Life presents us with a variety of eventualities that oscillate around being dramatic, wonderful and not so wonderful. Losing a job is one of those dramatic and not so wonderful happenstances. The truth is that we should expect it at some point in life but we don’t, and that is naivety. A job loss could happen for a number of reasons: Collapse of an industry, lay-offs, erosion of brand names and so forth. You wouldn’t drive around your city for years and not expect to have a flat tyre someday. As a matter of fact, you are always prepared for that eventuality (if you are an above average being, that is) and that explains why you have a spare tyre.

For many people, a job means more to them than just a means of earning a livelihood. It provides a structure around which they build their lives. They know where to go to when they wake up every morning. So when someone loses a job, it can really be stressful because they feel destabilized, disoriented and out of control. Some people even get into depression when they lose their jobs.

It has been observed that men are particularly more affected by job loss than women of the same age bracket. ‘Why is that?’ you may ask. It’s because men tend to evaluate the essence of their being, who they are, by what they do. Therefore, when a man loses a job, it is often quite a hit below the belt.

Without playing down the stress that comes along with knowing that your source of income has been strangled, it is important for you to understand that a job loss is just that-A JOB LOSS. Secondly, you are not the first to lose a job and certainly, you will not be the last. Countless others have faced the same predicament. Thirdly, it is of paramount importance for you to comprehend the fact that ‘what YOU THINK about that job loss’ is what affects, informs, influences and guides the next trajectory of your life.

Fourth, it would be helpful for you to also know that not every job loss is really a bad thing after all. I lost a high profile job once, which is a nice way of saying that I was fired but as it turned out, it was the best thing that ever happened to me. Retrenchment and downsizing can actually be a blessing in disguise.

I know a lot of people who started their own businesses after losing their jobs and created employment for other people as well. They would never have done that had they not been fired or retrenched. A job loss may actually be the agent that snatches you away from a dead end job that you don’t even like in the first place but you are afraid to quit. A job loss may save you from a job that has no career mobility and open up a planet of possibilities for you. Some people just need to get it the hard way; a rude awakening because they will not quit from a job that has no prospect for growth at all.

How then do you survive a job loss? Here are a few guidelines on how to survive.

  1. Stay in touch personally with everyone and pay very special attention to those allies who are the serious players in their fields. In the corporate world, you never know when careers will be resuscitated unexpectedly.
  2. Be adaptable and prepared to start over again and again. Welcome that attitude of doing it again and again.
  3. USE that transition time or should I say INVEST your transition time wisely. Spend time with your children, your wife or husband; make the most out of that opportunity.
  4. Don’t lock yourself up in the house feeling sorry for yourself. Rest very little and then by all means get busy. Get busy looking for another job opening. Ask yourself, ‘What is it that I have always done well in my ‘ex-job’ that I can do for someone else even in a different industry?’ Take stock of your professional assets and then build on that.
  5. Look for small sized companies in your industry category who would benefit a lot from your wealth of experience. Go and work for them even if they can only afford to pay you half the salary you were paid previously. If your career is your passion, then you will derive lots of satisfaction in giving your expertise where it is needed the most and in making a significant contribution to growing a small enterprise.
  6. Pursue your passion and monetize it. Ask yourself, ‘What is it that I have always wanted to do but couldn’t do it because my time was spread thin?’ Advance your personal interest in life and shape a more prosperous future for yourself and the society as well.
  7. Start your own business in the same exact field that you have been or any other field of your interest. You can explore 26 viable fields from chapter ten of my book title ‘Command your Future’.
  8. You can also choose to become a consultant instead and build your own practice.
  9. Pursue some education as a full time student: It could be a certificate, diploma or degree program. (Assuming that you have been putting aside a fund for self-education).
  10. Make the necessary adjustments so that you don’t strain a lot. Consider moving houses; re-negotiate all your debts repayment terms; Cut down on your expenses. You don’t have to use a paid up TV subscription, cut off eating out, use public transport instead.

If you have been laid off, you need to keep it in mind that it cannot be the end of your story. Whatever you do, look only on the bright side of things.