The Value of Time Between One Job Ending and Your New Search Beginning
Blog spot by Ed Weirauch, Resume Writer
When we find out our employer is cutting back, restructuring, downsizing or just at the end of a project, experiencing a range of emotions is quite common. For some, a job ending might be a good thing, maybe another position awaits or we actually feel relief that our current gig is up. But for many of us, that ending can bring a host of negative emotions including fear of the future, resentment, negative surprise and bitterness.
Then our next thought is often “I gotta find a new job.”
But outplacement and career experts unanimously agree: Not so fast. The last thing you want to do is carry any of these negative emotions into your new job search. These emotions can surface in your words, body language and attitude and often you may not even be aware of it.
Losing your job often carries the same emotional and physical impact as a death in the family. And therefore, processing that loss and dealing with grief takes time. On a daily basis, your routine is changing. You’re no longer spending the majority of your day at that job. Maybe your social network is gone. Everything you took for granted may be falling into question. In this sense, the stages of grief we experience in response to a death can happen with a job loss as well.
At first we might deny it… maybe we think “I’ll find another opportunity within my company.” Or “the economy is picking up, I’ll find something quickly.”
Then we get mad… “After all my work/energy/dedication, etc., how could they let me go?” “Once I’m gone, they’ll realize how integral I’ve been.” Sound familiar?
For many people, this leads to depression. “If only I had done this, not said that, worked for a different manager, but now I’m up a creek.”
And finally acceptance. “OK, this is life, time to move on.” They’re all very real emotions and quite common for those of us experiencing job loss.
But that word time is key here. We need to make that time to process what we’re experiencing, to deal with the anger, frustration, bitterness or relief that comes with change. If we don’t allow ourselves that time, and our efforts to deal with or manage those emotions, they’ll continue to haunt us.
Think about the emotional weight of a job loss, the pressure of the weeks that may have led up to it. Picture it wearing you down because one way or the other, such a change weighs heavily. Now envision yourself carrying this weight into your networking meetings and job interviews. Inevitably you won’t present yourself as well as you’d should. Your body language and facial expressions can show low energy and your words may not be as positive as they could be. You’re carrying the past with you.
But these meetings represent your future. They are opportunities for you to easily cite accomplishments, contributions and ways that you’ll positively impact a new company. You need to be light and engaging rather than hung over from the weight of job-change stress. You need to be at your best.
So how much time should you take? More importantly, are you investing whatever time it takes to work through these issues. For some it may be a few weeks, maybe a month, others longer. No matter the time period, make time to:
- Work through this transition process.
- Think about the positives of your last job and your entire career, remind yourself of your wins, the ways you contribute and the rewards you have experienced.
- Sharpen your resume, your personal inventory, maybe your wardrobe.
- Concentrate on the future
Then take these thoughts into your next job search. Clean slate; out with the old and in with the new; fresh start… cliches all of them but when it comes to your career, these can be words to live by.