Experiencing a job loss is one of the top 10 most stressful life events one can go through. The grief cycle must be experienced in order to move through this loss. There is a significant amount of information and studies about the five or seven stages of grief available. For this specific discussion, I will refer to the grief process the vast majority of my clients discuss as follows:
Not everyone goes through the grief process in the same way. Often people describe relief instead of anger, for example. Circumstances are unique for every person, and the cycle of grief is therefore also unique. It's important to remember that it is not a linear progression for most people. For example, you may be motivated until you receive a second notice for an unpaid bill, which can take you back to depression. Other days you may feel fearful only to jump to hope as you receive an invitation to a second interview.
One way we talk about moving through this process is by setting small, attainable goals for ourselves each day. If you are depressed this may look quite a bit different than if you are fully engaged in the acceptance stage.
My recommendation is to write down five daily, achievable goals. Keep it simple. Keep it to five items. For some in the initial phase of job loss, the list may begin by looking something like this:
1. Get up and get dressed
2. File for unemployment benefits
3. Eat lunch
4. Clean the bathroom
5. Make dinner
The value in making a list like this is setting and accomplishing goals each day. The more you succeed, the more you lift yourself out of anger/fear/depression and move toward acceptance and motivation.
As you move forward, your list may soon change to something like this:
1. Attend career-oriented workshop
2. Research three companies of interest
3. Craft two targeted resumes toward specific positions
4. Apply to both jobs
5. Update LinkedIn profile summary
The trick here, regardless of what stage you are in, is success. It's all about moving forward through the pain and loss toward a new phase of your life. A career transition requires resilience and commitment to yourself; each day is a bit different from the day before. Moving forward is the key.
Trust me when I say, one day soon your list will look like this:
1. Attend second interview on Wednesday
2. Conclude final research on salary and benefits
3. Accept position
4. Celebrate new job Friday night
5. Enjoy the weekend
Set yourself up for success. You deserve it.