HOW TO RESPOND TO JOB LOSS WITH GRACE?
What served me in early stages after being fired
Life sometimes becomes too hard especially when events exceed our regular pain point/threshold . To frame it more positively, accepting the difficult nature of life and embracing the suck from time to time of life helps (look at the enclosed quote from Scott Peck̕s book). Sooner or later we go through losses, setbacks or ʺfailuresʺ of some kind or other, be it job losses, break ups, disappointments or health conditions. And yet the professionals in personal development advise that not what happens, but how we respond to life circumstances that counts.
Recently I have lost my job, in translation lost the stability of regular pay check. Living in a country with forty percent unemployment rate, made the job loss very hard on me. With two kids to support, a house loan and half of family working for peanuts in Bosnia’s gray economy, I felt like my life fell apart overnight. Namely, losing well paid corporate job in international organization like mine, with salary over 1ooo euro and other benefits equals total tragedy in my homeland. This was one of rare situations when I freaked out of fear, with exclusion of being a refugee during the war in nineties. After having a stable income for almost twenty years, supporting the closest around me, now in my forties I found myself not only laid off, but hurt, disappointed and broken. The fact that I was one of few people to suffer a job loss in the organization restructuring, diminished my sense of self̵̵ ̶value at least at first. The people with twice less skills, poorer working ethics and high school education passed the restructuring exercise, but not me. Despite all my knowledge, skills and a master degree, I did not successfully pass any of multiple interviews. After the stressful process I felt undermined, rejected and socially marked as liability, not an asset to the organization which I have worked in for two decades. As the known structure of my life collapsed, the job loss also affected my children’s activities and the overall family life. After I overcame the initial shock, I decided not to apply to job vacancies in that organization again. The multiple rejections for me meant that I am underappreciated, blocked to grow and that we are not a right match for each other, at least not under the present middle management.
After few months of crying, doubts and detesting the people who got me fired (including wishing them to die), I decided that to put an end to my destructive behaviors. Thus, I brought clear decision to work on my mindset much more than the skillset, as being negative could not bring anything good to me. During the first few months upon being fired, in that panicky fearful state, I noticed that I have attracted other misfortunes as well, such as being mugged, causing a minor car incident, losing or forgetting documents, etc. Namely, my preoccupation with the problem brought more of the same, as I became the magnet for more bad things to come. Remember the song, ʺany time you have some trouble, when you worry you make it doubleʺ. Logically, one can more easily cause a car accident or get mugged in a worrisome or absent minded state.
Knowing that the odds of getting fired at least in my case were ridiculously low, I had to find a deeper meaning to why this has happened to me. The psychologists claim that being laid off or business bankruptcy is one of major life stresses, right after the death of family member or serious health issues.
For that reason I created the system of tips, practices and rituals on how to move on after being fired. I hope that this text may serve some jobless folks at this tough time of life, to overcome it with more ease and grace.
1. ACCEPT YOUR FEELINGS
Admit feelings about the job loss, at least to yourself. To me it was absolutely ridiculous to pretend like I am super fine even in the world, when I truly was not. Processing the negative feelings privately helped me a great time. However, alongside accepting that I feel lost and frightened, I practiced leaving a possibility that something good may come from this. To me an emotional freedom technique/tapping has been very helpful during the early disturbing period, as it assisted me to process and transform negative emotions. While tapping I used to stateː ʺRight now I cannot see the light, but only despair. I cannot see a positive side of losing income for my children and jobs security. However, perhaps three years from now I would be grateful for the way things turned out, as it brought new opportunities into my life.ʺ Therefore, be thankful for the lessons now, three years ahead. Check tapping exercise for job loss by Brad Yates https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bz16IbFBwM0
2. EMBRACE THE UNCERTAINTY AND REFRAME IT POSTIVELY
When feeling completely down, what is quite frequent at first stages of unemployment, I deliberately practiced reframing of the situation. At first it was very hard, as I could not view job and salary loss having anything positive. In reframing exercises I asked myself a questionː can I see this situation differently? Is it possible that something positive and new can come out of this? Like a badly wrapped present, it is difficult to see positive sides of any misfortune, let alone expect good things coming out of it. But, leaving a slightest possibility for positive outcomes or new opportunities is sufficient at start. Looking back in our lives, we see some great things ending up badly for us, and some painful things being actually good for us.
