition out there, you’ll want to get a head start. Employers know how the pandemic has affected numerous jobs, so be honest about why you’re applying for the specific position and how you expect to be compensated for your services.

Show them who you are: It’s important to be yourself around the interviewer. The urge to please may be strong, but remember that you’ll be doing this job and spending time with the same team for possibly a number of years. You’ll want to make sure that you’re going into a company where you fit in, just as you are. 

Setting up plan Bs and side hustles: While on the hunt for a new job, you can take up side hustles and other gigs to earn money. The internet is a rich enough resource for gig opportunities, such as writing and virtual assistance.

A job loss could very well be a personal gain. You can take this opportunity to explore and grow, both as a worker and more importantly, as a person.

Prepared by: Juliet Bedser

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