Written by Dave Cullen
Dealing with job loss is an extremely difficult and often stressful time. The process of finding new employment can be a full-time job in itself. During this period you must learn to overcome many emotional and psychological challenges such as anxiety caused by loss of income, the absence of your work colleagues and a change of routine. Your mind will likely be preoccupied with questions about how you will cope and manage financially. All of these concerns can cause your mood and confidence to diminish and your motivation to wane.
However, during the process of your job search it is vitally important to maintain a positive attitude. An optimistic outlook will help to boost your confidence and in turn, ensure that you can more effectively sell your skills and personality to prospective employers.
Career transition is a significant moment in a person’s life and they usually go through what is called ‘The transition cycle.’ This cycle is comprised of the following four stages:
One of the most common responses to being made unemployed is denial, which is a psychological means by which we defend against change. It is an attempt to preserve past glories by ignoring the indications that the past is now over.
Some of the key ways to get past the Denial phase are:
- Learn why the change is taking place
- Separate the reality of the situation from what you wish was true
- Talk with colleagues about how they are handling the change
A natural human reaction to change is resistance. It is normal to want to hold on to what is familiar. When people exhibit resistance towards change it is because they fear that their feelings will not be validated, or perhaps their identity is being undermined in some way.
Some of the key ways to get past the Resistance phase are:
- Accept that resistance is a natural way to respond to such radical change
- Give yourself time to acknowledge and process your feelings of resistance
- Rather than blaming others for the change, instead try to understand why the change is happening
- Talk to other people who have undergone similar experiences and what solutions they came up with
This third stage marks a pivotal period because it means you have begun to emerge from the low point of the transition cycle. At this time it is crucial that you focus on deciding upon a vision for your future and a decisive course of action. Your renewed energy and ambition should be channelled into learning and experimenting with new job seeking strategies.
Some of the key ways to get past the Exploration phase are:
- Create a clear job search plan
- Identify the key areas for personal and professional growth to help you achieve your goals
- Consider up skilling as a means of improving your employment prospects
- Discuss your thoughts and ideas with other people and consider their feedback
- Explore as many new ideas as you can before you decide upon a final plan of action
Reaching the final stage means you have learned to operative in an effective manner within your new situation. The commitment stage is also a time of careful reflection on what you have achieved and learned. Take a moment to appreciate what you have done and how far you have come. You can now look forward to the future with optimism.