Career Advice

How To Deal With An Unexpected Job Loss

When you experience a job loss, the first thing that comes to mind is if the job loss was your fault or due to factors beyond your control. Even in situations when the latter is the case, you’ll find yourself replaying scenarios in your head, trying to make sense of why you had to lose your job when you did. For some people, they saw it coming. For others, the news hit them like a wrecking ball.

I often wonder why people call it ‘termination’ of appointment or contract. Why did people choose the word termination? It suggests that someone’s life has been cut short. Its distant cousin - “fired” describes a rather painful way to die. Could it be due to the intensity of the blow you are dealt with when the termination email finds a home in your inbox?

You shouldn’t be ashamed to grief a job loss. After all, it’s called ‘loss’. You have the right to mourn a loved one, in this case, a loved job. Dealing with a job loss can feel like you are up in a creek without a paddle. So, here’s a list of things you can do to cushion the blow of a job loss.


This is not the time to live in denial. It’s alright to grieve, but you shouldn’t drown in it. You might feel that you didn’t deserve to get fired. You might be angry and feel cheated. While your feelings are valid, holding on to them will only keep you stuck in an infinite loop of what could have been. Accept the job loss and focus on the next steps.


Whenever people experience loss, whether, in the form of a breakup, death or job loss, there is usually a need to distract themselves. But many people fail to invest their time in healthy distractions. You may have a sudden urge to binge on food, shop excessively, or drown yourself in alcohol. All of these will only make things worse. Here are some of the healthy distractions that can help you handle a job loss:

  • Exercise
  • Eating healthy
  • Spending time with loved ones
  • Volunteering


One of the things getting fired does to you is that it lowers your self-esteem. You begin to question all your skills, capabilities, and achievements. The question that plays in your head in an endless loop is - ‘Am I fraud that eventually got made’?. No, you are not. There is a high probability that the job loss was not your fault. And even if it was, you’ve learned your lessons. It’s time to move on. To do that, you need to work on your self-esteem. Start by making a list of your achievements, no matter how little they seem. Remind yourself how hard you worked to achieve those things. Losing your job doesn’t invalidate your past successes. If it becomes too difficult to deal on your own, you should consider seeing a mental health professional.


With job loss comes a disruption in your schedule. Typically, our jobs help us create structure. When you don’t have a job allowing you to stick to a schedule, you should consider creating a routine. The goal of creating one isn’t to stay ‘busy’. You are making a routine to have some sense of succeeding at tasks. You’ll be focusing on celebrating small wins like exercising, sending out few job applications, volunteering, or just replying a few messages. These small wins are significant in your journey to having a sense of control over your life.


I know that the thought of living without a steady income can be scary, but it's essential to understand how you would survive without one. Make a list of all your monthly expenses and your inflows of cash. Group your them based on the level of importance and urgency. Identify the fixed costs that you cannot do without. Compare your findings with your savings and make a budget based on your new reality. It may be difficult at first, but it's advisable to focus on how to survive financially while you begin your job search. If there are financial benefits to claim from your previous employer, you should make enquiries on how to access them.


After getting laid off from a job, you may find it challenging to get back into the job market. Don't be tempted to rush into the job market. Pace yourself. You need to understand what happened at the previous job. Identify what the problem was and part you played in it. If it has something to do with your expertise, you may want to consider taking a few courses to get better at what you do. If it was due to a personality clash, work on getting better. You're doing these because your prospective employers will be interested in knowing why you left your previous job. If getting laid off had nothing to do with your expertise, you should be prepared to convince your prospective employers.

Once you've ticked all the self-assessment boxes, make a list of people in your network that can either stand as references for you in your job applications or can help you with job leads. On your resume, focus on your skills and achievements. During a job interview, if you're asked about your last job, be honest, take responsibility, and talk about how the experience has shaped you into a better person.

Losing a job can be depressing. It can affect your relationships, finances, and career. But with patience, discipline, and consistency, you can come out of a job loss smelling of roses. Whenever you are ready, you can visit Tamborin to apply for remote jobs.