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Coping with Job Loss (You Are Not Your Title)

May 4, 2011
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Tonight on Fox News, I’ll be talking about how to cope with job loss. The past couple of years reflect an historically high level of job loss and unemployment. With any loss, there are stages of grief and recovery. The first stage of job loss involves managing your feelings.  Following a job loss, it’s normal to feel demoralized, rejected and even angry. Don’t angrily jump ahead to a job search, because that’s not going to help you or your search.

ADJUSTING:
1. To cope with loss of self-esteem, anger  or rejection…DEPERSONALIZE the job loss.  Fight the loser stigma. Remind yourself, you’re not alone in the boat, this has been an historically difficult economic time, and many competent, well-qualified people have lost their jobs.
2. Remember: You Are Not Your Title. You’re a human being, not just a human doing. We get so focused on achievements, from grade school on, that we forget to emphasize our signature personal strengths. What are the qualities you like about yourself, and what activities are your passion, are meaningful, or are enjoyable to you?  Turn those strengths into your “elevator pitch,” when looking for another job.  Are you a good team player? Are you a hard-worker, good at getting along with people, good at taking initiative?  What kinds of skills will translate into other jobs or even changing careers?
3. Involve your family and friends. Don’t shoulder it alone. Keep your friends and family in the loop. Let them know your plans. Reassure children, so they don’t imagine the worst. Make time for family fun.
4. Keep Healthy (and keep your spirits up). Get plenty of sleep. Exercise. Regular exercise reduces the risk of depression or lethagy. Practice relaxation and slow breathing when you feel stressed. Resist the comfort of junk food–it’s a feels good, bad for you temptation.
SEARCHING:
1. Develop a routine…Remember that looking for a job is a job.  It’s helpful to map out your day with a schedule for job search, personal breaks, and a schedule to stay connected.
2. Stay connected–don’t isolate yourself. Jobs convey crucial social connection in addition to their financial importance . Now that you’re not in day-to day-contact with fellow workers, stay connected.  Network with your co-workers, meet for lunch, meet on linkedin or other social media sites.  Visit job sites (monster.com, the public library, newspaper listings) to search the listing of job titles that didn’t exist 10 years ago. Your next job could be a job that’s new, since many jobs are no longer for life. Broaden your horizons. Write down your specific skills, then your general skills that could translate into another job or career.
3. Create a monthly newsletter about a topic you know well, and send it to potential employers. Putting your name in front of people repeatedly helps you stand out.  Put your linkedin.com links below your signature in emails.
4. If your next job is a lateral move or less money, don’t catastrophize–remind yourself–this is temporary. Nothing lasts forever–not even this economy.
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