Never Let This Happen Again: Using the Lessons of Unemployment to Bulletproof Your Career


1. Do You Know What Went Wrong? If So, Take Responsibility for Your Role

If you lost your job for a specific reason that was made clear to you as you walked out the door, take responsibility for your share of these events. Losing a job can be a terrible blow to the ego, but instead of protecting yourself from pain by making excuses, blaming others, or chalking this event up to fate, have the courage to face your mistakes with clear eyes. Nobody is perfect…not even you.

2. Put the Past Behind You

Once you’ve done this, stop doing it. Mindfulness, self-analysis, and careful thought are essential to our growth as human beings. But ironically, overthinking actually holds us back. Know when it’s time to stop ruminating and turn the page.

3. Nobody Wants to Hear a Sad Story: They Only Want to Know What You Can Do For Them

Recognize that your potential employers really don’t care about the results of your reflection and rumination. They just want to know that you’ve done it. And they only want to know this so they can secure their own personal success and the success of their companies. As you look for new work, speak to these two things and these things only. Despite the details of your separation from your last job and your long unpleasant search process, what can you do for the company in front of you? Right now, in the present?

4. Failure is Invaluable (But Only If you Make it So)

There are three essential lessons involved in any form of job loss:

1) Where your real talent is – and is not.

2) What you enjoy doing versus the tasks you dislike.

3) How your own perception of your value differs from how your value is perceived by others.

If you have the courage to recognize that you just aren’t talented in certain areas (but of course you are in others), that’s a great start. So is your ability to recognize that you just don’t enjoy some of the tasks that the world expects you to love. So is your recognition that others won’t always see you the way you want them to. When your career burns to the ground, start the rebuilding process by facing these three difficult realities. Then adjust your course accordingly.

5. Open Yourself Up to Your Options and Alternatives…All of Them.

 If you can’t possibly imagine yourself doing anything outside of your current range of experience, pause. If you’ve only wanted one thing for your entire life (for example, becoming a mid-level medical equipment sales manager) and you can’t conceive of any other options for yourself, take a step back. You CAN conceive of other alternatives, and you will. You can either do this now, or you can wait until another event just like the last one (and then another) forces this lesson upon you. You CAN get a different job doing something else. You CAN go back to school and start over. You CAN start your own business, you CAN be a stay-at-home parent, you can, you can, you can. And you will. Once you accept this, it’s time to decide which of these varied paths you’ll choose as you launch the next chapter of your life.

LiveCareer, home to America’s #1 Resume Builder, connects job seekers of all experience levels and career categories to all the tools, resources and insider tips needed to win the job. Connect with us on Google+ and Youtube for even more tips and advice on all things career and resume-related.

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One thought on “Never Let This Happen Again: Using the Lessons of Unemployment to Bulletproof Your Career

  1. Pingback: When Bad Things Happen, Part 2 | @work: a career blog

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