From Unemployed to Thriving:
A Complete Guide to Getting
Back on the Corporate Ladder

See also: Developing Resilience

Losing your job can be devastating. All that time and hard work is suddenly lost. One day you’re working towards your career goals and, the next, you’re escorted out the door. It’s no fun by any means. However, you’re not alone. Every day someone, somewhere, loses their job and, every day, they pick themselves back up and find a new one.

It’s common to feel let down after losing your job. You may have even come to see your employer and the people you worked with as a second family. As hard as it is, you can bounce back after losing your job. You can and will get back on track. However, before starting that journey, it’s essential to take time and reflect on what happened.

Coming to Terms with the Loss of Your Job

You might find yourself going through a wide range of emotions. One day you might feel incredibly frustrated and angry, and the next, somewhat relieved. Going through these emotions immediately after a job loss is expected. However, letting these feelings overwhelm you with depression is something else entirely.

Focus on staying positive. Find something to do each day. Keep yourself busy. Spend some time with your family or children. Take up a hobby you used to enjoy. Doing something every day will help you stay grounded.

If you saved money in an emergency fund, perhaps it’s time to go away for a few days to clear your head. If you can afford to, take some time off before you jump right back into the job market.

Ask Yourself Some Tough Questions

Understanding why this happened might be a good idea once you’ve come to terms with losing your job. This is where things might get a little uncomfortable. You’ll need to ask yourself some tough questions to understand how you lost your job. Here are some questions to consider.

  • Did you lose your job because of poor performance?
  • Were you laid off because of a tough market?
  • Did you lose your job because of a bad relationship with co-workers and your boss?
  • Is there anything you think you could have done differently?
  • Were you no longer as motivated and driven as you once were?

There is a difference between losing your job because you weren’t performing and being laid off because of poor market conditions. If you performed well but lost your job because of a downturn in the economy, you can take solace in having little control over what happened.

It’s difficult to ask yourself these questions, but it might help you understand why you lost your job. That knowledge may help you as you re-enter the job market and start looking for new employment. This all-important period of reflection may help you chart a new career path.

It’s entirely possible you were no longer challenged, and it resulted in a decrease in your performance. If that’s the case, accept it and move on. These things happen.

Examine your Last Job

No job is perfect. There are guaranteed to be things you enjoyed and things you didn’t enjoy about your previous job. Making a list of pros and cons will help you define the aspects of your job where you felt challenged and invigorated versus the parts of the job that didn’t appeal to you. The aspects you found tedious may not have garnered your best effort, which could have been why you were let go.

Going through this exercise can be therapeutic. It will give you insight into your current skills and what aspects of your job you truly enjoyed and which parts you could do without. Create a separate list of pros and cons. While everybody wants a longer list of pros than cons, sometimes the results can be pretty surprising.

You may find far more cons than pros at your last job. An exercise like this may have opened your eyes to the fact that the job wasn’t all that great, to begin with. At the very least, you’ll have a greater understanding of the things that challenge you and motivate you to succeed as opposed to those job tasks that don’t.

Grow Your Network

This is where your list comes in handy. Ideally, you want to find a new job with the qualities you found most challenging and rewarding in your previous position. Your pros and cons list will help you focus on getting a new job, a better job with more of the responsibilities you enjoy.

Start by leveraging your existing network of like-minded professionals and co-workers. Contact suppliers, partners, and other companies you dealt with in your old job. Don’t ignore your friends, neighbors, and acquaintances. The more extensive your network, the better your chances of finding that all-important new job.

Update your CV

You can also use your list of pros and cons from the previous step to modify your resume. You want to accentuate the responsibilities, experience, and knowledge of the work tasks you enjoyed. You want these to capture the attention of employers.

While you should always tweak your resume to the position you’re applying for, you still want to ensure you bring attention to the responsibilities and work tasks that challenge you the most. Think of a problem or issue you resolved at your company that nobody else could solve. Things like this are great tidbits for future employers.

Finding the Right Job

Don’t make the all-too-common mistake of accepting the first job offered. Be picky. Remain focused on what you want and how the right job will help grow your career. If taking a position doesn’t help further your career, or is a step backward, then fight the urge to accept it.

It may take some time, but eventually, you’ll find a position that is a natural progression for your career. It will be a challenging and rewarding position that meets most – if not all – of the criteria you determined from your pros and cons list.

Remain Focused

Being unemployed is never fun. However, if you take the right mindset, you’ll find that it’s a great opportunity to reconnect with yourself and the things that matter. It won’t be long until you find a new job and new responsibilities.