Losing your job is anything but nice. When you lose your job, if it was an important part of your life (and for most people is), the chances are you’re going to become depressed.
In an ideal world, when losing your job, to be an optimist would mean to let go of whatever negative feelings may appear and understand the amazing opportunity that’s been handed to you. But for most people letting go requires practice and, because practice is missing, whenever you face the unpleasant situation of losing your job, you get to live the negative emotion.
At that moment, the better you’re dealing with the unpleasant, the faster you’ll move on. So, how great do you think you’re dealing with losing your job?
How to prevent the negative feeling of losing your job and what to focus on
The negative feeling resulting from losing your job is a mix of lacking clarity, experience, and certainty.
It’s about lacking clarity because, in that specific moment, it may not be clear to you anymore what are the things you’re good at. If you got fired because your manager didn’t like your work anymore, then you may understand that your work is not good in general and you’ll lose the clarity over your ability to do your job.
It’s about lacking experience because you may not have the experience for doing the things you’re supposed to do or the new things you may want to do. This happens when you are a junior or when you want to shift to another industry with which you haven’t been in contact at all.
It’s about lacking certainty because your job may be your only source of income and without that monthly salary, you may not be able to survive more than a few months. Literally. Even more if your salary is low or you have a family to feed.
Therefore, how do you get to prevent all this from happening?
Before losing your job, know what you’re good at
Let’s say you have a 9-to-5 job and you’re getting new projects every week and every month.
Those projects require a set of skills and, because you’re in charge of them, you’re the responsible person, right?
To know what you’re good at, all you have to do is to make a list of all your projects, the skills that you’ve used inside those projects, and all the responsibilities that you’ve had. It’s that simple.
Then, when you get fire, open that list and read it out loud. It will help you remember who you are and won’t the negative feelings take over.
If you want to get even more out of this, here’s the next step.
Think of yourself and the skills and responsibilities that you have. How much do you believe someone like you should earn per hour? Is it $5, $10, $25, $50? Is it more?
As soon as you know that and it’s clear to you why someone like you should earn that amount of money, then next to each task and/or project, write how much it took you to finish it, in hours.
In case you get fired and you’re left without a job, you’ll know how much money you’re worth.
Before losing your job, become good at something
In case you have just started a career and you got your first job, it’s time to become good at something.
The amazing part about this is that it doesn’t have to be related to your job. It can be anything. If it is related to what you’re doing at your job, then it’s amazing. But if it’s not, don’t worry about it.
The key here is to be consistent.
If you have a 9-to-5 job and you leave your house at 8 in the morning just so you can get back home at 6 or 7 in the evening, then you may find all the excuses in the world to not work more.
But working overtime won’t happen forever.
Let’s say you work another 90 minutes once every 2 days. After one year, you’ll have invested a bit over 270 hours into learning a new skill (related to your job or not) that you will have as a backup in case you lose your job.
When you do this, as important as being consistent is to do something that you’re passionate about. Pick whatever you’re passionate about, try to find a way you would be able to monetize it or a part of it, and then become great at it.
In case you get fired and you’re left without a job, having another skill will make it easier for you to find another job.
Before losing your job, save money
The more you depend on money, the more important saving money gets.
If your parents or spouse can support you financially and money is not a real issue, then saving money, in this case, is not as important as the other two situations.
Nonetheless, saving money in general (with or without losing a job) is something anyone should learn. After all, we live in a society ruled by money and money is the decisional factor for most situations. Therefore, having money is crucial and saving them is an important part of having money.
What does optimism mean when losing your job?
When losing your job, optimism means becoming aware of your skills and capabilities, making sure you have enough money to survive until you find your next job, and building yourself a portfolio so you can make the process easier.
Since we covered the first two already, let’s dive a bit more into building a portfolio, when should that happen, and how one should do it.
When should you make a portfolio?
A portfolio is great for showcasing your skills.
Whenever you get to be left without a job, having a portfolio at your disposal so you can send it to companies is great, but I wouldn’t work on building a portfolio before losing a job.
Let’s say you have a job right now and, because you want to be prepared in case you lose it, you start building your portfolio. Therefore, you invest (let’s say) between 10 and 20 hours in the course of a month to build your portfolio and you’re satisfied with how it looks and what you put in it.
But then one year passes and you still have your job. Will that portfolio be good? Maybe, but it won’t be up to date.
After you create your portfolio and the more time passes, the more you’ll be at a disadvantage because your portfolio won’t contain all your latest work. Even more, while it takes you up to a month to create a portfolio when you have a full-time job, it takes you one week (sometimes you can even do it in a few days) to have your portfolio ready after you got fired. Even more, you get to focus only on building your portfolio.
Therefore, start building your portfolio only after you lost your job, not before.
How should your portfolio look like and what should you put inside?
Your portfolio should have a clean design and should contain your most important and impactful work.
When it comes to the design of your portfolio, to get yourself inspired, just search on Google for ‘clean portfolio template’ or go on websites like freepik.com and do the same search.
When it comes to what you should mention inside your portfolio, besides listing all your projects, tasks, responsibilities, and skills, and adding all your work, make sure you mention how your work improved the business in general.
Also, you should mention how hard or easy was for you to work with others, the obstacles that you faced and how you overcame them, and how all that work helped you improve yourself, as a person.
How to find a job you love?
Most people are searching for a specific thing they want to do when it comes to their next job. For example, someone may be looking to do marketing.
