The Chinese word for ‘crisis,’ which is written in pictures called ideograms, is a combination of the picture words for ‘danger’ and ‘opportunity.’ An unexpected layoff or termination can be seen as a crisis; but, within every crisis is an opportunity. Change can cause anxiety, fear, frustration, depression, sleepless nights, headaches and more. But it can also invite you to find the opportunity that exists within the change – the opportunity to grow into something greater and better than what you previously imagined possible. Following are a few steps you can take to help you through this period of uncertainty, to go beyond surviving to thriving in the world of work once again.
1. Expect Some Bad Feelings.
If you were laid off or terminated for any reason, it’s normal to have some bad feelings about the company, your previous co-workers and/or your current circumstances. Expect to have these feelings, and know that they are normal. Don’t try to wish them away or pretend you don’t have them. Experience them and at the same time remember that they won’t last forever. Talk about them to people you trust.
2. Take Time to Reassess.
Before you even begin your job search, take some time to reassess yourself and what’s really important to you. What are your favorite and ‘motivated’ skills? These are the skills that you thoroughly enjoy using even if you aren’t paid to use them. What tasks do you perform well, but hate to do? Don’t look for work that would use these skills just because you are good at them. You will soon find yourself in a very unhappy situation. By having a thorough understanding of yourself, you will be much better able to assess an ideal opportunity when it comes along.
3. Focus on your Strengths and Accomplishments.
To keep your confidence after having been laid off from a job, make a list of all your strengths. Get out all of the awards you have accumulated over the years, all of your letters of recommendation, and make a list of all of your accomplishments. Many of these accomplishments should go right at the top of your resume. Take some time to focus on your strengths and accomplishments. Soon you will be ready to tackle all of the steps required in your job search because you will remember what you are worth!
4. Visualize What You Want.
Begin to visualize the exact job you are looking for. You can visualize your office space, the kind of people you work for and with, the location of the office and how long your commute will be, the type of work you are doing and your compensation, just to name a few details. The more precise you visualize your next job, the better chance you have at obtaining exactly what you want. When you see things clearly, momentum tends to build to bring about your vision.
5. Exercise and Maintain a Proper Diet.
Research has shown that execise and a good diet has a direct impact on how you feel. Job search is a particularly stressful time, and regular aerobic exercise will greatly reduce your stress level as well as counteract any accompanying depression. They have a direct impact on your mental attitude. So start an exercise program that invigorates your body, such as biking, jogging, tennis or any other physical activity that you find enjoyable.
Eating healthy, balanced meals that include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables will also help to keep your mental outlook positive. Stay away from high-fat, high sodium, high sugar fast foods. They may provide some temporary satisfaction to the taste buds, but long-term, they will bring you down.
6. Choose Your Attitude.
No matter how many rejections you get, you can choose how you want to respond to each and every one of them. If you haven’t gotten an offer yet, it’s because you haven’t yet uncovered your best opportunity. Another way to help your attitude is to distinguish between what is a “real problem” such as a life-threatening illness and what is just an inconvenience. Remember that within a crisis there is also an opportunity. Allow yourself to dream and expand your possibilities. Here is a story to illustrate.
An elephant was tied to a pole by an 8-foot rope for a long period of time. Later the rope was removed; but, the elephant still stayed within 8 feet of the pole. He did not realize he had more room to roam. You now have more room to roam as well. Now that the rope is gone, where would you like to go? Take this time as an opportunity to find out what that is and create a plan to get there.