Behavioural Change Brought On With Unemployment

I feel a lot of empathy for you if you’re unemployed and really motivated to find work. Having had times in my life when I’ve been out of work I know personally the ups and downs of job searching with little success until that moment of euphoria comes when you hear the words, “We’re offering you a position”.

The interesting thing about being unemployed is that it’s both the lack of employment and the lack of income that while related, force us to make changes in behaviour; to do things differently than we’ve done. It’s these changes in behaviour that elevate our stress levels. Understanding this can and does help immensely.

For starters, very few people actually look for employment when they are employed. If you are the exception, I’ll still bet you don’t go about looking for another job with the same level of intensity that you would were you entirely out of work. After all, your motivation for wanting a different job than the one you have at the moment is more for personal satisfaction or happiness, wanting to accelerate your career or to build on your current income. The work you do in your current job provides some level of income however, and so if you feel tired when you can finally turn to looking for work, you feel no hesitation to put off seriously looking for another day without guilt. There is much less urgency.

When you’re out of work completely, things change out of necessity. Suddenly you find yourself having no choice but to engage skills that might be rusty or completely foreign to you. Writing cover letters, thank you notes, lining up references, networking for leads, composing resumes, marketing yourself. You may not have had to do these things for a while and you might not find these things pleasant, so you haven’t invested any real-time in keeping up with latest trends in job searching or what employers want.

Secondly there’s the change in income or rather your change in behaviour that has to happen when your income changes. You can either keep spending like you’ve been used to and you’ll increase your personal debt, or you have to cut back and save where you can. Saving money and spending only what you have to is a change in behaviour that can add to your stress. Maybe you drop the social dinners out on Friday nights, start clipping coupons, drop the 3 coffees a day at your local café and only use the car when it’s necessary to save on fuel.

These two changes regarding your spending and having to engage in job search activities are both necessary and both things you’d typically like to avoid having to do. Here then is the reason for the stress; unwanted but necessary activity you begin to engage in.

While I acknowledge that we are unique in many ways, it is also fair to say that in many ways, most of us share similar feelings when out of work. We might feel embarrassment, shame, a lack of pride etc. and want to keep our unemployed status from friends and extended family. If we could only get a new job in a week or so we could then tell people that we’ve changed jobs. We do this of course because we want to save face, protect our ego, avoid worrying over what others might think of us and wanting to keep our relationships as they are. We worry they might re-evaluate us, think poorer of us, maybe even disassociate themselves from us. Ironic then that while worrying about possibly being disassociated with us many unemployed isolate themselves from social contact.

But I get it. When you’re unexpectedly out of work, you have really two options; get job searching immediately with intensity or give yourself a reasonable period in the form of a mental health break. This time might be good for grieving the loss of your job, venting the anger and bitterness until you can focus better on looking forward not back. You don’t want a trigger of some sort to suddenly have you spewing out venom towards a previous employer in a job interview after all.

When you’re ready to focus on looking for a new role, ask yourself as objectively as you can if you have the necessary skills to job search successfully. You might be good in your field of work, but are you as highly skilled as you need to be in marketing yourself? How are your interview skills ? Are you in uncharted waters or have you kept your résumé up-to-date?

I understand that job searching ranks pretty low on most people’s list of enjoyable activities. It’s understandable then that if you too don’t love job searching, you’ve done little to invest any time or money in honing your skills in this area. Suddenly of course, you hope the skills you do have will see you through.

You’re in a period of transition and you’ll feel a range of emotions. You’ll get frustrated, maybe even educated on how things have changed since you last looked for a job. You’ll feel demoralized perhaps and hopefully encouraged at times too. It’s the broad swings of emotions, raw and real that can catch you unprepared. These are normal when you are forced to deal with change out of necessity.




Let Go The Bitterness And Resentment

Are you or is someone you know carrying around resentment and bitterness; directed perhaps at a former employer or someone who you feel betrayed you? If  you are, I imagine they’ve changed you in ways you are both aware of and yes in some ways you are oblivious to.

The significant thing about carrying around these negative feelings towards others is that it’s unhealthy for you; you the person who feels wronged. Ironically, doesn’t it always seem that the person who our bitterness and anger is directed towards seems entirely to have moved on themselves, which as a result only fuels more resentment on our part? Yeah, that can sting and cause the bitterness to linger and fester.

