A recent article by Wendy L. Patrick in Psychology Today says that for most of us career planning involves ‘insight and foresight’ – which is true whether you are trying to maintain your job and move up with your company…or when you realize it’s time to move on for your own professional growth and development.
But the COVID-19 Pandemic is not the usual job or market transition anyone could have foreseen…with many jobs that were stable two months ago now in limbo. Patrick notes that this job-loss scenario is particularly impactful for many people because they didn’t see it coming at all.
While some employees are fortunate to have positions that allow them to telecommute and maintain all or a portion of their salaries, many do not. More than 17 million people across the U.S. have filed unemployment claims so far, a number sure to rise before a phased reopening of the economy takes place.
With job loss comes the loss of income, but there are ways to prevent that financial distress from turning into anxiety and depression.
Although job coach Morgan Quist didn’t provide these with COVID-19 in mind, and some of them don’t apply under this pandemic scenario, she offered these tips for staying positive after losing your job:
- Connect with loved ones
- Get inspired by others’ stories
- Create and implement an action plan
- Work out, eat right and chill out
- Let go of the blame
- Remain grateful for what you do have
- Believe in your grand future
- Create instead of search
Quist writes that it’s essential to act on the basics as soon as possible, like filing for unemployment (if you’re eligible) and modifying your health insurance coverage – but keeping a positive mindset is just as important.
“Your mindset can make or break your success when it comes to managing job loss and creating your next career step, and it’s easy to start thinking about the worst-case scenarios,” she writes. “Instead, you need empowering thoughts and positive energy to pursue new opportunities, engage with your network and confidently approach prospective employers and clients.”
Similar to when a natural disaster like a hurricane devastates a region of the country, we’re all in a national holding pattern when it comes to finding out if our former or furloughed job will come back after this is over – and, if not, what our career will look like as a result of this economic shutdown.
Also, Patrick notes that many employees who have lost jobs due to COVID-19 argue they are not in the mood to focus on self-improvement – so they really need to focus on improving their mood.
If you are among that group, don’t hesitate to reach out to loved ones, friends, and family for encouragement. Likewise, if you still have a job but know someone in that position, take the time to offer your support and understanding. Patrick says these are “priceless emotional gifts in a challenging time of need” that may help unemployed individuals embark upon the road to recovery, both emotionally and financially.
Also, while our current situation may look bleak, the human race has faced harsh prospects throughout its history:
During the Great Depression, unemployment reached nearly 25 percent in the United States, but that meant that 75 percent of Americans had jobs.
During the Black Death, England lost somewhere between 40 and 60 percent of its population, but rose thereafter to world domination.
The Spanish Flu occurred during a devastating world war and killed 675,000 people in the United States alone (perhaps 50 million worldwide), yet the world economy grew from $4.74 trillion to $63.1 trillion during the balance of the 20th century.
As we’ve seen in the past, there’s always hope.