Surviving Job Loss

11 Ways To Survive Job Loss And Bounce Back

Whether it’s expected or not, job loss usually comes with its share of difficulties. I think most of us can relate. I personally hate the feeling of having the proverbial rug pulled out from under my life.

With so many things that I can’t control, it’s nice to think that my job is something I have control over, but sometimes layoffs or random cutbacks take that control away. If you’re reading this, you know exactly how that feels.

However, I don’t think it’s a reason to just throw your hands up and quit. After all, if I had given up after all my difficulties, I would’ve never found my passion and purpose. So let me tell you right now, you can survive job loss and bounce back better than before.

1. Remember It’s Only Temporary

First off, trust me when I say it won’t last forever. Despite how it might seem, there are jobs out there. You might have to take something in a different field to tide you over financially while you look for something else, but you’re not going to be forever unemployed. Once you get past this line of thinking, it does get easier.

2. Learn From The Loss

Hindsight is 20/20, so I always say it’s a good idea to learn from what happened. Was there some kind of sign that a job loss was coming? Was there anything you could’ve done to prepare? Of course, I don’t want you to just learn from the loss itself, but take what you gained from your previous job and use it to your advantage. What new skills did you pick up? What about any co-workers with great connections you could use to get a new job?

3. Use Any Benefits Offered

If the job loss comes from a layoff, you may be entitled to benefits which will help you make the transition from job to jobless. I say take advantage of every benefit offered. For instance, if unemployment is available, get it and use the time to look for a new job. If free education is provided, use it to learn a new in demand skill. If you’re one of the lucky ones and get a severance package, use it to bridge the gap while you look for employment.

One thing I do recommend is keeping any health coverage (COBRA) until you can find something else so you don’t have a gap in coverage. After all, you never know what might happen.

4. Consider Trying Something New

I know your first thought is to find a job exactly what you had. I’ve searched and searched, but I can’t find any rule that says you’re only able to do the same job your entire life. Look at this job loss as a chance to try something new. You’d be surprised at how many different types of jobs are available that you already have the skills for or you can learn quickly through a few online courses on sites like Udemy and Coursera.

5. Re-Do Your Budget

In my opinion, the worst thing about a sudden job loss is the financial situation. I know we’ve all been told to have six months to a year’s worth of pay checks in savings, but how many of us actually have that luxury? If you do, you’re golden and have one less stress. For everyone else, you should consider re-doing your budget. I know it’s not fun, but cutting back will make this situation less stressful while you job hunt.

6. Create A Job Search Schedule

On the topic of job hunting, create a job search schedule. Think of it like a job itself. Spend X number of hours customizing resumes and cover letters, applying to jobs online, going out and putting in applications locally and even attending job fairs. Having this schedule helps to keep you on track. Plus, if you’re getting unemployment, you’ll need proof that you’re applying to places.

7. Recruit Support

I think one of the harder parts of surviving job loss is trying to do it alone. After any sudden transition, I believe you need support. Now is the time to talk to friends and family. Get emotional support and use them as network connections. The more people looking for a job, the quicker you’ll find something. Plus, you’ll have people to hold you accountable when you feel like giving up.

8. Start Networking Online

Do you have a LinkedIn account? If not, get one now. If you do, spruce up that profile. Start joining relevant groups, fine tune your profile to get better job matches and interact with connections. Many businesses are hiring exclusively on LinkedIn, so don’t miss out. The more opportunities available, the quicker you’ll bounce back and job loss will just be another obstacle you’ve overcome.

9. Try Starting Your Own Business

I know it’s not for everyone, but now might be the time to try starting your own business. Even if you just earn enough to get by for now, it’s something to help you keep your head above water until you find a new job. Many online businesses you can start with little to no money and you can learn the skills quickly if you’re willing to try. Try some of the ideas listed at Business News Daily and Entrepreneur (both online and offline ideas) if you need some inspiration.

10. Try Recruiters

You don’t have to be the only person looking for a job for yourself. If you have the money available, hire a recruiter or job hunting agency to do the leg work. They have connections you might never find on your own. Just be completely honest when answering their questions to get the best possible job matches.

11. Mourn, But Don’t Give Up

My last piece of advice is to give yourself some time to mourn. I’ve been there and it hurts. It’s this massive kick to your ego. So, give yourself some time each day to feel a little sad, but pick yourself back up and get to work on finding a new job. Each day, mourn less until you find that you don’t need to anymore.

I can’t promise that you’ll find a new job tomorrow, but I can promise you’ll survive this job loss if you don’t give up on yourself.

My name is Jess Brighton, a Minneapolis based Life, Adversity and Reinvention Coach. Learn more about me and my coaching services by visiting

If you have a question about this or another topic email me at to schedule your complimentary 30 minute strategy session.

Image: Anders Jildén