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Career Talk with Paul Eze: What To Do When You Lose Your Job



Career Talk with Paul Eze is a weekly series on Bellanaija bringing insights, ideas on career growth, personal improvement and work issues for graduates and career individuals in collaboration with
Many can relate to how irritating and depressing it feels to suddenly wake up and find oneself out of a job. Losing your job (for any reason) isn’t always a savoury experience. While getting relieved of your job is a big issue, the single most important factor to your growth in this case is how you react to getting the pink slip.

Here, we explore 6 things you should do when you find yourself out of a job. These are tips to get you prepared for the next phase of your life and ensure that the setback of losing your job doesn’t derail your career growth and personal success.

Don’t Panic
Yes, losing your job is stressful and puts an end to an immediate source of income, but one thing you shouldn’t do is let anxiety overcome you. There are always options available when this happens. You should keep a cool head and plan your way out of the situation. You will not be able to make headway if you don’t have a clear head and an open mind.

A calm head can even help you gain some positives from the negative process of losing your job as this brief story shows. A woman who just lost her job instead of letting anger take hold of her sat down in her office and used her last hour to type a very persuasive letter to the HR Head showing why she deserved 3 months instead of 2 weeks severance pay. She got paid 3 months severance! she had extra funds for her to go with while hunting for a new job.

Take Stock
That time when you lose your job is the time to pause and take a critical look at the state of your affairs. What is your financial situation like? Do you have enough savings to last you a few months while you get your act together? This is probably the time when your bad saving habits catch up with you if you have very little to survive on. Taking stock of your financial and career situation will help you determine which options are open for you to pursue.

Explore Your Options
When you lose your job in your 20s, it is a very different ball game from when you find yourself out of a job in your 50s. Factors like age, financial status, personal ambition (maybe you’ve been nursing the dream to set up your own business venture) can all play a part in deciding the options you may follow.

Age may not be on your side and as a result the more viable options open to you may be self employment or starting a business. You need to sit and look at possible options open to you to pick up your life and get on with it.

Dust Up Your CV
If you feel you still got a chance to try your hand at another job then it’s time to take a look at that C.V. If you are like most people who are relatively comfortable in their last job, your C.V is probably in a neglected state, with no updates on achievements and educational qualifications. Take a look at that C.V once again and give it a good polishing. You can try some expert help with re-writing your CV.

Hone Your Skills and Identify other Possible Organizations to Work For
Depending on your career path, you will need to identify current and useful skills which you need to acquire, or improve on to brighten your chances at the job search market.

Also, depending on your level of career progression, your job search should now be a bit more targeted. This means you have some idea of the possible organisations you will be aiming to work for. This, of course, is based on relevance to your specialization. Getting the specifics will help you do the next thing you need to do to get a job offer (aside from searching online).

Network Strategically (offline and online)
Your network most times indicate how quickly your career path rises. Networking doesn’t mean harassing anybody you meet asking them to give you a job. It is, rather, a smart engaging of relevant people towards availing yourself of every opportunity for career advancement. Below are a few tips on networking you can use;

– Reach out to new contacts to introduce yourself and ask them if they have time to talk with you about their career path.
– Always ask new contacts interesting questions about their career path. Don’t let the focus be on you at first.
– Ask for advice, don’t ask for a job. They will know you are looking and if they can and want to help in this way they will.
– Ask if they know anyone else you can contact.
– Networking is about engaging your existing contacts as well as cultivating new relationships.
– Follow up. Follow their advice. Send thank you notes.

Photo Credit:
Paul Eze is co-founder of Ngcareers, Nigeria’s top jobs and career community where career individuals and professionals find interesting jobs, discover career insights. Using Ngcareers is free and easy; Click Here to Join


  1. mz bee

    January 15, 2014 at 2:49 pm

    Nice, just shared wit a frd, I hope he finds it handy!

  2. freda

    January 15, 2014 at 9:00 pm

    well written piece of Advice!

  3. Temi

    January 16, 2014 at 6:30 am

    What do you mean, ” don’t panic” am i a furniture? i just made a resolution to start saving for retirement two weeks ago. Forget don’t panic, abeg panic then jump to dust your CV and continue from there. Meanwhile remember, you absolutely positively must panic.

  4. Xtsy

    January 16, 2014 at 4:36 pm

    As long as u are not working for urself never feel comfy working for anyone including big organisations. Periodically improve on ur qualifications + skills and look around for better offers dictated by ur preferences be it money or a better work/life balance. If possible start ur own business or consultancy on the side as that may be all you may have to fall back on when the inevitable happens and this would save u a lot of anxiety and stress during ur ‘job seeking’ period. If ur business takes off – all the better for u, if it doesnt, at least it would keep u occupied till the next employment offer.
    During the ‘good times’ contributing to a pension, loss of income insurance, investment etc must be given priority over diverting funds into unprofitable habits or ventures.

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