There’s nothing quite like losing your job.
In the pandemic, I moved countries and in the first two weeks in living in my new country, where I couldn’t speak the language, I lost my job.
I had no network and couldn’t even speak the language. And it was October 2020 so we were still in the midst of the pandemic.
I felt like the whole universe had opened its hands and was letting me freefall through space and time with no place to land.
Feel the feels
Maybe you were made redundant because the company was closing. Or maybe you worked your butt off but the results just weren’t there. Or you plain and simple didn’t deliver on what you’d promised or on what was expected.
In my case, the company was under financial pressure and within the 2 weeks of moving countries, I had made a number of errors. If I look back the stress of moving was more than I imagined it would be.
In the end, they let me go.
I was angry. I was hurt. I felt rejected. I felt abandoned and that I didn’t deserve what had happened. I was distraught.
Always a star player, I’d never been fired before. Never.
It was devastating.
New country. No work. Pandemic. And no language skills to navigate the situation.
Many a night I cried myself to sleep.
When you lose your job, there may be a variety of emotions that come up. Including relief! So you’ve got to give yourself a little time and space for those to surface.
Decide on your plan
What you need now is a plan. If you’re in the fortunate position of not needing a job immediately, it may be worth taking some time out to think about what it is that you want and are looking for.
Maybe you want to go into entrepreneurship.
Maybe it’s time to turn your art into profit, as in the case of my dear friend Jasmine who scaled down to quit her job and turn her art into her work. By the way I definitely suggest checking her out on Insta!
And definitely listen to our podcast chat together.
If you’re going back to work, make looking for a new role your full-time role.
When I was out of work I made it my mission to craft the best-ever CV and cover letter. Then I set up signing myself for free courses which would enhance my value. And then I tackled it like a sales hit list.
I had to apply for at least 5 roles every weekday. I kept a spreadsheet of where I was in the process with each company.
You can download your own copy here.
My rule was “Lisa, you stop either when you get a role, or when you die, whichever comes first”.
I think I got that attitude from my grandmother but it really saved my ass.
What to do when the plan isn’t working
Let me tell you something ahead of time which you probably don’t want to hear. The plan you have probably isn’t going to work out as you expect.
It may take more time. It may take stepping into a different position first. It may take a professional pivot.
Or you may end up working at a ski resort or waiting tables just to pay the bills. You know what? Who cares.
Humility is ALWAYS a good thing. It shows us parts of ourselves that we otherwise avoid.
Insert post of how many jobs I’ve done.
You will have bad days
I’ll never forget when my good friend Jaco (names have been changed) told me that he felt sorry for me because he’s never ever had to apply for a job.
His skillset is so niche that ever since he left university, he gets a few calls a month offering him new work.
Well c’est la vie.
I do believe we all have our challenges sometimes not in the same areas as others. Work, health, relationships, family, money… we all get something at sometime.
There were days such as that day when Jaco told me he felt sorry for me that the darkness seemed unending.
I don’t know how my best friends put up with me because I just used to cry and cry.
I cried a lot.
But you know what I gave myself 20 minutes each day to cry as much as I wanted. For the rest, I set myself the task of exercising and spending time on my studies and looking for work.
And eventually, after months and months, it passed.
9 tips on beginning again
1. Take the time to polish
Is it time to polish up your skills? Time to polish up your portfolio, CV and cover letter? Time to invest in taking a course?
As tough as it is you’ve got to shine every day. Set a morning routine. Wake up to workout and then dress like you mean it. It can be tough in freezing cold winter but DO NOT stay in your jarmies all day.
Lost your job? It sucks but whilst you may not feel like it, this is the time to polish, not shrink.
2. Deal with your finances
Unfortunately on planet Earth, we deal in money. So no one is going to feel sorry for you if you don’t have cash and feed you, well apart from your family of course.
Look at what you need to do to consolidate. In my worst time, I had to move out of my apartment and in with my mother. Thanks, mom for taking care of me!