3. TRANSFORM THE FEAR
Freaking out at the new is normal part of life, and the moments of panic and uncertainty may become overwhelming at times. I have studied fear in many ways and detected some good ways to control it. At time of losing job, numerous fears of not being able to pay bills, fear of starvation, fear of homelessness etc., drove me almost nuts. Namely loss of job caused disturbance, as days structured around work, kids’ schedules and house requirements requested total change and new structure of disrupted routines. Soon I realized that my fears and anxiety are almost 99 % the projection of the future. To me a good way to cultivate our emotions of fear, apart from tapping, is the 5 second rule by Mel Robbins. Whenever you notice that you have started thinking thoughts of fear, your heart rising and body shrinking, start counting backwards from 5 to 1. My mindfully catching your panic, do the counting and decide to think differently. More tips are given by Mel Robins explaining how to stop negative self-talk and train of negative fearful thoughts paralyzing us. Ms. Mel speaks of this simple mind trick/ hack, as worry and fear disconnect us from joy and present moment. Furthermore, Mel also recommends transforming fear into its positive counterpart, the emotion of excitement, (PS link included). The cute bestseller book ʺWho moved my cheeseʺ, also describes the fear to changes and freaking out when outside of comfort zone.
4. FORGIVE THOSE WHO FIRED YOU, OR CONTRIBUTED TO IT
Forgive the people who hurt you and release them with love. At times when you undergo certain injustice at work, practicing forgiveness does a lot of good. Therefore, to my former bosses, colleagues or whoever made me suffer at work, I regularly send a positive energy of forgiveness. Alongside that, I am grateful to them for teaching me what I do not want to be like. Ultimately, bed people and situations are the best to challenge us to grow strong, and thank them for that. Imagine sending energy of forgiveness to those who humiliated or discredited you. The mare intention is sufficient and do not worry about the rest. Say good bye to them in your mind’s eye as you will forget them soon and they will no longer a part of your world.
Remember, someone’s opinion of you does not have to become your reality.
5. LOOK FOR A DEEPER MEANING/ BECOME GRATER THAN THE CIRCUMSTANCES/ BE OPEN TO LEARNING
The people of spirit and faith say that biggest challenges come to make us stronger and develop our virtues and values. As all in life happens for a reason, consider what meaning you may draw from the job loss. For instance I came to conclusion that I need to redefine my values. I came to conclusion that I would rather starve, than undergo humiliation or mobbing at work. I have learned that I will do my very best to do something I truly like. Also, that I would rather work for much smaller amounts, but with and for people I like, and in healthy respectful atmosphere. Actually we generate happiness and energy due to love for our work. So many people stay at jobs at which they are miserable until they get retired. The job loss moved me to go after the things I enjoy doing, that I would do them for free.
6. INTENTIONALLY GO AGAINT ODDS
I do not buy into statistics, as by statistics 40 % of people in my country are unemployed, 60 % of the employed works for miserable salaries, whereas the failure rate of startups is 97 %. One could be utterly discouraged to try anything, if expecting the external encouragement. Many people in my country believe that you need to purchase a job/ bribe someone to get it, and have a political party behind your back. Ignore the madness of public opinions, and even the opinions of many around you. In my search for new engagements, a rare few successful people encouraged me. Others were skeptical, not only of me, but generally of possibility of success. Of course, a doze of skepticism is needed and well come, but not to stop you from even trying. Ignore the odds, as odds will never be in your favor.
7. ENGAGE WITH PEOPLE RIGHT FOR YOU
At times of crises such as job loss, people around us show their real faces. Difficult times are the best times to find the best people. It was a bit shocking to me that some ex colleagues, who normally were pleasant towards me, stopped greeting me for a while. I know that avoidance was not due to bad intentions, but most of them were simply uncomfortable with their colleague losing a job. Also, some acquaintances who were at disposal before, may be suddenly busy and do not return your calls after the job loss. Perhaps, it is fear that you may ask for favors, in terms of employment. However, misfortunes are great to indicate who is not worthy of your time, and with whom you should socialize with or make business with. You need to recognize in your heart and mind those individuals, supervisors, mentors and colleagues, who share your values. Those who match your energy will gladly give you the support and encouragement in the new stage of your life. They will be plenty for sure, and be open to surprises.
