Losing your job unexpectedly can feel like someone punched you in the stomach. For a minute you can't breathe, you can't focus, and you can't really take in what just happened to you. Words may echo vaguely in your head...words like cutbacks, layoffs, closing down. But it doesn't make sense. Surely, there's been a mistake.
Then the reality hits you. Your job is over. Your paycheck is gone. And, you might wonder, who are you if you are not defined by your work?
Let out the physical pain. Even though your head is spinning, you probably have enough strength to clean out your desk or walk to your car. And you might phone someone. But about now, you start to break down. You may sob, you may scream, you may pound your steering wheel, and that's okay.
Don't try to drive. Just let out as much of the anger, hurt, and frustration as you can. Get out and walk around, stomp, kick or do something else physical that will release the adrenaline without hurting yourself or anyone else.
When you feel calmer, you can assess where you are and begin to move forward. But let that pain out first, or you will carry it with you, to resurface again and again.
Get past the blame. It is not unusual to want to blame someone or something for taking your job away...the leaders of your company, the economy, or yourself. You shouldn't beat yourself up for initially feeling this way, but don't hang on to it either.
Make a plan to meditate or exercise to calm yourself, before you have a chance to feel bitter. Be proactive about remaining positive. If you realize your thoughts are starting to turn to blame, you will have a plan in place to switch to forgiveness, acceptance, and gratitude.
Turn to your Source. However you define God, or your higher power, go there as much as you can. Meditate, pray, pour your heart out, lay down your burdens, and find peace. Keeping that divine connection open throughout your transition will give you strength and guide your intuition toward the right path.
Remember, losing a job does not make you a loser. There's a clich that "someday we'll look back on this and laugh," and it's surprisingly true. Sometimes we need to be unsettled to find out what we really want.
Look at all your skills and talents. Look at all you've learned. Focus on all you have to offer, and all the great things you have left to do.
Get help wherever you need to. Talk with trusted friends, or a support group. The loss of a beloved job causes grief like any other loss. But it can also open new doors, where you can create a whole new life.