I was talking recently to someone who was fired from their job about 7 months ago now. When we began talking, I was unaware of the fact she’d been fired and therefore eventually asked her what happened in her last job. Just as the words left my lips, I noticed a physical change in her appearance and my ears picked up a change in both the words she was using and the volume in her voice. The fact that she was fired in her last job is to this day still so fresh and the experience so personal that it was clear in seconds she hasn’t found a way to deal with the experience and resolve it in her own mind. The rawness of what happened 7 months ago obviously lies just below the surface of her otherwise calm and professional exterior and just asking triggered the emotional response I experienced first hand sitting across from her.

Like I said earlier, are you yourself or is someone you know similarly affected? If so, it’s essential to eventually come to accept what’s happened, deal with it and move on. Sounds easy to do right? Well, if it’s never happened to you personally it might be hard to understand why someone can’t just pick themselves up, put it down to a bad experience and forget about it. The thing is however, it’s like you’ve been wronged and as a victim you want some measure of retribution, maybe a little karma to come to the person who fired you. There’s the devilish but perhaps immature side of us that might not be all that upset if the person’s car got a mysterious scratch all down one side of it, or if the person themselves was fired. Yes, that would be lovely but don’t go scratching any cars, setting fire to businesses or anything else that will make things worse for you than they already are.

When you first get fired you probably feel some measure of shock. “What just happened?” There’s a kind of paralysis where you just got some news that confuses your sense of order and you stop to process what you just heard. Feeling anger is normal; after all you’re probably fearful of how to cover financial commitments, you’re worried about how to get the next job; wondering how long it will take to work again, and you’ve never been fired before so it’s normal to feel out of your league, confused and disoriented. This is often why it’s best not to say much because you might say things you later regret and wouldn’t otherwise say.

No doubt you might also feel some measure of embarrassment and shame. You may have always thought to yourself that when other people got fired they were either somewhat or totally responsible; they stole, lied, showed up late too often, missed too many days of work, mouthed off etc. and you yourself did none of it. What will your family and friends think of you? What will potential employers think of you? How will you convince them this firing was beyond your control or if you did do something you now regret, how can you convince the employer you learned from the experience and it won’t be repeated?

It’s not uncommon to eventually feel some measure of despair if you’re not hired as quickly as you first thought. Eventually though, you want to arrive at a point where you can acknowledge the termination happened without overtly showing or revealing bitterness and anger. After all, while you are entirely allowed to feel hurt by the process, you don’t want this potential employer you are sitting in front of to experience your negativity first hand. This could be an unpleasant side of you they don’t ever want to have in their workplace and they’ll wonder if this isn’t you on a regular basis; which of course it typically isn’t right?

If the job you were fired from was a short-term position, you may wish to leave it off your resume entirely. It isn’t mandatory to have it on your resume so the question of why did you leave doesn’t even come up. It will create a gap which you will need to address if asked, but with some coaching you can come up with a much more positive response.

Let go of the bitterness and anger because it just isn’t healthy or worth it to carry it around. You may find that others (especially those closest to you) will notice and appreciate your change in attitude, behaviour and you’ll be nice to be around.

In other words, you’ve grown and risen above the experience. Well done. You’ll get there.



Job Interviews And Facial Expressions

When we flex our facial muscles in various combinations and degrees, we produce different expressions, and it’s these expressions that give those who see us clues as to our emotional state. Facial gestures and expressions can communicate our sense of well-being, our mood and personality.

It’s these facial expressions that make us approachable or send the message we’d rather be left alone. We can communicate happiness, excitement, fear, loathing, pride, acceptance, ignorance and any number of other feelings just by changing our facial expressions; sometimes with small subtle movements or conversely with wild animated exaggerations.

This much you probably know already. How aware are you however of your facial expression at any one time? Most of us are pretty good at putting on the right face at the right moment. We get some bad news for example but put on a courageous face when the kids enter the room because we don’t want them to pick up that something is wrong. Or we roll our eyes when someone is boring us with a story but the second they make contact with us again we snap back to a look that communicates deep interest.

You can look at any number of faces and more often than not approximate the right mood or message that person is communicating without them saying a single word. Whether its pain, sadness, despair, anger, joy, elation, surprise, gratitude or longing, we can identify the message because facial expressions are universal.

When you’re looking for work, it is as you know a pretty frustrating experience much of the time. The stress of applying and hearing nothing at all in return or being rejected over and over can start to take over our general mood more often than we’d like. If our unemployment period is extensive, there is a very real danger that the smiling face we used to present to the world becomes replaced with furrowed brows, stress lines and more often a neutral or negative norm.

