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“I’m sorry, but we have to let you go”

It doesn’t matter if it’s the result of job performance, Covid-19, or issues out of your control – losing your job is never easy.

Depending on the circumstances of your termination, you may feel betrayed by your employer, powerless over your own life’s direction, or blame yourself for not doing a better job.

Like any loss, losing a job can lead to anger, stress and a lack of confidence that feels impossible to rebuild. While this feeling of uncertainty and insecurity can feel overwhelming, there are steps you can start taking today to rebuild your confidence, with all people deserving of support to find meaningful employment.

With time, a supportive network, and a strategy for moving forward, you can start a new career with confidence.

Here’s how to build confidence after a job loss and make 2021 a success.

Process your emotions

Losing a job can trigger feelings of grief, anger and resentment. Like any form of loss, it’s important to process these emotions before moving on. Failure to fully deal with your emotions can leave you with pent up resentment that carries into your next opportunity – or prevents you from taking advantage of a new opportunity.

Acknowledge your feelings and challenge any negative thoughts about your self-worth or value. The little voice inside your head may grow louder and try to convince you your job loss was inevitable, or even deserved. Avoid falling into destructive habits to counter these thoughts – like drinking, drug use or binge-eating – as these will only provide short-term relief without addressing your confidence issues.

The central part of processing your emotions is accepting what’s happened. Maybe your job loss was unfair, or poorly managed, or entirely avoidable if not for Covid-19 – but it’s done now.
Once you accept the situation, you can move past it and start building your confidence again.

Share your feelings

Losing a job can feel embarrassing, but with unemployment during the Coronavirus pandemic reaching one million Australians you’re far from alone. Your natural reaction may be to withdraw as a result of these feelings, but don’t underestimate the benefits of surrounding yourself with the right people.

There is no shame in losing your job, and while being terminated may make you feel powerless, you are in control of the support networks you seek out. If your primary social group consisted of your former work colleagues, now is a good time to seek out friends and family you feel comfortable speaking with.

Socialising is an antidote to stress and lack of confidence. Many people facing unemployment assume opening up will burden their friends and family with the responsibility of finding solutions. The opposite is true, most people will be flattered that you have confided in them and offer passive listening to help you express yourself.

Find other ways to define who you are

Did you feel as though your previous job defined who you are? It’s natural for work to make up a huge part of your identity, that’s why “what do you do?” is such a common question when meeting new people.

Losing a job can lead to a loss of self-identity that causes a loss of confidence. When you have been defined by your job title, it’s easy to feel like you have no point or purpose without one. It’s important to remember that you are not defined by your job.

You can build confidence in who you are as a person by identifying and pursuing activities that make you happy, by trying new hobbies that bring you joy, or volunteering to help others. When you find new ways to define yourself, you’ll find your confidence rises regardless of the job title you hold.

Assess your professional skill set

‘Was I not good enough? Have my flaws been exposed? Did I deserve to fail?’

Losing your job can make you doubt your accompaniments and value. There are many factors contributing to job loss, from the impact of the Coronavirus to interpersonal relationships with other employees and managers – what doesn’t change are your accomplishments.

Take the time to assess your success.

  • What have I accomplished in my professional life?
  • What new skills have I developed?
  • Who did I help and how?

Answering these questions will help you remember your accomplishments and regain confidence, while also providing the perfect update to your CV when you’re ready to apply for new roles. Win-win!

Get back out there

Confidence is a practice, not a habit.

No one is robbed of their confidence permanently (even if it feels that way sometimes). By getting back into the job seeking world you’ll be able to celebrate small wins each day that slowly bring your confidence levels up.

Landing a new role is the most obvious version of putting yourself out there, but there are many smaller wins for you to celebrate as you build towards a new job. These include:

  • Update your CV and upload it to job seeking websites and boards
  • Optimise your LinkedIn profile and connect with industry peers
  • Join Facebook and LinkedIn groups to meet other jobseekers
  • Use your period of unemployment to learn new skills
  • Check for new job listings online at the same time each day

Doing one small thing at a time can snowball and help you build confidence as you find that new dream job.

Are you ready to regain your confidence in the job market?

As one of the millions of Australians who lost their job as a result of Coronavirus, or laid off due to other reasons beyond your control, losing a job can be one of life’s most challenging obstacles.

Along with the financial and practical hurdles to be overcome, your confidence is often the first thing to fall when you’re relieved of your job. While losing your job is out of your control, the steps you take are always within your control.

By taking time to process your termination, finding supportive networks to reach out to, and reframing the conversation going on inside your head, you can turn difficulty into opportunity.

Back2Work supports a range of job seekers looking for meaningful employment. For support with engagement and education, assessment, intervention and placement contact our friendly team on 1300 30 28 11 or fill out our contact form and we’ll help you find the best way forward.