By Brenda L. Peterson, The Layoff Lady
Rejection and Negative Emotions
Being jobless post-layoff and searching for a new role is a rough process riddled with rejection. It starts with your former employer kicking you out of the whole company and, in essence, saying, “You are no longer one of us.” At every step of the way, you’ll experience people telling you no in a variety of ways. Here is how that rejection may look.
Applying for a job and:
Having what felt like a great interview for a job and:
Receiving a job offer and:
Accepting a job offer and:
The Necessity of Experiencing Your Emotions
Because of all of the uncertainty and rejection, this whole process can be a lot to bear. It’s hard to keep going when there are obstacles at every turn. Sometimes, even well-intentioned people trying to be supportive ask just the wrong question and make you feel even worse.
Often, I find that when people are exceedingly negative, they usually have not taken the time to address their emotions. Consequently, those hard feelings fester, come out sideways, and interfere with the business part of job searching. Their complaining comes from a place of fear, pain, sadness, and anger.
Unfortunately, as with much of life, it’s nearly impossible to complain your way out of your current situation and into a better one. Instead, it’s paramount that you experience your emotions, then manage your mindset so you don’t let your feelings make the already complicated process of finding a new job even harder.
Here are a few ideas for strategies to help you work through the unpleasant emotions that will pop up during your career transition.
Acknowledge Each Emotion
Befriend your feelings. Don’t pretend that you don’t feel how you do. Name them, acknowledge them, and then move on. Pretending those unpleasant feelings don’t exist will not make them disappear. Instead, it may silence them for a bit, but they will pop up later, usually at the worst possible time. Acknowledging each one will help them run their course–and also help you to increase your ability to manage those feelings.
Wallow a Little
It’s impossible to will yourself into feeling better. Sometimes, you need to just sit with an uncomfortable feeling for a while and let it run its course. Cry a little. Rewatch your favorite movie for the bijillionth time. Have a little ice cream. Do a puzzle. Take a walk. Take the afternoon off from your to-do list. Some will run their course a bit more quickly than others.
Research The Problem
If you’re worried about something, researching answers and managing your expectations often helps. How many job applications does it typically take to get an interview? How long does it take most people to find a new role post-layoff? Which companies are hiring? You'll probably feel a little better by researching options, clarifying goals, and taking useful action.
Even if you don’t find a complete solution, you at least know more. Having added knowledge will help you worry less or at least direct your worry toward taking productive action that will help you solve a problem.
Take a Social Media Break
Social media, specifically LinkedIn, can be a great job search tool. Unfortunately, it can also give you the illusion that everyone else is doing great and you are downright hopeless. Posts like “It only took me a week to find my dream job,” or “I’m still employed but I feel SO BAD for my former coworkers who are jobless,” or “Every company ever is doing more layoffs” will only make you feel worse. Remind yourself that social media isn’t real life and disengage.
Leverage Basic Self Care
When everything feels hard, taking care of yourself needs to be one of your top priorities. Here are a few quick and easy ideas to make you feel almost instantly better:
7-time layoff survivor Brenda L. Peterson, The Layoff Lady, waxes poetic on layoffs, job transitions, & career resilience.
Buy The Book!
Were you recently laid off from your job and need a roadmap for what's next? Pick up a copy of my book, Seven Lessons From Seven Layoffs: A Guide!