So this is what we should be aware of and fight back against; the danger of losing our generally friendly disposition and smile. After all, when job searching, we want to encourage contact with people, we need those connections to increase our odds of being viewed favourably by others as a positive addition to their workforce. The last thing we want to come across as is brooding and oppressive just by the look on our face. That kind of message received by those around us would cause many to refrain from approaching or wanting to be around us; at a time of course when we need those very people to give us tips, leads and open doors to opportunities.

It is a real testament to the strength of a person who can go about their job search and sustain a positive attitude when it’s so easy and tempting to share the setbacks and disappointments. Keeping a positive outlook, and a look on our faces as we look for work that looks out on all who see us is a big plus. After all, if you can stay positive, look enthusiastic and communicate this with your face, you should be able to convince an interviewer that you’ll bring the same attitude to the workplace and work with the same positivity when things get tough there.

Throughout your interview, you’ve got a lot to consider and thinking on your feet as questions get asked of you can be challenging for some people. Your face will communicate many different messages to the employer. You will want to communicate pleasure in answering questions about the job because you’re fired up about it. You’ll also communicate being thoughtful as you consider questions and search your memories for the best way to answer. What you want to avoid is looking perplexed, out of your league, intimidated, confused or unsure.

Of course the first impression you make on the people you meet the day of the interview is critical. A genuine smile and giving people your full attention by looking directly at them will communicate strength, assertiveness, friendly and confident. All of these are desirable impressions to make on those you meet. Whatever you do, don’t give the Receptionist a bland or negative face and then instantly turn on the charm for the person who comes out to greet you for the interview. The Receptionist may be asked for their assessment of you, or they could in fact not be the Receptionist at all, but just covering for the Receptionist until they return, and you’re facing the Interviewer all along!

If you wish, a good exercise you can do in private is to size yourself up in front  of the mirror. Get dressed and stand there. Extend your hand as if you were shaking the hand of the interview and smile. In order to see the impact you’re having, you HAVE to look at yourself in the mirror and this will force you to look where you should be looking. If you’re typically shy and look down or off to the left etc. you’ll correct yourself without knowing it just to see yourself.

As an amateur actor, I have spent many a time in front of mirror looking sad, elated, crying, joyous etc. to see what I’m communicating.

Make sure the messages you send with your face are the ones you want to share!



So Desperate To Work You’ll Do Anything?

Have you ever told someone that when it comes to work you’re so desperate you’ll do anything? Okay so you and I both know that this isn’t actually the case. There are jobs you won’t take because they don’t pay enough, the location is too far away or the job itself is too dangerous or menial. Still, there are people who everyday say to somebody in a position to help them find a job, “I’ll do anything.”

The very key to why this approach almost never gets the person the result they want lies in one word that’s contained in the opening sentence of this blog; ‘desperate’. Here’s the thought process that I as an Employment Counsellor go through each time I hear someone make the statement, “I’ll do anything.”:

  1. You’re saying this because you’re desperate.
  2. If you get this job, you’ll no longer be as desperate.
  3. As you’ll no longer be desperate, you’ll want something better.
  4. Because you’ll want something better, you’ll quit.
  5. Because you’ll quit, you’ll be right back here repeating history.

Employers know this as well. People who are desperate to work don’t usually make good employees. You can make the argument of course that someone who is truly desperate will do whatever it takes to hang onto the job they get; they’ll be dependable, work hard not to mess up and be as productive as they can because they need the money. That’s one point of view, but it’s not the reality that the employer and employee experience the majority of the time.

Look at two employers; a good one and a bad one. The bad employer hires an unemployed, desperate person and decides to exploit that desperation. They may pay them under the table or worse promise to pay them and then string them along with excuses like money is tight and that they’ll get paid next week. The money never comes of course but the employer knows the worker is desperate and so they squeeze every hour they can out of the person until they quit. Then the bad employer looks for another desperate applicant and repeats the process; essentially getting free labour in the end much of the time.

The good employer on the other hand has no such intentions of treating the employee badly. They take on the desperate worker, invest time and money into training them with the expectation that the person will get better on the job over time, and eventually come to truly be 100% productive – usually after a five or six months or more depending on the job. However, what they experience is that despite their willingness to invest in training the new employee, the employee often quits after only a short time. As the job was never really wanted in the first place, they never stopped looking for other jobs. They hate themselves when they wake up in the morning and hate their present reality going to this terrible job, and not being quite as desperate as they once were when they had no job, they just don’t show up and quit.

