You’ve spent many years building your career and establishing a place in the corporate world and feel secure about your future and the future of your family.
But what happens when it ends abruptly behind the euphemism of downsizing, reorganization, job redundancy or recession and you find yourself in your forties, fifties or even sixties without a job?
This is obviously a major blow to your ego and fragile self-esteem. The reality is that you are no longer identified by your job since your job defined who you were. Then there’s the loss in your way of life and the security it brings. You may wonder how you will make ends meet when there’s no money coming in except for a measly unemployment check. Probably, you are feeling numb and in disbelief.
Coping with job loss is devastating at any age, but even more so when you are older. It is especially compounded when you are close to retirement since it is a forced departure, unexpected. In addition, how do you redefine who you are at this stage of your life?
I had a client who had a wonderful career in non-profit business development. When she was terminated because of lack of funding, her world collapsed. Can she get another job that pays as well at this stage of her life (she was 55)?
Women and men experience their job loss differently.
Women are more relationship oriented and may find the loss of daily camaraderie and corporate team building very difficult to adjust to. So when women lose their job, they mourn not only the loss of their livelihood, but also the loss of connection with other people. Men, on the other hand, are trained to be more independent and to not put as much emphasis on their relationships for success. Men are task-oriented and their loss of status hurts their ego, their feelings of competency and well-being.
As with any loss, you have choices. You can stay fixated at the same devastating point and wallow in your misery or choose to move on. What seems to be a terrible setback, financially and emotionally, can actually be a catalyst for a hopeful new future and a new beginning.
My client wound up reinventing herself by starting a business of her own as a consultant and advisor to other nonprofits and small businesses. As her own boss, she is much happier and proud of her skills and accomplishments.
What can you do to make the transition easier?
- Identify your skills, interests and abilities. Perhaps this will enable you to find a new career or direction that will be even more fulfilling than the one you had before. Don’t let fear and procrastination sabotage your incentive to find or create new work.
- Develop your support or networking system, letting everyone know that you are looking for a job. In fact, never stop networking even after you have a job, since it’s important to stay current and in touch.
- Update your list of accomplishments. Be sure you have at hand your performance evaluations, newspaper write-ups, honors and awards, published material and accommodations. The more you’ve done, the better you can sell yourself.
- Make a conscious mind shift to create a new destination. You don’t want to sit idly by, waiting for things to unfold. Rather, create numerous connections, because it’s the relations you know that will encourage, support and guide you to be courageous in your new endeavors. You never know who amongst your acquaintances will have the best connections or advice.
Milton Berle once said, “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” With enthusiasm, energy and perseverance, you can move through this transition easier because the secret to victory is consistency and purpose. With added patience and a strong commitment, your future will show great promise and success.
Amy Sherman is a blogger with JenningsWire Online Magazine. You can read more posts by Amy here.
The online feature magazine, JenningsWire.com, is created by National PR Firm, Annie Jennings PR that specializes in providing book promotion services to self-published and traditionally published authors. Annie Jennings PR books authors, speakers and experts on major high impact radio talk interview shows, on local, regionally syndicated and national TV shows and on influential online media outlets and in prestigious print magazines and newspapers across the country.