The Pink Slip Slump
Joseph says that being aware of the emotions and working through them is crucial. “I used to be a headhunter,” she says. “When a person would come to me on an interview and would have some kind of stress, anger or other negative attitude or emotional distress, that’s cause for not referring them to an employer because they’d never get the job.”
Those emotions can be especially difficult to deal with when stable work becomes elusive. David Watson* of Marlborough, MA, went through seven jobs in the last 10 years and experienced those emotions after each job loss. “You start with a numbness, not knowing how to interpret it yet,” he says. “There’s a sadness, a bewilderment and a sense of disbelief.” David also suffered lower self-esteem and symptoms of depression as a result of his situation.
David found solace in sharing his story with others. “It’s very important to tell people about it and not hold the emotions inside,” he says. “When you start doing that, your self-esteem starts to heal.”
Though you want to get back to work as soon as possible, perhaps the most common mistake people make during the first 30 days after a job loss is starting to look for a new job too soon, explains career coach Patti Wilson, owner of CareerCompany.com. “People naturally call up their friends and say, ‘I’ve been laid off,’ and they go crazy putting their résumés together,” she says. “But they’re unprepared to do a job search.” Wilson suggests people take a few days off to gain perspective and then prepare to do an effective job search.
In addition to having a devastating personal impact, Wilson says it’s important to recognize that a job loss affects the entire family. “Children look at it this way: In a child’s mind, it’s ‘We’ve been laid off. We don’t have a job,’ ” she explains. “Get therapy, see your pastor or get other counseling for you and your family.”
All Fired Up
Though your job loss may seem like a cataclysmic event, the first 30 days can be a tremendous time of introspection and a chance to examine what direction you want to take in life. “This is an opportunity to learn from what you’ve done,” Joseph recommends. “Here’s a chance to look at where your skills and passions are and reflect on your mistakes. Ask yourself, ‘What would I want to do for the next five years that would be fun and let me use my skills, and what do I need to get there?’”
Lynnette reassessed her life and was determined to make her job loss a positive change. “In very short order, I experienced a mental revival and knew I had to bounce back,” she says. She decided she never again wanted to be subjected to the whims of corporate America. Luckily, Lynnette was able to pour her energy into finishing her first book after her layoff. She immersed herself into researching how she could get published, learning all she could about what it takes to print, package and sell a book.