Losing your job: could this be the best moment of your life?

By Paula Meir, Author of Your Life, Your Way: A Practical Guide To Getting Your S**t Together

I know this isn’t the first thought that goes into someone’s mind when you are being shown the door. It can happen for a multiplicity of reasons and it might not feel fair or justified. However, there is hope around the corner.

You may be thrown onto a seemingly endless emotional rollercoaster with little or no light at the end….

Shock. Denial. Anger. Upset. Disappointment. Worry. Anxiety. Anger. Sadness. Disbelief.  

All of these emotions are usually followed by a future gazing narrative which often goes: “If I lose my job how are we going to pay the mortgage? What will people think? I’m going to struggle to get a job that pays as well as this. This is awful. I just don’t know what is going to happen.”

This is an entirely understandable and very human reaction.

Quite often loss of a job removes the control from the individual and threatens some of those elements on which we ostensibly rely on for survival, the sub-text of any negative story for a loss of a job runs something like this: “If I haven’t got a job, I haven’t got money, if I haven’t got money, how do I buy food and shelter.”

You losing your job is not necessarily an indicator or a sign of how good or not you are at your job. Fit, opportunity, relationships and culture play a large part in the mechanics of being successful. If it is performance based however don’t dismiss it out of hand, take the grain of truth and positively address it to ensure it doesn’t happen again next time. It might also just be time to move on but you haven’t noticed, or you have become stuck in a job that doesn’t make you happy and therefore not very productive or fulfilled. For one reason or another you haven’t done anything about it, you have sat there, frequently complained but not been motivated or perhaps too fearful to move into action.

Now is the time for you to change the story and turn this large negative into a HUGE positive.

A loss of a job can be your gift – if you allow it to be, your jet pack that gets you off the chair and out into the world, a world outside your current job and current company does exist and it is FULL of opportunity.

This is where you take control, there is nothing you can do to change the outcome of losing your job, but you can take control of what you do now, how it will impact you and whether you turn this into the most traumatic, negative event ever suffered with no hope on the other side OR you turn it into the best opportunity you have ever had to be happy.

What if you could be in a job that you loved? What if you could change career, transfer your skills and experience to a different sector or a different job? What if you could now do whatever it is that you have always wanted to do but never had the balls to do it…….

What if?…… I welcome you to ‘what if’, be grateful you have had the experience of even getting to a ‘what if’ crossroads.

Many don’t and they can stay stuck for years. You have an opportunity not to be one of those people.

You have a choice in how you react to your situation, which means that only you can decide on a different outcome. I promise you, it might not feel like it, but losing your job really could be the best thing that ever happened to you!

  1. It’s normal to go through the emotional rollercoaster of emotions, go with them, get annoyed and angry and then use that energy to flip the situation into moving forward. Feel the emotions (give yourself time limits if needed) but move forward.
  2. Get clear about what you might do instead. Make a list of your skills and experiences, how could these be transferred to another type of job, or sector, think big or think small but however you think, think ‘creatively’ put nothing off the table.
  3. Who do you know in your network that might be able to give advice, or support you, or refer you, don’t be shy on reaching out. Who could help you putting a c.v. together? Most people want to help people most of the time.
  4. What kind of life do you want to live and what ‘type’ of job would help you live it?, if you can’t realise your full dream or plan now, what gets you one step further along your timeline?
  5. Be careful spinning your negative story, sometimes friends and family can make the situation or the emotional impact on you worse (without intention) constantly trying to work out the whys and wherefores are not going to help you move on to a positive place.
  6. Don’t burn your bridges, whilst I know your company or boss might not be popular with you right now it’s a small world and people move on, people remember people, make sure it’s for the right reasons. Be the bigger person.
  7. Don’t look back, ruminate, or go over and over the situation wondering how things could have been different, they aren’t and that’s it. Over. Do not waste your energy.
  8. If your self-esteem or confidence has taken a hit remind yourself of all the things that have contributed to your success so far, there will be many. Add in your skills, your achievements and experience, you will remind and surprise yourself in equal measure.
  9. Put the whole experience into context, many people end up in your position, many people change jobs all the time. Will it be different, yes? Do people fear change, yes? All of this is normal and it’s going to be fine.
  10. In 12 months’ time look back on this episode of your life and ask yourself the question, ‘Was this the best thing that happened to me’? 9 times out of 10 the answer will be yes!