The day you lose your job a million things go through your head; what am I going to do for money, I can't believe this happened, what about benefits, my co-workers; what will they think, how am I going to tell my kids, what's my next move and so on.
That was one long day! I remember my husband met me for brunch and was in as much disbelief as I. He was supportive and was happy that I could move on to something better. We sorted through the operational questions and then the to do list. I needed a plan on what to do in the weeks to follow. Here is a list of what to do in the first two weeks after losing your job.
Week 1: What to do in week 1 after losing your job
Talk to your partner immediately so that you can sort through operational items:
This is a start to what will take a while. I spend more time on operational items in week two.
Get a journal and use it:
Write everything down in one space. I knew I needed to get a journal, to get my thoughts on paper and to get organized. If my career was in chaos, the least I could do was organize it. I found keeping a bag with me at all times that would hold my laptop and journal was essential to keeping organized.
Wake up early:
I committed myself to continue to wake up early, to get the most out of my day. This would allow me to still feel in routine.
Make exercise part of your new routine:
I keep exercise as part of my daily routine (most days). The day after I lost my job I had scheduled myself for yoga. I don't go very often, however this particular class was literally a euphoric experience. My instructor was awesome. She had a great way of helping us reflect of on ourselves and bodies. The one thing she said that had made such a profound impact was, "thank your body for all that it has done for you, thank yourself for and give yourself grace." I had never thought of it that way, it made me so thankful for being healthy and allowed me give myself grace for what had happened.
Another important factor in exercise is that it creates and releases endorphins, which when you are in a temperamental emotional state due to the changes, helps provide you with the happy feelings we need to moderate our moods. For more on understanding our emotions and what we will go through after job loss take a look at my blog, "Emotions after job loss"
Step out of your comfort zone and distract yourself with something productive to do.
You need to keep yourself busy. Challenge yourself to do something different, you most likely will leave feeling refreshed and excited about something new.
Run the errands
Run the errands that you have been meaning to, but never got to when you were working. Make a list in that journal we were talking about and use that as filler in your day. Within the first week of being jobless I committed to working out everyday, running errands that our family could never get to and working on our house.
DIY / Home Improvement Projects
As I have indicated before I am all about DIY, so naturally I had thought that this would be a good time for finishing projects. Yes and No. My husband recently transitioned to working from home and so we would BOTH be working from home EVERYDAY.
Needless to say we found out real quick what not to do. Within two days I was going crazy looking at all the unfinished projects in our house and my husband almost had a meltdown. I tried to let him work, but had some questions and became slightly bothersome. He finally said, "Kristine, pick one thing and focus on it, I have to work and make the money." At first I was frustrated but then I realized he was right.
Pick one project and finish it
The best way to help get things done at home is to tackle one project and finish it. For me it was an office, for you it may be your personal profile (resume, references and cover letter), cleaning out the kitchen, staining your deck, putting in a garden, whatever it is, stick to it. Write down your goal list and to do list daily, then work hard to get it done
Spend time with your furry friends or get one!
Another activity I did was I took my dog for hike, in a place I hadn't brought him before. When we got there I let a podcast play while we walked in the woods, my goal was to get to the seven bridges, little did I know it would take an hour walking in snow to get there. In total it was a two hour hike and amazing bonding time with my pup. It gave me time by myself, walking amongst nature and the woods to process all that had transpired and to motivate myself for the next hike.
Listen to podcasts
They are GOLD! I cannot stress enough, I have learned so much through podcasts! All you need to do is look for “podcasts” on your iPhone or android and you’re good to go. Best part, they’re free! They have been a godsend for learning, personal growth, and inspiration. If you’re looking for a career change or starting a business, Podcasts are an amazing resource and perfect for commuting. For a complete list of my favorite 20 podcasts for aspiring entrepreneurs click here!
Week 2: What to do in week 2 after losing your job
The second week became a brainstorm. What do I really want to do, what am I good at and how can I be my own boss. This may not be everyone's forte, but I wanted to give it a shot.
knew my LinkedIn profile still said I was employed in my previous position and that I would need to figure it out quickly. You need to ensure that there isn't a gap in your profile if at all possible.
Opening a consulting LLC was something I had been thinking about for a long time and it was seeming to be a more viable opportunity everyday. Click here for more recommendations on what to do with your linked in profile when unemployed.
Find Personal Growth Book:
My friend stopped by and gave me a book, it literally changed my outlook, and I am not a reader! I was already going to pursue an entrepreneurial path, but this book made me want to conquer it and kick ass in the process.
It made me excited and gave me yet another reason to move forward. The lesson: find your inspiration! My book was, "Girl, Stop Apologizing: A Shame-Free Plan for Embracing and Achieving Your Goals ) by Rachel Hollis. What will yours be? I could not put this book down, and I used post it's to keep track of my favorite quotes.
Get your life in order:
Make sure you work through your benefits (know your last day of coverage), Review Cobra information, and Private health care options. Don't forget about Retirement transfers, stocks within your previous employer's company, and if applicable, your HSA accounts. Get your bills in order and review your budget.
Be sure to consider unemployment if you have the option. When you are having financial stability concerns you may want to contact any creditors as most will be willing to work out an adjusted repayment plan.
Use Post It's:
Make your map. I LOVE POST IT'S! Use them when reading to keep track of your favorite quotes or inspiration. I love using them in a brainstorm session. They are great for creating a bubble map of your ideas, timelines and road maps.
Plan a getaway:
Okay friend, this is the time to take a vacation. You may not have the funds, but there are lots of low-cost options to plan a getaway. Do not waste this time wallowing. Make every day off count.
Make a bucket list of the places you have always wanted to visit and the things you have always wanted to do. For inspiration search "bucket list" on Pinterest and you will find loads of amazing places to see and things to do.
In the first two weeks after I lost my job, we went on a ski trip in the Lutsen Sea Villas with friends. After taking a nap and my husband still sleeping, I snuck out to the hotel sauna / hot tub for some R & R. When I got there our couple friends were just leaving. I happily grabbed a cold cider beer and sat to relax in their massive hot tub.
There were two women and their daughter, 16 or so, at the opposite end that had been chatting. One of the women soaked up a conversation with me and then asked me what I did. I froze.
Have a plan for your elevator speech when meeting new people:
I didn't know what to say. For the first time in my life I was unemployed and so disappointed with my situation that I lied. I said, "I worked at...x retailer." She could tell I wasn't happy with my answer and said, oh I love that store, and that it was okay to work there. I immediate indicated that I worked at the corporate office and then she nodded with understanding.
What the fuck did I just do, was all I could think about. Why did I just lie, what should my response have been? I just got laid off yada yada, here is my sob story? No, I refuse to get pitied. But lying was not my game either. I was stunned.
I had spoken in front of hundreds of people before and yet that small question from one person totally tripped me up, "what do you do." Click here for more on how to create an elevator speech.
Be Yourself and Define Yourself on who you are rather than what you do
The other thing is people, your work does not define you.... I know that we all feel like it does, it it's not your everything. You still may be a mom, a dad, a caretaker, a wife, a husband, a proud dog mama. You're crazy about football or gardening, organizing or writing.
Everyone is defined by something and it doesn't need to be your work. Everyone is a critic and we all just need to do our best to define who we are in our own terms. Just don't get thrown off guard like me, have a plan, and don't lie, it's not classy.
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