What Do You Do When You Lose Your Job?
By Lolita Villa

The company's retrenching, and you're one of the retrenched. Maybe you made a mistake at work and got yourself fired. Or you resigned because your job just sucked. Either way, you're back at home, penny-pinching, and living off your savings. What should you do now?

The first thing to remember is not to brood about your situation. You may be going through a difficult time, financially, psychologically, or socially, especially if you've just severed ties with an organization you've worked with for several years. But if you're looking to bounce back from this momentary set-back, you have to realize that losing a job is not the end of the world. It is a temporary problem that can be resolved soon if you focus on doing the right things.

Staying proactive and productive is vital while you're between jobs. It doesn't mean that you have to sustain the same level of stress as you had when you were working. It's about being objective in assessing your situation, and maintaining an awareness, so that you can make the most of the opportunities that come your way. Here's a few things you need to remember:

Make a clean break. When you're folding up and saying goodbye, don't forget to tie-up every loose end before you go. Whatever reason you have for leaving, it pays to make sure your ex-employer maintains a respectful opinion of you. Get a written recommendation from him if you can. Make it a point to turn over all your files to your successor. Most importantly, clear-up every issue you have with the HRD as thoroughly as possible. Issues like back pay, the details of your separation/ retirement package and other monetary matters are concerns that requires your careful attention.

Don't be so uptight. This is your time to relax. Go out with friends, or go on a vacation if you can afford it. Get busy with community work. You may not be pushing everything you've got to find another job, but you're sitting back and taking a bigger view of things. Get a wider perspective on life, and evaluate yourself and your goals without being too hard on yourself. Reflect on the lessons you've learned in the last job you had. Consult your family and take the time to have a more spiritual approach to your situation. Do you need to re-direct your career path? Seek answers to questions you've never found the time to ask.

Build your skills. Add to your know-how, or sharpen the skills that you already have. I.T. related skills are bankable in most industries: take a short course, self-study by experimenting with computer programs and the Internet, or enroll in a second degree. Attend workshops and seminars that are related to your line of work. You don't have to spend so much if you're trying to scrimp: check out online announcements or the newspapers for workshops that are open to the public. Buy or borrow books on self-improvement topics such as personal management, work habits, or dealing with professional relationships. Read trade and business publications on the industry you want to work in. Surfing the net is also a good way to learn more information.

Engage in profitable activities. You haven't found a new job yet and your financial resources are steadily depleting. Make a little money and keep yourself busy while waiting. Engage in some buy and sell, or offer services on a consultancy basis. Team up with friends whom you can work with. Help out in the family business to earn your keep at home. Maybe you'll find entrepreneurship more appealing than employment. Often, activities like these can help you decide on the next step of your career growth.

Compete relentlessly. In job hunting, you have new grads to contend with, as well as experienced job seekers who might be more qualified for that job than you. Don't take the passive attitude. Sharpen your job hunting techniques. Attend job fairs and scan the classifieds online and in the papers with a religious fervor. Network like crazy: make your strengths known to as many people as possible and let them know what kind of job you are looking for. If you don't get positive replies in a few months' time, don't despair. Perseverance will get you through.

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