Therefore, it is highly likely that the good employers don’t want to repeat the mistake of hiring desperate people who are wrong for the job in the first place. They’d rather hire people who are cut out for the work and really want to do a certain job as evidenced by their past work history. They think, “If I hire this Accountant to pick mushrooms, they’ll probably quit soon because they’re really going to keep looking for a job as an Accountant. When that happens, I’ll be looking for another Mushroom Picker in 3 weeks or less.”

Look, I understand that what you mean when you say, “I’m desperate; I’ll do anything”. You’re really saying, “I’m open to considering many kinds of work that I haven’t before, until I can lock down the kind of work that would ideally suit me.” When you’re feeling desperate, it isn’t the best time to make a big decision; such as finding employment. Little decisions like whether to have cereal or a bagel for breakfast? Sure; go ahead. Making a decision to apply for work you find on a job board, that up until you read it you’ve never seriously considered or even thought of before; no! This is a bad decision. Even if you get the job you’ll immediately feel bad; you never thought you’d sink this low, you hope no one you know ever sees you at work, you didn’t go to school for this, they money isn’t worth the hard labour etc.

It’s important to understand then that good employers aren’t likely to hire desperate workers while bad employers are more likely to do so. Therefore saying you’ll do anything increases the odds of landing with a poor employer and the job will be a poor personal fit. It’s now a lose-lose proposition for both you and a good employer.

A better decision when you’re desperate is to seek out the help of an Employment Coach, Employment Counsellor or Career Counsellor. I don’t mean to self-promote here, but things aren’t working out doing things the way you’ve been doing them. What’s to risk by getting some objective help from a trained professional who can help you get more than just a job; they can help you get the right job.

“I’ll Do Anything” Is A Red Flag

Q. “So what kind of work are you looking for?”
A. “Anything.”
Q. “Anything?”
A. “Anything that pays good money.”
Q. “Okay well what are you qualified to do?”
A. “Anything. Or I can learn it fast.”

This is how a conversation with a 53-year-old man who looks 59 or 60 went just yesterday. Now because he was one of a dozen people in a workshop I was giving on another topic altogether, I never got to continue the conversation privately. This was just how it went between us as I was chatting with everyone at the outset while we waited for anyone else to arrive.

The only other piece of information he contributed to the dialogue was an acute bitterness for temporary agencies, who in his opinion are set up to keep people chronically unemployed permanently in order to keep their agencies open. I won’t repeat what he thought should be done to, ‘those people’, but it wasn’t kind. And in the one minute this entire exchange took place, he told me more about himself than he did about temporary agencies, and he identified himself as a person who would be very difficult to work with because of the huge chip on his shoulder, and his inability to quickly share the kind of work he was both qualified and interested in pursuing.

Now yes it was only a minute. And I grant that if we were seated down together alone for an hour, I’d have drawn out a more accurate picture of his skills, work experience etc. But first impressions are so critical and his just isn’t good. And that’s the curious thing really. You see he was honest, forthright in his response, made no attempt to say, “They may be right for some but this has been my experience” for example, and I believe he genuinely thinks his willingness to do, “anything” is a positive. It’s actually a red flag.

A red flag is the mental “be cautious with this one” sign that gets raised. In this case it refers to barriers that need to be explored before he is really ready to succeed in finding and keeping work. The first barrier that becomes immediately obvious is that he may be so desperate to do anything, he takes a job that is a poor fit, and because he’s not suited for the job, he quits or gets fired. Repeat this formula again a few times, and you now have an embittered person who blames everyone else except himself. I can almost hear him saying things like, “You expect me to do what?” and “If you think I’m doing that, you’ve got another thing coming, it’s not worth it.”

The second red flag is the built up anger manifesting itself in the black and white, right and wrong kind of absolutes communicated in his attitude and words. While I can’t share the cadence of his voice, the burning direct eye contact, and the tone of his voice in print, it was easy to tell this fellow has very little patience for anyone who doesn’t agree with his view of the world and how things should be done. He’s not likely therefore to be very flexible to doing things any way that doesn’t immediately seem logical to him. And that makes him hard to hire.

And I’ll tell you this. As I said, this exchange started at the outset of the class, when I was just going around the room making conversation prior to really starting the presentation. As he was one of the last to go, I can see in retrospect that he knew what was going to be asked of him, and the opportunity to share was his pent-up anger being released and he didn’t really care at that moment about much else except getting his point out. Like I say though, it came out as bitterness bordering on hostility.

Now imagine you were in the position of trying to help an employer find someone to fill a vacancy. As a Recruiter, you want to send over potential applicants who will not only successfully complete the work to be done for their sake, but you also want to send over good people so the employer has a good experience and calls on you to send over more good people. Each person who does well essentially paves the way for other unemployed people. And of course Recruiter’s don’t have a job for very long themselves if they keep sending people who don’t work out.

