What To Do If You Lost Your Job

If you are reading this post and did lose your job recently, let me say: “Sorry about your loss.”

It is a loss; you invested 40 hours a week plus your commute and for however long it was. To a certain extent, you might see your coworkers more than you see your family. Thus, losing a job should be treated as a loss of a relationship.

Sadly, that just happened to me again. Two days ago, my boss called me into the office and said that because the next higher level business unit was “restructuring” and let go 10 people, including me as a contractor. They canceled the contract with the staffing agency I was working for.

Ever since November 2020, I have changed jobs three times. During each transition, job search sites like Glassdoor and Indeed often provide advice on resumes and interview skills. There is good, common sense advice: “Don’t show up late.” “Don’t bad-mouth your old job.” “Do your homework in researching the company and even the interviewers.” “Come up with good questions to ask the interviewers; you are interviewing them because you will be working with them.”

However, I have yet to see any good advice what to do between jobs. I mean, nothing beyond the basics and vague advice: “Keep looking, don’t give up.” In the twenty plus years since I graduated from college, only one person gave good advice – and he wasn’t even a career counselor!

What was this great advice? Journaling.

I don’t know if you keep a personal journal to process your emotions and thoughts, but I would encourage people to keep a professional journal. A professional journal is dedicated to process your work issues. It is more than just complaining; it is a place to process your job performance and career choices. Moreover, I use mine to process what I learned about myself.

So what should you write about when you lose your job? Here are some questions to get you started:

What did I like about the job I just left?

  1. Aligns with my values
  2. Reasonable/ short/ no commute
  3. I love the work
  4. My coworkers were great/ boss was supportive
  5. Good work-life balance
  6. Pay was good
  7. Defined roles & responsibilities
  8. Career path defined?

This question and answers ultimately refine the list of the companies I am looking for.

What do I hate about the job I just left?

  1. Does not align with my values
  2. Long commute
  3. I hate the work; it is either too hard or too easy.
  4. My coworkers are toxic; my boss either took credit for my work or blamed me unfairly
  5. Pay was too low
  6. No defined roles (this is a mixed blessing – you could write your own ticket and succeed)
  7. No chances of promotion
  8. Company culture (without sounding too racist, I have worked in companies where I am the only one of one ethnicity/culture and everyone else was another)

This question and answers ultimately refine the list of the companies I am not looking for.

What if I lost my job for performance reasons?

This is perhaps the hardest question to process. On the one hand, you might find yourself very defensive. You might think that it was unfair or that you did nothing wrong. That’s natural. On the other hand, your personality type is one where you accept responsibility for everything and more. Regardless, this is where I think we can learn the most about ourselves. Here are some questions to consider:

  1. Do I have any behaviors that negatively affect my job performance?
  2. Were there any personal issues that affect my job performance?
  3. Do I take responsibility for my failures instead of blaming others?
  4. Were the employers truly justified in your performance reviews?
  5. Was there a personality clash? If so, how can I get along better with others?

Again, it could it be entirely true that you were faultless and that your boss just didn’t like you. You got fired because you didn’t play his or her games. You were fired because you refused to bow down to the Woke monster.

Whether you left your job on good terms or lost it because of corporate restructuring or even performance, there is one last question to consider: “What good habits/systems have I learned and want to carry over to my next job?”

The corollary is “What bad habits do I not want to carry over to my next job?”

Ultimately, the more self-aware we are, the more honest we are, the more likely we will succeed in the next job. This is not an overnight process; it takes hard work to change how we respond and to learn how to take responsibility.


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