Getting fired is never fun, but believe it or not, some people have considered it their big break. It gave them the opportunity to turn their dreams into goals and start working towards them. A pink slip has often served as the impetus to develop new skills, start new businesses, or explore other possibilities that their job kept them from, either actually or psychologically. While there are many success stories of people resurrecting themselves into new careers and new businesses after being retrenched, a case in point I wish to highlight is the story of Pat Flynn who now runs a successful online business called Smart Passive Income after being retrenched from a job a few years ago. Check out his site where he provides fascinating ideas for generating passive incomes for people who are willing to learn the skills and put in the efforts.
Assess all your options
When retrenchment is a real possibility and you are impacted by it or likely to be impacted, what should you do? If you can bring yourself to do it, the best place to start is from the very beginning, i.e. without all of the expectations put on you by your family, your friends, society, and yourself. Did you take the job because that’s what you wanted to do or did you take the job because “it seemed reasonable” or “it was the responsible thing to do” or “you needed a job so badly and you had to take it?” Whatever the reason, if you have not been passionate about what you were doing, it’s time to reevaluate whether finding a replacement job is the best thing for you or if you should explore some other options. Are there alternatives, such as entrepreneurship or freelancing that might be better for you and your family over the long run? If you absolutely had to find a source of income other than a job, what ideas could you come up with? Over the course of the next few days, keep working all the options that come to you. Keep a pen and small notepad with you to jot down possible income generating ideas that occur to you. Come up with as many as possible, no matter how inane or illogical, write them down, and then evaluate them later. For the purposes of the exercise, assume that whatever option you are contemplating, it can’t fail and that you absolutely must come up with something other than a job to bring you and your family income. Working with that assumption will give you the best ideas. You could well be surprised by the results of this important exercise.
Hopefully you should be done with the exercise now. The exercise above should get you to pursue better options than just another job and get into something that you thoroughly enjoy. If you absolutely enjoyed the job you were doing and unfortunately you were fired, then you are probably better off finding a similar job in the same industry or trying for jobs closer to the skills you have. But if you didn’t like what you were doing, then you must definitely look for choices at this stage where you can bring in new energy and enthusiasm into your future. To be sure, visualization is a powerful tool that will definitely help you whether you’re looking for a new job or a new adventure. Use it, but not alone.
You still have 24 hours in a day just as you did while you were working. If you’re like most people in their 40+ you’re probably realizing the the disproportionate time you are spending searching for a job and the number of calls you are getting for interviews. If job is your goal, then keep searching, tap into your network, connect with friends, make new social contacts and do whatever it takes till you land up in another job. But if you are open to new opportunities, then open up your mind to new possibilities and explore new options.
Four things you can do for confidence building
Let’s assume that you are like most people and keen to only follow the tried and tested path of seeking a new job. There are four things that you can do, preferably in combination, that can help you get your confidence and self-esteem back, improve your outlook, and get you a better job faster than you now think possible or get the confidence to move in a new direction.
The first of these is to exercise. Many people gain weight when they lose their jobs because they eat because of either depression or boredom. This not only is bad for your physical health, but it also hurts you mentally and emotionally. Even if it’s just a half hour walk a day, get out of the house and out of your negative head space.
- Develop your skills
The next thing you should do is work on developing your skills. You can work to improve skills that you already have or start learning new ones that are appealing to employers. With the internet and public libraries available, there’s no excuse not to develop new skills that will make you more attractive to employers. Need some ideas? How about learning more about sales and public speaking, two of the most sought after skills anywhere?
- Be a volunteer
The third one is volunteering. This can provide you a major confidence boost because you’re helping people. Too busy applying for jobs to volunteer? No you’re not. You can reserve at least a few hours a week to spend time helping out at a school, a church, a nursing home, etc. Being out meeting people also makes it more likely that you’ll hear about openings.
- Work for free
Finally, you can work for free. Offer an employer the opportunity to “hire” you for nothing. This will keep you busy and keep your skills sharp. If you do a good job, you’ll be at the front of the line when a job opens up, possibly at that company or possibly somewhere else. A potential employer would love to hire someone who has shown such commitment to work.
I can’t give you a job, but there are things you can do to find them. Now you know what they are. The ball is in your court.