8. GIVE NEW IDEAS SOME TIME
+ USE OPPORTUNITY TO CONSIDER CAREER CHANGE IF IT FITS YOU
To me it was almost irritating that some individuals, as soon as I stopped working started asking me whether I found a new job in few days/weeks’ time. Of course, most of them are well intended people, but with lack of emotional intelligence. Being fired after continues twenty years of work for same firm, demanded some pause, time for recovery and reflection. I just knew that I do not want to continue doing the same job; I have been doing for so many years. On a positive note, the job loss provided me the opportunity to try new things I could not do while fully employed. As I enrolled to the entrepreneurship academy and started doing some new things, but it took me a while to consider what I want to do next.
To note, I could not immediately come to terms with what exactly to do and what will succeedː write blogs professionally, produce foods at home, become a tourist guide or take a corporate job in social type projects. I was completely confused which path to take so I started taking small steps in few areas of my interest, following the synchronicities on what is opening up. At a recent business lecture I heard that it usually takes up nine months to develop an idea, especially when entering a new field. Giving myself that time really put me at ease, as I did not want to finish in a wrong place once again. Figuring out what could be a good fit for me, my age, family situation and also bring decent earnings, surely required some time.
9. KEEP THE PERSPECTIVE
No matter how immersed in own problem, do not lose perspective. We get so caught up in own misery that it leaves no space for the outside influence sometimes. At the time I was fired, by chance I started socializing with a woman in forth stage of cancer. She has been a cancer thriver for years, and I have admired her tremendously much. Being always positive, my new friend was super open to listen to my troubled conditions about the recent job loss. After a while, it became ridiculous to me to whine about being fired, as I found fighting a cancer a much bigger deal. Similarly, another acquaintance revealed to me that her eldest daughter is in a wheel chair, not being able to speak or talk. The mobbing or being fired from work, as harsh as it is, simply enters another category of human experience that may be resolved. I am not saying that being jobless or without money is an easy thing. However, my heart goes for parents whose struggle around the disabled child is heroic. The pain of others around me assisted me to view my hardships in more realistic perspective, as a temporary condition that will be resolved. Helping and uplifting others is the best way to lift yourself up.
10. DO WHAT YOU LOVE, LOVE WHAT YOU DO
I went back to the things I loved doing and did them as much as possible. This advice of my favorite life coach Srdjan Roje was the most confusing to me, as I felt like nothing I enjoyed doing brings an income. How can me walking a dog, watching favorite show or dancing, put food on a table for my family. But, with time I realized that following my interests, opens me up energetically to better opportunities, business included. Even the activities that you do not monetize, indirectly set me for success in work arena. Namely, mindset is the key and no one will l hare you or do business with you, if you are negative and depressed. To the contrary, when you are giving and doing what you love, the love sends a powerful energy. And, when what we love also benefits others, we have a business idea worth pursuing. After a while I started getting offers to be paid for my cooking, tourist guiding and writing.
11. TRANSFORM THE PROBLEM INTO GIFT and BLESSING
Simply put, we grow in life the best by facing the problems. I have recently attended lecture by an Indian guru, asking him for a tip on how to deal positively with my recent job and income loss. He explained to me that first I have to transform that problem into an obstacle. At the level of the problem, we look for guilt and accusations and we are stack with the past. Our vision is problem focused and closed, and we want to move to open vision of solutions. By transforming problem into obstacle, we start looking ahead from the temporary state into the future, and think on how to resolve it. By transferring obstacle into opportunity, we start noticing all advantages of what once was a problem. After taking tests, we develop new virtues and become a better person. ʺThe job loss that has been a problem at first, became eventually a gift that helped you grow. The badly wrapped gifts are the best teachers of humanity, humility and courageʺ, the guru responded to me.
PROBLEM/closed vision→→→OBSTICLE→→→OPPORTUNITY→→→→→TEST→→→GIFT/open vision
12. CREATE A SELF CARE ROUTINE, AND STICK TO IT
I have my spiritual and wellness routine that I religiously stick to, with minor daily adjustments. From regular prayer, meditation, silencing of the mind, yoga, eft, affirmation techniques etc. I make sure to, feed my mind with things that matter to me. Making self-care a priority in difficult times is very important, as worrying and stress can divert us from self- love. I would end the text with the last tip, Do not underestimate the power of honest prayer to higher force, universe, God or whatever you believe in. People of faith, give their worries away and let go of control more easily in times of job loss.
Quote. Enter into the place of His blessing—give worry and anxiety to Him—and rest in Him during difficult times. Wait expectantly for His answer.
Re-published from blog Cokoholic