10 Actions to Take if You’ve Lost Your Job
10 Actions to Take if You’ve Lost Your Job
Many peoples’ lives have changed dramatically in the UK due to COVID-19. Most have suddenly had to stay at home and/or work from home, with the added challenge of being surrounded by children. Much worse, thousands of employees have been made redundant with no warning, and many freelancers have had most, if not all, of their projects postponed or cancelled indefinitely. I’ve been receiving calls from individuals, who have been made redundant, whose interviews have been postponed, or job offers put on hold.
For 16 years I have supported many different clients and individuals through a range of Mergers, Acquisitions, Joint Ventures, Restructures and office/factory closures, either face to face or via video conference. Whilst providing Career and Transition Coaching and Executive Business Coaching and Mentoring, I am used to listening intently to clients’ key issues and concerns and genuinely empathizing with them. I then start to discuss how they can address many of the problems and what actions they can take to try to turn a negative situation in to a positive, even when it may seem completely impossible. The most rewarding part of my role is seeing clients, who have been made redundant or suddenly have been asked to take early retirement, realizing that they still have a choice to take control of their own destiny, adapt and plan some positive steps. Keeping in contact with them through colleagues or social media has enabled me to see how they have blossomed in new careers and even started completely different and happier lives.
In order to gain some of my qualifications, I worked with individuals as case studies, who were ex-military and looking to transition in to the corporate world. So, when I set up Natural Talent, I decided to always provide around 25% of my Career and Transition Coaching and Resilience Coaching work pro bono and confidentially to those in the military, who were retiring and looking for new careers in industry; I extended this to sportsmen, who were struggling with injury or the prospect of retiring and needed to find a new career. In the current crisis, I’ve expanded this complimentary offer to any key workers over 12 hours a day for 6 days a week.
Of course, today’s scenario is very different to what has ever come before, but for those who can get through the next few months, there will come a time when people ask ‘so what did you do during the Covid-19 lockdown?’
So, here are 10 Actions to Take if you have lost your Job:
1. Revisit your Life Plan
Losing your job can seem like the end of the world and you may feel like you need to wave goodbye to all your hopes and dreams for the future, but it is important to revisit your personal vision and goals, then adapt them accordingly. The most pressing concern is obviously your financial situation, so obtain sound financial advice to find out what payment plans are available to lessen the impact of redundancy, switch energy/phone suppliers to the cheapest, and don’t forget to cancel non-essential subscriptions. The government has announced an array of financial support, so identify which one you may be eligible for.
2. Identify where you are on the Change Curve
If you’re not familiar with the Change Curve, this is a good time to Google it. The Change Curve is like a U-bend in plumbing! However, it’s important to note that when you come back up the right-hand side, you’re often in a much better place than when you started out, which may be very hard to imagine right now. Talking clients through the Change Curve helps to explain why we feel such a mix of emotions when a major change, key life event, or set-back happens in our lives, such as redundancy and bereavement. Firstly, we may go in to denial (much of the UK for the past 4 weeks, when many areas of Northern Italy were already in lockdown). Then, when reality dawns, we tend to go in to shock and feel confused, as we realize our lives will never be the same again. We then may start to resist what is happening, before starting to feel angry and then blaming whoever we feel is responsible. Then we may start to become defensive before we feel anxious, scared and frustrated. It helps to know that all these are normal reactions.
3. Be prepared to Adapt:
Everyone is different and those, who are used to adapting to Change and have experienced major set-backs in their lives, are usually quite resilient and able to travel along the Change Curve and experience and understand these range of emotions fairly swiftly. That’s not to say their emotions may fluctuate and they may move backwards along the Curve at given times when there are additional set-backs. However, they may be able to reach the next stage of being able to accept the Change, start problem-solving and making decisions, before committing enthusiastically to making new plans and adapting. We’ve already seen factories starting to plan a change in production to produce ventilators and hand sanitizers, pubs providing takeaways, and office workers holding online meetings. As Charles Darwin said: ‘It is not the strongest of the species that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.’
Of course there is unprecedented major uncertainty and change at the moment and there will be for the foreseeable future, but practice counter-acting any negative thoughts, such as ‘I’ll never be able to do the same job again’ with more realistic and positive statements: ‘I have a lot of transferable skills, which I can adaptto another sector.’ Write a list of SMART goals to move you to the acceptance, problem-solving and decision-making stage of the Change Curve.
Your attitude is key during times of uncertainty, pressure and Change. When I’ve dealt with large volumes of workers facing redundancy, it was always those, who managed to accept the changes, adapt and take action the quickest, who went on to better careers or improved lives. Those who succumb to too much fear or who resist what is happening can often end up out of work and unhappy for longer.
We all know about the Fight, Flight, or Freeze response to danger. It is key to recognize that you may feel like ‘fighting’ your employer/the government or anyone you feel is responsible for your current situation; alternatively, you may feel like running away (almost impossible in the current pandemic) or giving in to inertia. It’s important to keep a routine, eat well and exercise if you can and channel the anger, frustration and anxiety in to making positive changes and actions.
7. Sell Yourself
Write down all your Skills and Accomplishments and work out who may be looking for your transferable skills in the short, medium and long-term. Some companies will thrive over the coming months and will be looking for transferable and soft skills. So, update your CV and Linkedin profile and start to contact your network now, in order to be in their minds when the situation finally improves and new opportunities arise.
Now is the time to sign up to the many online courses to get the qualification you’ve been meaning to get but didn’t have the time!
9. Apply for the diverse Jobs available
Jobs are still being advertised and firms will start employing again once the pandemic is over and companies need more workers again, so it will be good to have some experience to refer to, even if it’s volunteering to help the NHS or your local community. A wide range of office workers are being employed by the main supermarkets within hours of applying, the same for delivery drivers. And due to the lack of workers from the EU, farmers are also crying out for people to pick fruit and vegetables this Summer, if you’re fit and able.
10. Be Ready!
Undeniably, it is going to be very tough; it was challenging post the Lehman Brothers crash and economic recession in 2008, but many individuals and businesses survived by diversifying and of course some sectors will become very successful during the current crisis. However, at the end, when the situation finally improves, many organizations will be looking to recruit the best talent so it’s important to be ready.