Some people are searching for a specific way of doing what they want to do when it comes to their next job. For example, they don’t want to do marketing in general, but they want to do Facebook Ads.
And finally, only a few people are searching for a place they can resonate with, no matter what they’ll be doing.
Focus on why you want to do it
If you want to find a job you love, don’t focus on what you’ll be doing or how you’ll be doing what you’ll be doing, but focus on why you’ll be doing the things you’ll be doing.
That is why it is important to know the cause of the company you’re going to join.
Even more, in this case, while your portfolio is important, you have to make it clear that you’re willing to learn new things and adapt to the company’s needs.
For example, let’s say you are a great designer and you’ve been drawing characters for the last 5 years. Your portfolio is full of character design and you’re proud of your work.
You send your portfolio to over 30 companies and around 5 of them reply, saying that they want to work with you. You pick the higher bidder and that’s it.
But then, a while after you get the job, you realize that you don’t really feel comfortable in the environment of this company. Also, it seems that they don’t really have a strong way of organizing their projects and for you it is really important.
What if, instead of picking this company, you decide to give a chance to another one that is not looking for someone who can draw characters, but for someone who can design their next product.
For sure, you’ll have a lot to learn. There’s no doubt about it. And, in the beginning, the salary is not that great. But the environment is amazing, they organize their projects meticulously, and they care about each other.
Pay attention to your S.C.A.R.F.
According to neuroscience, there are 5 areas you have to focus on if you want to have a fulfilling life. These areas are:
- Status: the most significant determinant of human longevity and health;
- Certainty: when sufficient certainty is present, our brain senses patterns, successfully predicts next steps, and operates much more efficiently;
- Autonomy: when we feel more autonomous, we’re much more resistant to stress;
- Relatedness: the ability to feel trust and empathy about others is shaped by whether they are perceived to be part of the same social group;
- Fairness: the perception of unfairness creates an environment in which trust and collaboration cannot flourish.
Think of these 5 areas as buttons that your mind has and if you know when and how to push them, you’ll win the game called ‘Living a fulfilling life’.
At the same time, since these buttons are available to any brain, not just yours, you’re not the only one playing this game. Therefore, you should pay attention to how others are pushing your buttons and how you are pushing others’ buttons.
When you’re trying to make a difference between needs and wants, the more buttons are involved, the higher chances are that you are talking about a want. You should ask yourself which one of the 5 buttons mentioned above is pushed.
Is it status? Are you going to be recognized when the project is finished?
Is it certainty? Do you have a clear understanding of the benefits that project is providing to you? Are you happy with those benefits?
Is it autonomy? Do you have the freedom to do the things you want to do inside that project? Can you express your creativity and ideas freely?
Is it relatedness? Do you feel connected with people who value the things you value inside that project? Is your team on the same page you are?
Is it fairness? Do you believe you are as involved as your colleagues in that project? Is the salary fair in relation to your involvement?
Whenever you’ll have to find yourself a new job, think of these 5 elements, see which are important to you and in which way. It will help you better choose your next job.
Be passionate about it
To make myself clear, when I say that you should be passionate about it, I’m not referring to a specific skill but a specific cause.
I’m not saying be passionate about marketing, cardiology, painting, or fishing. Instead, I’m saying be passionate about educating children about finances, saving the environment, or reducing poverty.
Whatever you choose to do next, make sure you’re passionate about the long-term that you’re chasing, not the specific things that you’re doing daily. What you do on a daily basis is connected to the cause, the team behind the cause, and the way you’re advancing the cause.
As long as you’re passionate about the cause you don’t have to be passionate about your daily work. It will happen naturally.
Other ways to look at not having a job
For some people, not having a job is the end of the world.
What I’m trying to say with this article is exactly the opposite: losing a job is not the end of the world. On the contrary, it may be the best thing that has ever happened to you.
Therefore, instead of seeing it as the end of the world, here are other ways to look at not having a job:
- It is the freedom to find something new to learn;
- It is the freedom to change the industry and do something entirely different;
- It is the opportunity to understand yourself better;
- It is the opportunity to spend more time with your friends and family;
- It is the advantage that you have over someone who can’t quit their job;
- It is the pleasure of taking the time to decide what you do next.
Not having a job is not the end of the world but a great way of redefining your life. Take advantage of it.
Save the above list (or this article) and when the time will come and you’ll be left without a job, just review the list and remember that there’s something great ahead, waiting for you.
What if having a job is not for you?
When it comes to having a job, you may think about the traditional 9-to-5 job, where you leave your home, go to an office, spend 8 or 9 hours there (sometimes more), and then go back home.
Before COVID-19, that was the definition of a job for most people. But now, people started to open their minds and eyes and see that things can be done differently. Maybe some of them even decided to quit their jobs and do something entirely different.
So, if a 9-to-5 or a remote job is not for you, then what are your options?
One thing you could do is to become a solopreneur. This is what I’m doing while having a job. Right now, I’m building my business (which is mainly represented by the website davidtheoptimist.com) and I’ll keep doing it until one day it will be able to provide the desired income so I won’t have to have a job.
Another thing you could do is to become an entrepreneur. The difference between solopreneurs and entrepreneurs is that entrepreneurs hire people and get to work with people. Solopreneurs are, as the word states, solo. They take care of everything, from developing products, marketing, sales, technical stuff, and so on.
If a job is not for you, I recommend you find ways to have a business. And even if a job is for you, having a business is a great source of a second income that can eventually bring you more freedom.
With love and optimism,