Your boss just called you to his cubicle to inform you that the company is terminating your service. For some, this might be a massive blow as they did not see it coming. Others may have suspected that it would happen to them.
Nevertheless, the emotions felt after the initial shock are still the same – anger, disappointment, shame, followed by a possible meltdown to feelings of disillusionment and maybe worthlessness.
Not every termination is due to lack of competence and performance from the employee. There can be many reasons why an employee is sacked including mergers, change of management, staff reduction, political conflict within the team and even bad vibes with the boss.
For many, losing a job is one of the worst experiences and can weaken their self-esteem. However, it is not the end of the world. It can be a blessing in disguise, encouraging self-empowerment. It could be a start towards exploring a different career path or even starting your own business.
Rather than wasting precious time drowning in despair, here are a few things you can do if you suddenly find yourself out of a job:
• Negotiate a good compensation package
If you have been laid-off, you will be offered compensation. Try to bargain for enough severance pay to sustain you until you find a new job or until you know what to do next.
According to executive coach Marc Dorio, author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide To Career Advancement, most organisations will pay you a full week’s salary for every year you have worked for them. If you have worked for five years, you should get five weeks of pay.
• Do some soul-searching
Passive acceptance of your job termination is like living in denial and can be disruptive. Make time to mull things over and rethink your goals in life.
This unplanned break will help you realise what you want. When accepting our first jobs, some of us may have seized available openings rather than checking if they are in line with our interests.
Now you have the opportunity to think and carefully choose your next career step. It could be something that matches your skills and talents. Consider the industry you want to join and be sure that it is what you want.
• Work on your skills
Once you have an idea on which industry you want to venture into next, you may want to brush up your old skills which may have become a tad rusty over the years.
You may even learn some new ones which are relevant to the type of jobs you want to apply for as this will make you more credible.
You have the option of attending classes to acquire the skills needed, or if you are constrained for time, you can always opt for distance learning.
• Spice up your resume and look for a new job
Your resume may not be in the best of shape as you have not used it for a long time. It is time to update it with the latest skills mastered. Do not forget to add all your career milestones and all the impressive projects you have handled and completed.
Some might even seek professionals to fix their resume so that it looks polished.
Next, research on companies, check newspapers, look online and talk to people for vacancies. Allocate a few hours a day to look for a new job.
• Start networking
Go out there and meet up with all your friends and contacts. Spread the news that you are looking for a job. Find out available positions that may be suitable for you.
Look back at all your old references and give them a call. Some of them may just have something up their alley which suits you.
While on this networking spree, don’t forget to put a word out to your family as well. Your uncles or aunts may just have a pleasant surprise for you.
• Approach potential employers
When approaching potential employers, the first thing is to always be honest when attending an interview. You will be asked about your previous employment. Explain how you joined the company, and how the job unfortunately came to an end.
Give the interviewer a moment to absorb this information. Then, launch into your achievements at your previous company and how it has helped shape you in terms of experience.