How to bounce back after losing your job

Walking away from a role means losing more than money—significance, self of self—so here's what to know about how to get back on top and back in the market.

How to bounce back after losing your job is something we all need to know. At some point, most people will find themselves packing up their box of stuff and leaving a role, and it's important to have strategies in place to cope.

Truth is, losing your job can have far more significant impacts on your life than financial loss.

The loss of your job title and the significance you get from it can have devastating effects of your mindsets and mental health.

When you spend the majority of your waking life in a role that often forms a significant part of your identity, the person you have become is wrapped up in who you are at work.

Jobs define many people. You're at a party, meeting people ... the first question asked usually isn't about your first memory or what year would you like to time travel back to, but, "What do you do for a living?"

And the response is “I am a … ”

Jobs give us purpose. They provide us with focus, a reason to get up each day. They give routine, structure, recognition, and acknowledgement. They also help our creativity: new projects and opportunity.

We lead people, we make a difference, and it gives us a sense of achievement. Add to this a fancy title, and we get a lot our of certainty from our job.

According to Tony Robbins, one of our core drivers is significance. It's like oxygen: we need it to survive.

This need for significance could be related to when we lived in tribes of 150 or so. We had to feel like we were making and difference and contributing because without the tribe, we could not survive on our own.

The need for significance is very primal and hard-wired into our DNA.

If your job is the only place you get your significance, this can be dangerous if it gets taken away. Feelings of doubt, anxiety, low self-worth, low self-esteem and a severe drop in confidence can happen from losing your job title.

So knowing how to bounce back after losing your job is vital for mental health.

I have worked with hundreds of job seekers who question their worth, and have lost confidence in their ability and doubt their capacity to contribute. All of these feelings surface regardless of why they lost their job.

Your circumstances and your job title don’t define you.

Only the person you are matters.

Your character.

Your values.

Your beliefs.

How you show up matters.

Knowing how to bounce back after losing your job means knowing ways to build significance.

  • Give significance to others by limiting them up, mentoring, praising, acknowledging, and empowering them.
  • Build a routine that lifts you: Learning, reading, gratitude, meditation, exercise. These are proven to build confidence and fill the gap in the lost structure from having no job.
  • Get obsessed about a new skill or a hobby. Practice and experiment with new things. Throw yourself it this new pursuit. The mix of talent, creativity and effort puts us in a 'flow' state. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi said in his book Living in Flow when these three come together, we experience this flow state and releasing chemicals that make us feel euphoric.
  • Create purpose in your life, wake up each day for a reason. With a fresh start, you can turn that whisper in your heart into a flame. Don’t let the fire go out in your dreams. Nurture it, put wood on it, listen to it. In Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill wrote we must have a definite chief aim, a purpose. He says that men and women without purpose are drifters and dabblers.

We can turn to the dark side and get our need for significance met unresourcefully through arguing, violence, drama, hiding away, blaming and resentment.

Instead, wake each day with purpose. Believe that you have everything you need to rebuild. Remember what you have already achieved.

Our actions define us.

You may or may not be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but all you need is enough light to see your next step in any direction.

Light your way.

Daniel Burgess is a Pro Coach mentor at The Coaching Institute, and a speaker and coach. Working one-on-one, he has helped hundreds of people  develop self-belief and overcome their biggest challenges. He has coached thousands of people to rewrite their stories and chase their dreams.
There were times in Dan's life where he had to fight to survive. He has suffered horrific injuries, been jobless and homeless and had to rebuild more than once. His story is a reminder anyone can turn their life around and why he is so committed to the power of being defiant.
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Daniel BurgessThe Coaching Institute