I have friend who, after 10 years at her company, decided to quit her job because of the toxic leadership. I have another friend who lost her job during a huge restructuringOne was by choice, the other – not so much. But both of them dealt with grief from losing a job. Grief? Yes! We tend to have pre-set expectations about what our career will be like but when it doesn’t work out like that, it’s a very real grief from a very real loss. The important part is to take what you can from the experience and use it to boost you to the next level.  

The one friend who quit her job, did a lot self-discovery and ended up starting her own business – running the operations to match her values. My other friend spent time list-making to really decide what she wanted from her next employer and even what she learned from the prior awful situation. You see a pattern there? Both took some time to learn, to grieve the change in life plans, and to do some internal work.  

First, lick the wounds.

Go ahead! Those wounds are real and can hold you back if you don’t acknowledge the emotions around the loss. If you don’t heal what hurt you, you are bound to repeat the same cycle at your next job. So, relax, live in your sweatpants and throw a SHORT pity party. (The key there, is short!). Take this time to do some inventory: What did you like; what didn’t you like (try to set personalities aside); what could you have done differently?  

Next, figure out how to move on.

Even while you are still processing the change, you can still rock the job hunt! While you’re searching, this is a good time to focus on the to-do list. Before you dive into your next chapter, get your plans together. Organize your paperwork, your taxes, that spare closet you’ve been meaning to look through. Cleansing your physical space can do wonders for your mental space! Then, create YOUR planYou need to be clear about what you want now that you know what you don’t want. 

Look for the opportunities. They are actually all around you. Your own network is a great place to start! Your dream job may be right around the corner, but you have to keep your eyes open (and you mind open too) to the possibilities.  

One of the easiest ways to bridge the gap on your resume is to find temporary work. And who knows, maybe temp work will turn out to be fulfilling! I have several friends who have found their stepping stones while doing temp work. By the way, that temp work includes online work too. Don’t limit yourself to the 9-5 office jobs. If you’re skilled in freelance areas, go for it! 

Ask for help.

Speaking of going for it  make sure you ask people for help. Once you are clear on what you want, work with your network to spread the word and get people involved in the job hunt with you!  

Losing a job – whether by your own hand or someone else’s – can really set you back but only if you let it! But it can also be a chance for great change, growth and even a new career if you allow it to be.