Even if you’ve never gone through a breakup in a relationship, you’ve probably been around others who have, or at the very least seen a television show or movie where someone gets dumped or walked out on. Ever noticed how quickly many of those people get right back into the swing of things with a date set up by their friends, and how it just doesn’t seem to work out long-term? Dating on the rebound.
On the other hand, sometimes the person steps back from dating altogether and does some self-assessment and figures out what exactly they’re looking for in a partner, how much they may have changed themselves, and while they don’t cut themselves off from the opposite sex, they do limit that interaction to conversation and not necessarily a full-blown date for a period of time while they ‘get their stuff together’ and mourn the past relationship depending on how long it lasted.
Why would job searching be any different? Sometimes I hear people who have been in a long-term relationship with an employer and are now out of work, state that they are right back at it and prepared to take the first job they can get, especially in our tight economy. While it’s commendable in some respects, on the other hand it can lead to a poor fit and a short-term job which they’ll either quit or be let go from prior to meeting their probationary period.
The reason things don’t work out on the rebound often is the same for job seekers as it is for those in new relationships; not enough time was spent thinking about what happened and why, and assessing what is important and needed in the next job, the next Supervisor, the next workplace culture or atmosphere. You can tell it’s still raw and an emotional subject when you ask someone to tell you why they left their last job and they tell you they’d rather not talk about it.
Now just to be clear, I’m not suggesting at all that you take months to mourn and wallow with ice cream and chocolates with the drapes pulled and shuffle around your apartment shutting yourself off from all human contact. Far from it. What I’m suggesting as a consideration is that if you are in the situation of having been fired, laid off or released in some way from a job initiated by the employer, you take time to take stock of things prior to setting off down the street with your resume.
First of all, it’s important to objectively ask yourself if your release was something beyond or within your control and to be honest about it. If you were laid off because the company didn’t have enough work, that’s not something you can control and you won’t have as much damage to your self-image as say you might if you were underperforming and know it and that led to you being released for not achieving goals and targets that others met. That is something that may have been entirely in your control, and you know deep inside you just didn’t exert the required effort.
Next it’s a good exercise to think about the environment you worked in. Was it noisy, dusty, casual, demanding, indoors, outdoors, friendly, professionally run, unionized, etc. What did you enjoy and not enjoy about the job, the people you worked with, the responsibilities that you were given, the commute to work, the hours of the job, the location, the clients or customers, your co-workers, management, training opportunities etc.
Get a hold of your past performance reviews and look them over. Were there signs and directives for improvement and did you or didn’t you hit those? Look for words of encouragement and praise for performance on those that at this fragile time will help boost your ego and you may also be able to use these in future interviews when the question comes up, “How would your last employer describe you?”
Now ask yourself after this time, “Do I want a job exactly like the last one or am I looking for something different? If you want some changes in your next job, what are they? Maybe you are seeking a Supervisor with a different style, or a change in working conditions, or a move right out of the entire field and try something new. Perhaps you want to take your accumulated knowledge, contacts, skills and expertise and open your own company and launch your business. You have options.
Of course the amount of time required for this assessment and reflection period will change from person to person just as the amount of time required to mourn the death of a family member varies from person to person. It’s still a period of grieving; a time of life when you’ve experienced a shock that came unexpected, and you’re entering a period that’s unstable, uncertain and you hope will eventually be replaced by whatever is your ‘new normal’.
Just like after a failed relationship however, you’ll seldom find answers in the bottom of a glass sitting at a bar; at least justify it to yourself as a good place to start networking if you do however!
All the best in this period of transition. And something else to think of on that note; if you’re in transition, that means where you are now isn’t where you’re going to stay, so whatever you’re feeling now will pass and it’s the future you can influence based on decisions you make in the here and now.
All the best.