“We’re letting you go.”

There is perhaps not a more depressing and frightening phrase.  Losing a job also means the loss of stability – financial and emotional.  Where will the money come from?  What will come of my career?  Doubts on your ability to succeed emerge.  Maybe you’re not good enough at what you do.  Maybe you were never good enough.  Self doubts eat away at you, zapping your ability to move on.

What will the future hold?

Photo by h.koppdelaney

Now there’s an interesting question.  On one hand, the future may look bleak.  No job, no certainty.  On the other hand, your slate’s just been wiped clean.  No job, no limits.  What you choose to do after losing a job is completely up to you.  You can:

  • Look for a similar job.  Keep going on the career path you’ve chosen because you love doing what you’ve been doing.  Why change a good thing?
  • Find a related job.  Maybe you liked what you were doing okay, but you’d like to expand.  Move horizontally into a slightly different position, or move up into management.  Now you have the experience to back it up, something you may not have had before.
  • Explore a new career.  Perhaps you’ve been kidding yourself for several years.  You hate your job.  You can’t remember the last time you wanted to get up and go to work.  Now’s your time to explore by looking at a new career, either by new training or trying a new entry level position.
  • Work on a skill set.  Have something personal you’ve always wanted to work on?  Has your photography equipment lay dormant due to the pressures of 9-to-5?  Losing your job is a good time to see if that old hobby of yours has any weight.  Devote yourself to it for a month or two before doing a new job search.
  • Create something new.   With a clean slate, you may suddenly feel the urge to pursue that great idea you’ve been sitting on for years.  Open your own consulting firm.  Find contract work.  Be your own boss.  The entrepreneurship path is certainly full of challenges, but can also pay off in big rewards.

Whatever you decide, remember: being laid off isn’t the worst thing in the world.  In fact, it can be one of the liberating moments of your career.  Take the time to explore the opportunity in no opportunity.

-Deborah Fike


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