Have you asked yourself that question recently? This question became relevant to me very recently as some colleagues at my company experienced the dreaded layoffs.
As I spoke to them about their situation and their next steps, I began thinking about what I would do if I found myself in their shoes. Regardless of your financial situation, losing a job is definitely a crisis, an emergency situation.
I have been blessed and I have never experienced a job loss before. So this is primarily theoretical question but an important one. Consider it an emergency drill. This is how I think I would handle the loss of my job:
Acknowledge and Accept the Loss
- You may be a very good performer with great skills and a terrific service record for your company. It is still possible that you will get caught in the numbers game. In that sense, a job loss would not be your fault and you need to understand and remember that. In my case I would need to remember that I do have a lot to offer to prospective employers and clients.
- Losing a job is extremely personal. Most likely, one of the comments I would hear from management is something along the lines “it’s not personal, it’s business decision”. The only problem with that is sentiment is that losing a job affects your entire life so it is indeed very, very personal. I would probably spend some time dealing with a sense of loss and grief. But I don’t think I would dwell on it too long.
I would need to be able to fairly quickly acknowledge and accept the situation. Once that step is completed I would be ready to deal with what comes next.
Assess Financial Situation
- I would need to do a quick assessment to understand the following:
- Quickly prioritize the 4 walls of food, shelter/utilities, transportation and clothing for spending in our monthly budget.
- Determine which spending categories can be reduced or eliminated completely while we are dealing with the crisis.
- Determine how to cover medical expenses.
Because my wife and I have a much better handle on our money than when we first got married, this second step would be very manageable. I could easily map out how long we can manage our obligations while I look for that next job.
Having your finances under control today will enable you to deal with a crisis tomorrow.
Assume Responsibility for Next Steps
- Reach out to friends and family. In my case, I would let them know what happened, how we are doing, and I would ask for prayers for God’s wisdom, peace, and provision.
- Review and update my résumé as necessary. Thankfully, I have kept my résumé up to date since I first experienced an employment crisis back in the early 90s (I did not lose my job but my division got sold. Big wake-up call and lesson for a 26 year old). I also have a very up to date LinkedIn profile that I review on a regular basis.
- Reach out to former colleagues and/or clients. They can help identify potential employment leads. These people know me well and could speak on my behalf and keep an eye open for opportunities.
- Read/review materials on strategies for job hunting and interviewing. Over the past few years I have read some great resources such as “48 Days to the Work You Love”, “No More Mondays”, and “Quitter”. It would be time to review key lessons learned and to get my hands on similar material.
- Remain active. Not having something to do every day would be new to me and there is the danger that I could fall into too much relaxation. To fight that off:
- I would need to continue to exercise on a regular basis.
- Find more opportunities to serve others.
- Devote most of my time to the task of finding another job.
Even though losing a job represents an emergency, crisis situation it could lead to something better. But I would have to assume ownership and responsibility for what happens next.
What about you? What would you do in the case of a job loss?