Each one of us have likely experienced a rollercoaster of emotions six months into quarantine life due to the pandemic. Perhaps shock and denial followed by anger and frustration, grieving the loss of what we know to be the “norm”, and finally some level of acceptance as we head into the fall. The stress level may have tripled for those who have survived the loss of a job due to the shutdown and economic decline. While nothing in the world (except for getting hired) may seem to soothe this pain, there are some practical steps you can take even in these tough times.
STEP 1: Being okay with not being okay
Acknowledge to yourself that you may be going through a lot of emotional distress right now. And that is okay. Feeling helpless, hopeless, angry, and even numb is totally normal because of what you went through. Give yourself permission to feel all these emotions and let them out. Do what you need to do during this time — vent to friends and family, reflect, write a journey with all your thoughts and feelings, veg out if you have to — know that it is completely okay for you to accept yourself for going through what you’re going through.
STEP 2: Take one step at a time
Even as you are going through this challenging time, find something to be grateful for each day. Do something that will make you smile and maybe even laugh. While not pressuring yourself, look for ways to find something good every day. Work out, read a book, meditate, pray, etc. As cliche as it may sound, count your blessings and see what things you have taken for granted that you can remember to give thanks for.
STEP 3: File for unemployment
Research and find out if you qualify for financial help and start filing an unemployment claim in your state. While this may take some time and patience because these offices are likely flooded with calls, once you apply, you may be able to receive financial support that will help you get through the challenging times. If your company has a severance package, review all the documents to be clear about the package.
STEP 4: Take time to reflect, and pivot if necessary
This may be an opportune time for you to think about your work experience and what may be the best steps forward. While losing a job is never easy, it may be just the opportunity you needed to consider your career trajectory, and whether this job was even aligned with your values, passions, and goals. Many people realize in hindsight that being let go from a job they felt stuck in was one of the best events of their lives because it forced them to face the tough decision of whether to stay in the same field or take a risk with their passions.
STEP 5: Connect with your community
It’s more important to connect with your community than ever before. While you may not feel like speaking to people when your ego may be bruised due to the layoff, know that people from all walks of life want to support you. Take this time to connect with people as human beings, ask about their health, families, and share things about yours. As you connect with those whom you care about, you will soon see that these conversations will lead to ideas, advice, and opportunities.