You’ve lost your job, now what? | How to move on

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Post job-loss emotional cycle

Whatever your situation might be, firing, downsizing, job loss has a profound effect on an individual’s emotional well being.  The few days following a job loss might be filled with anger, frustration, denial and self-pity.  Typically, the end of this cycle is adaptation, where one accepts the situation and decides to deal with it.  Some of the stated emotions are inevitable; the trick is to make sure that these emotions do not get the best of you and the cycle from job-loss to adaptation lasts as short as possible.


No matter the situation surrounding your job loss, never blame yourself, questions your skills or give up on your ambitions.  A job-loss is merely a closed door and an opportunity to discover yourself and transition into a different job or career path.  For you to be able to deal with this transition successfully, you have to have closure and focus. Remember, as difficult as it might be to leave a job that you had relied on for your professional identity and financial income, think positively and worry only about the basics.

Taking Care of the Basics

A major issue most people must deal with is providing for themselves and their families. Finding out if one qualifies for unemployment compensation should be the first thing that is taken care of. The next thing is applying for this benefit. There are certain criteria that must be met. Your local Employment Service Center will be able to help you. The Web Site of the U.S. Department of Labor has information unemployment compensation in the United States. This includes links to the individual sites of many states.

Health Insurance
The next issue to deal with is health insurance. In the U.S. the majority of people who have health insurance are covered under a group plan through their employer. When a job is lost, that coverage is as well. That is why The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) was passed some time ago. This law allows those separated from their jobs to purchase health insurance at a group rate for a limited time.

Moving On

Once you have taken care of the basics, it is a wise idea to analyze your situation and figure out how you would like to proceed. Some of the questions you should ask yourself might include,

– Did I enjoy my job enough to look for a similar job?
– Why did I lose my job?
– Is the same thing likely to happen in a different company?
– How long can I survive without a job?
– Is that industry currently hiring?
– What about a career change?
– What about going back to school?
– How about starting your own business?
– What are my long term goals?


Rather than looking at a job loss as a horrible thing, it might be better to consider the positive implications of this situation. Take the time to make some changes — switch careers or industries, learn some new skills and improve upon the ones you already have, or perhaps consider relocating, starting your engineering company or an unrelated company. Look forward to your next opportunity. You never know what doors this turn of events may open for you.

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