How to pick your­self up af­ter be­ing fired from your role

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Business & Appointments - - FRONT PAGE -

WHAT do you when you’re in your 50s and find your­self with­out a job? Not be­cause you re­tired with a comfy pen­sion, mind you, but when you still need to find a way to earn a liv­ing? Well, among other things, you may write to me.

That’s what Pat from the Mid­lands did this week and his story touched a nerve. Mine.

Pat wrote to say he was wronged at the place he had worked all his adult life. He sought cor­rec­tion through the courts but ul­ti­mately lost.

Now, a year af­ter the fi­nal judg­ment, he re­mains “de­pressed” and finds it hard to lift him­self from the “gloom which has put im­mense strain on my wife and fam­ily”.

I am sen­si­tive to Pat’s sit­u­a­tion be­cause it re­minded me of how I felt back in 2008 when I was fired from my job.

I wasn’t in my 50s but I also wasn’t plan­ning to sud­denly be re­moved from a steady pay cheque.

At the time, I was the se­nior vice-pres­i­dent of a pow­er­ful govern­ment af­fairs firm in the United States.

I’d come back to the of­fice af­ter the birth of my daugh­ter when I abruptly and with­out warn­ing was told my ser­vices were no longer needed. I vividly re­mem­ber the emo­tional roller-coaster that be­ing zapped out on your keis­ter puts you on.

When it comes to self-worth, only one per­son’s opin­ion really mat­ters: yours.

Un­for­tu­nately, other peo­ple’s com­ments and ac­tions can im­pact our opin­ions of our­selves. It takes plenty of pos­i­tive self-talk, ef­fort and de­ter­mi­na­tion to get mov­ing again.

I’m no psy­chol­o­gist, so I’m not of­fer­ing my sug­ges­tions be­low as a sub­sti­tute for coun­selling for clin­i­cal de­pres­sion af­ter a job loss.

But, for me, and oth­ers who have shared sim­i­lar sto­ries with me, here’s what helped: 1) Stop wal­low­ing Ouch. This is hard. Some­times even to this day, I can imag­ine my­self in that set­tle­ment­medi­a­tion room and think of some­thing I didn’t say that I wish I would have.

As for Pat, I don’t know the ins and outs of his story, and of course, he only pre­sented his view.

But I do know it dragged on for years, which must make it all the more dif­fi­cult to stop think­ing about what might have been said or done dif­fer­ently.

I also know this: the com­pany has long moved on.

If we’re to suc­cess­fully tran­si­tion into the next phase of our lives af­ter any dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tion, we have to fo­cus on what we can change and not want we can­not.

The past is in the past. Write down what’s on your mind. Then dra­mat­i­cally burn the pages in some cer­e­mony or what­ever.

Just pur­pose­fully find a way to stop re­play­ing the sce­nar­ios that make you seethe and stop imag­in­ing dif­fer­ent out­comes.

Once we fully un­der­stand it’s our thoughts that cre­ate our feel­ings, we can steel our­selves against our own neg­a­tiv­ity. 2) Get ac­tive One of the best ways to shake off neg­a­tive feel­ings and frus­tra­tions, is to get shak­ing. I mean it. The big­ger the bet­ter.

Af­ter I lost my job, we sold the house and every­thing in it. Moved to France. Okay, that may be too dra­matic for you.

But even be­fore you dust off your CV or visit a job place­ment of­fice, get busy. Get dressed. Get away from the TV or Net­flix. Get out of the house. Go for a jog. Go to the gym. Gar­den. Get your hair cut. Vol­un­teer at a char­ity. Do stuff. Do lots of stuff.

A friend of mine in New York got laid off and the first thing she did was buy a dog.

It forced her out of the apart­ment at least twice a day. It also forced her to think about some­one be­sides her­self. That’s im­por­tant too.

Get your­self into a sched­ule and you’ll get bonus points if you can make it in­volve oth­ers who de­pend upon you. You need to feel needed again. 3) Ask for help Don’t be em­bar­rassed. First thing to re­mem­ber is that most ev­ery­one else in the world is caught up in their own sit­u­a­tions, they’re not dwelling on yours. They may not even be aware. So ask. For ideas, ref­er­ences, con­tacts, a short-term project, what­ever you may need to get you go­ing.

My friend Tony, who at one time em­ployed a hun­dred peo­ple as a pub­li­can in Cork, had to de­clare bank­ruptcy at the depth of the Ir­ish re­ces­sion.

When it was over, he didn’t have any­thing. Not a home. Not a car. He asked around and a friend sold him a van for €500. 4) Get cre­ative Tony then bought a used portable oven and be­gan driv­ing to fairs sell­ing piz­zas un­til he got back on his feet. It wasn’t ex­actly his pub­li­can roots, but cre­atively close.

For me, I asked ev­ery sin­gle con­tact I had if I could take on some free­lance writ­ing, edit­ing, voice-overs — things I wasn’t nec­es­sar­ily do­ing at the time I lost my job, but I things I knew I was good at. You can get cre­ative too. Once you be­gin earn­ing even a lit­tle money, your self-es­teem will im­prove.

You’re not too old to be­gin again at any age. How do you know when your mis­sion on Earth is over? Are you still alive? Then it’s not over.

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