Give self-pity the sack if you lose your job
A BLACK hole and a rocking chair: What do these things have to do with confidence - or the lack of it - after a person has been outplaced?
The black hole is the huge chasm of uncertainty you face when you suddenly find yourself without a job while you have a family to support. The proverbial salt in the wound is receiving a minimum payout after dozens of years of service. Your confidence is shaken.
You lose a sense of your daily routine, professional identity and job security. The uncertainty may well lead to indecision, inertia and worry.
That is like a rocking chair: It gives you something to do - rock back and forth - but gets you nowhere.
If you are fortunate enough to have an outplacement consultant that your company has hired to guide you through the rocky patch and place you into the next job, learn all you can from the professional.
For others, use these steps to take control of the situation and uplift your spirits.
ADD STRUCTURE TO YOUR DAY
You may feel compelled to sit at your computer all day trying to find new employment opportunities.
Or you may be tempted to sleep late, trying to catch up on the hours of rest that you missed while you were employed. Neither is good for you.
It is often better to find a happy medium and you can do so by adding structure to your life. For starters, wake up at a time that you would if you were going to work, though trying to give yourself more adequate sleep.
Rather than stay in your pyjamas, shower and get dressed. It will make you feel more purposeful if you prepare yourself for a professional day.
RE-ASSESS YOUR LIFE
Immediately after a job loss is the perfect time to re-assess your life. Evaluate your last job: What were the aspects you liked and disliked.
Assess if it is time to make a change.
If the answer is yes, consider where you want to go next in your career.
Is entrepreneurship an option?
Given your years of experience, consider providing consulting services.
Let your network of contacts know that you are available to work on projects until you find a new job.
Create a life map of where you would like to be in three to five years.
GROW YOUR NETWORK
Do it one person at a time. Given the job cuts that have been happening amid the sagging economy, there is likely a growing number of empathetic people out there who know how to help.
If you feel as if face-to-face meetings are too much for you at this time, start the networking process online.
Build your pool of contacts on LinkedIn and Twitter. As your spirits improve, begin to meet with some of your old and new connections.
Either way, start to get the word out.
People cannot help you find a new job if they do not know that you are looking for one.
PRACTISE EMOTIONAL RESILIENCE
The job search process often takes longer than expected and it is easy to become discouraged.
Practise what American author and motivational speaker Jack Canfield calls the Rule of Five: Research five companies or apply for five jobs each day.
Or, connect with five people online or schedule five face-to-face meetings.
With this set of expectations in place, you can establish a sense of accomplishment in spite of not coming to the finish line.
START A JOB CLUB OR JOIN ONE
Create or sign up with an existing job club to interact with other professionals who are in the same boat.
Meet once a week to share ideas and act as peer mentors to each other.
Meet at a cafe, public library or community club, which has free use of lounge, for instance.
You may find new employment opportunities by speaking with people.
If not, just meeting up lets you engage in a purposeful activity. Register at free portals such as JobsBank.
You will be asking for a lot of favours and help during the adjustment phase.
It will help you to know that you are also doing what you can to give back.
Find ways to pay it forward: Send people in the industry the link to an interesting article that came up during your research. Drive your elderly neighbour to the grocery.
Is there a skill that you would like to acquire or develop? Volunteer in a role that allows you to do that.
Volunteer your time which will give you access to others. Perhaps, volunteer to work at the sign-in table at a local professional association meeting.
Close every communication with: "Now, what can I do for you?"
This article was contributed by Right Management, which provides career guidance, and recruitment company ManpowerGroup Singapore.