It was tough for both of us but it definitely eased my financial pressure and meant I didn’t have to accept a job offer in London, which I really didn’t want.
3. Be open to new possibilities
If your particular industry is suffering from contraction then it’s time to be open to new possibilities.
Forget about the job title. List your skills and think about what different types of scenarios you could apply them to. Then go and apply for a variety of roles. You never know what might happen!
Research. Read blogs. Google my friend, is your friend.
Google things to give your inspiration.
Google new role possibilities
Google positions in different cities
Google remote work opportunities
You never know what new exciting things are destined for your path.
4. Go through the doors that open
My wise friend Nic (by the way you should TOTALLY follow him on LinkedIn) always said “Go through the doors that open”.
Sometimes you can keep trying to beat down a door and it doesn’t open but another one does. Go through it!
When my friend Stef didn’t have work, he signed up to do TV commercials and made enough to keep the boat afloat just through that! And besides, it was alot of fun!
5. Get support
If you’re under financial pressure, this is a shit time in your life. And I’m truly sorry. I really am. I know how tough it is.
You need support in various forms. If you can’t afford therapy, sign up for the infinitely many free courses online, like those offered by MindValley.
Do one thing every day that makes you feel supported, even if it is lying on the grass and feeling the sun on your skin.
6. Take one step at a time
Don’t think on the macro level. How will I pay school fees next year? How will I retire? How…
Bring it right back down to now, To today. And take one step at a time.
What are we doing now? We’re drinking a cup of coffee and breathing.
Then we are going to settle down to work hunting between 9am and 12pm. After that, I don’t know.
Don’t think too much in the future because it can feel overwhelming.
Just ONE step at a time.
7. Know that one day this will make sense
One day this is all going to make sense. You’re going to look back and see that. You can’t right now and that’s ok.
But think of it as if you were starring in your very own movie. The protagonist, in keeping with the heroes journey, has encountered a major challenge. What will he/she do to counteract the challenge?
8. Remember joy still exists
Whilst it may not feel like it, joy still exists. Watch a movie, spend 15 minutes watching reels of your favourite comedian, and get out into nature.
I remember that when I was going through my challenges, a dear friend of mine was going through cancer. We both used to laugh and cry on the phone together.
She’s no longer here but those are moments I will treasure forever. I would not necessarily have had the time to chat to her or to write my novel if I had been working at that point in time.
9. Think about what to put in place for the future
At some point in time you’re going to be in a new space; a new business or even your own business.
What are you going to put in place so that things are different for the future?
This is about taking the past and learning the lessons. Maybe you start investing so that if this ever happens again, you have savings. Maybe you strike more of a work-life balance for the future so that you all of your self-worth isn’t only wrapped up into work.
Don’t force yourself to think of the lesson. Simply start a journal and let yourself jot down your thoughts until they make sense. And they will make sense.
How to regain your confidence
So you’re getting up every day. You’re working out. You’re going your hustle. Well done! It’s very easy to feel depressed and just give up after losing your job.
So you’re taking the steps forward and you’re showing up but still, your confidence is at an all-time low. How on earth can you regain your confidence when the doors just aren’t opening?
If you’re showing up then there’s no more you have to do. BE PROUD of the fact that you’re showing up every day.
I usually say a prayer and surrender things to the universe.
Que sera, sera.
It’s not all in your hands. So the more you attribute the state of your current affairs to your failure, the worse it’s going to be. Life has a way of knowing, even when we don’t.
Regain confidence by
- Seeing how you’re dealing with the situation.
- Listing the achievements of your life.
- Listing what you’re most proud of yourself for in terms of characteristics
It’s easy to feel like work is the sum value of you as a human but that just isn’t true. There are so many dimensions to us as humans outside of just work. So maybe it’s time to focus on yourself more than just the monetary value.
Don’t believe all the lies your mind tells you every day.
Have a bad day? That’s ok.
Wake up each day and begin again. Go back to the beginning of this blog and repeat the steps.
You will see. This too shall pass.