I recently loss my job of 20 years. I currently feel so defeated and demotivated. I spent so many years establishing my career that I do not know what to do now that it is over.
Can you please help?
Dear Nervous Ralph,
This is a situation that we at AFETT are hearing quite often of late.
You get to the office, super charged to start a new day, full of promise and positivity. Then, you get a call to come into the boss’ office and before you know it, you have been thrown into a tailspin; hearing that either immediately or imminently, you are going to be out of a job. “Who’s playing this trick on me?” “What have I done?” “I have bills, children, expenses… how am I going to survive?” “I just bought a new car!”
These thoughts and so many others flood your mind like a hurricane the weatherman forgot to warn you about. All the uncertainties come to life all at once. Even after you have received the paperwork and heard the standard rhetoric from management telling you how valuable you were to the company and how sorry they are that this earth-shattering decision had to be made; sometimes it’s hard to recover from the news and move forward.
Unfortunately, this is the current climate for Trinidad and Tobago with many companies – both in the private and public sector – with countless jobs and households being impacted. It then begs the question… what’s next? How does one move forward?
Take a break
Yes, you read right. While you want to keep your brain active and get back into the working world in record time, sometimes we only realise how tired we are when the wheels stop turning. We did not realise how our productivity took a nose-dive and we lost a bit of that spark. The period in between jobs is a perfect time to declutter the mind, body and soul. Seek out effective ways to relax that are also easy on the pocket. A quick online search can lead you to your favourite exercise or yoga website. Right there in the comfort of your home, you can get back into or start your fitness goals. Take a step back from the daily tasks and carve out some “me time”.
To be of service to others is the greatest privilege. Sometimes the best way to cope and heal from our own life situations, is to assist others. It allows an opportunity to understand what others are experiencing, and to help and also share with those who are in a similar situation. Check out the community centre in your area to find out how you can help, be a mentor to young children and/or adults who can benefit from what you have already experienced in life, both personally and professionally. Doing this and similar activities leaves you feeling fulfilled, knowing that you have contributed to something worthwhile.
It’s bucket list time!
Remember that Spanish and French class you wanted to take? That friend you wanted to go on a weekend vacation with? The backyard camping adventure you promised the children? How about getting back to completing that man cave (though now on a budget)? Well, now is the time! While you are mindful of your spending, there is so much that you can do now that you have time on your side. Finish those books you threw in a corner. Take that trip and start crossing off activities on that list.
How about you start today.
Do I want the same career?
Ever realised how much clarity you find when you have the time to stop and reflect? You may have been in one field of work for some time. While you are in-between jobs, take the time to ask yourself some hard-hitting, but possibly life changing questions. Do you want to focus more on your “side job”? Do you want to pursue that other passion you’ve always had? We are now in the era of entrepreneurship. Let your creativity and thoughts flourish; allow the ideas to manifest and explore wherever they may lead. Who knows, you could be the latest innovator or creative genius the world was waiting for.
Remember, you are not your circumstances.
“The tests we face in life's journey are not to reveal our weaknesses but to help us discover our inner strengths. We can only know how strong we are when we strive and thrive beyond the challenges we face.” Kemi Sogunle
You may have lost what to you was your “dream job” and now you think that it must have been because of something you did wrong. Guess what? If you succeeded at this job, then you can succeed at another. Remember, you still have your qualifications and experience. The best part is that there is no other person that has your unique combination of knowledge, skills and personal life experiences. All is not lost; you have a lot more to offer the world and many more memorable moments to create.
How do I get another job?
We now live in the information age with a wealth of information at our finger tips. One can find reputable recruitment agencies on all the major social media platforms, with up to date job postings. Stay in touch with these agencies regularly so that you show interest and are a preferred candidate when opportunities arise in your field of work. Businesses on LinkedIn conduct searches for suitable candidates and invite persons to apply for positions that appear to be a possible job fit. Job vacancies can also be found in the daily newspapers and directly from the online profile of companies that are recruiting. Always ensure that your Curriculum Vitae is updated so that you are able to respond to applications at a moment’s notice. Let people in your network know that you are seeking employment, so that they too can be on the lookout and inform you of vacancies. Get going. Follow and like those pages, call, email, connect, stay informed.
Maintain a positive outlook
Much easier said than done, right? Your mind is going a mile a minute trying to figure out what lies ahead. While this is perfectly normal, staying positive and speaking good things into existence is more powerful than one can imagine. This can come in the form of reading that uplifting quote every day; listening to that song that reminds that you are unstoppable, that you survived hardship before, and you can do it again. Or maybe, it’s that one friend that you can call when you need a pick-me-up. It may sound clichéd, but “You can do it!” Do what works for you and always remember, positive vibes only.
The truth is, depending on one’s circumstances, it is much easier for some than for others to get going again. There is no one-size-fits all solution. Whether we choose to admit it or not and no matter how prepared we may be, according to Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, “Nothing is so painful to the human mind as a great and sudden change”.
Hearing “the only constant in life is change” never quite does the trick to console or dampen the effects. Having experienced this myself, know this: you are stronger than you realise. Have that moment to let the emotions out, to feel overwhelmed or sad or angry. But, remember that it is only a moment and that great things are on the horizon. Situations such as the loss of a job serve only to remind you of this strength. This is only but a single chapter of a book that will be filled with much more colourful, inspiring, life-changing, empowering and growth-filled moments.
Make the best of it.
AFETT is a not-for-profit organisation formed in 2002 with the goal of bringing together professional women and engaging in networking opportunities, professional training and business ideas. ASK AFETT is a column meant to address issues and concerns of professionals seeking advice to assist in progressing in their careers. Today's response was written by AFETT member Regina King, human resources specialist and owner of King’s Specialty Ltd. Learn more about AFETT at www.afett.com, search for AFETT Events on Facebook, follow us @AFETTEXECS on Twitter or contact us at 343-2160. Email us your career-related questions at email@example.com.
The views and opinions expressed are those of the authors, meant strictly as advice and guidance, based upon their experience and expertise. In no way are they meant to be legally binding upon AFETT and or its members, servants nor agents.