So how do you help yourself? Get yourself under control and drill it into your head that you can’t afford not to make a good first impression. If you feel the need to vent and spit out venom do it in a confidential setting with a Mental Health Counsellor. Maybe an anger management class or one on how to handle stress; it’s what you need prior to looking for further work.

And knowing the kind of work that would be your first choice based on your skills and experience is critical. “Anything” will never be posted on a real job board. Put yourself in a position where you can be successful.

All the very best.

How To Develop A Chip On Your Shoulder

Perhaps somewhere on this planet, there are many people who don’t understand what, ‘having a chip on your shoulder’ means. So let’s clear that up immediately. In everybody’s life there are things that happen that frustrate, annoy, anger or upset us from time-to-time. If you develop a grudge against someone, or a group of people and carry that grudge and those feelings around with you, and they change how you interact with people in other settings, you’re said to have a ‘chip on your shoulder’.

So let’s say you’re working at a car plant for 20 years, loyal and hard-working. You come to work only to get a lay-off notice in your box but you also know the company is advertising to hire new employees. You feel betrayed, used, unappreciated and in a state of shock. How you handle such a situation will not only say a lot about you as a person, but it will also affect your emotional and physical health moving forward, your future employability with other companies, your social interaction with others and can even result in extreme situations in a change in marital status, and even death.

“Oh come on”, I hear some of you say, “Death? Really?” Oh yeah, your mortality.

As you move forward after receiving such information, you may actually go into crisis, for that single decision by an employer may result in a loss of present and future income, endanger your ability to pay a mortgage, take that promised trip, put food on the table, send the kids to University etc. It can also damage your self-perception as much of your identity was an employee of such-and-such company. Now you’re a former employee, and may see yourself as having had a former identity and don’t know what your current identity is anymore, and that throws you into a period of flux.

However people being so different, everybody will react to a situation differently. Some will just move on and chalk it up to the economy, while others say what the company did isn’t right, but they don’t waste energy trying to recover something that’s already in the past. Let’s not debate what’s legally right or wrong, or even ethical here, just how you yourself would handle it.

Now carrying around that resentment, you might snap at the waitress who brings you chicken noodle soup instead of chicken with rice. You might fly off the handle when dealing with a retailer who has that blouse in every size but yours etc. “What’s her Problem?” people will mutter after you’ve stormed out. Well it’s the residual feelings of bitterness that get carried around and rise to the surface with the least provocation.

So carrying around this chip is a dangerous thing. It can create an atmosphere around you that people can quickly detect from the creases on your forehead, the scowl on your face, the look of annoyance in your eyes, how you interrupt others because of your impatience with their apparent incompetence. What really starts happening is the transferring of your past emotional turmoil onto those with whom you interact with now and moving forward.

Of course this isn’t healthy and it’s not just as simple as saying, “let it go”. If it were that easy, don’t you really think people would say, “Wow, I’d never thought of doing that!” and drop it then and there? And even when you think you’ve dealt with things and put a problem to rest, those old feelings can surface in seconds when you, for example, run into that Supervisor while shopping in the mall.

However, as long as a person carries all those negative and weighty issues around, you’re not really moving forward 100%. It’s as if there’s a part of you that’s stuck back there in the past, with those unresolved feelings.

Consider that it might be useful to get take that chip off your shoulder and using another body analogy, get it off your chest. Talk to someone in confidence like a Mental Health Counsellor. Vent, and expose your wounded pride, dignity and by doing so, shed the silence that’s been building up. Oddly enough, you can actually develop physical problems in your neck, your back, or other areas where your ‘stress’ is held.

Don’t let an incident from your past rob you of all the good things that may await you in your future. Being at your best is good for your marriage or relationships with your kids, extended family, friends and neighbours. Dealing with resentment can also mean you don’t betray your contempt and loathing in an upcoming job interview when they ask about why you left your past employer too.

Carry it around too long, and that chip becomes a boulder on the shoulder.

The Upside Of Hitting A New Low

Over the last couple of days, I have had no less than 3 people tell me that they have never been so down in their lives before. These new lows are hitting them hard and the emotions that are surfacing and coming out aren’t the way they want to be or ever imagined they could be.

In all three situations the most current event, the one thing that connects all these individual stories, is the loss of a job and the resulting loss of income and the pressure and stress of needing to shore things up immediately. So it may be well and good to pause today and rather than blog about another matter I had in mind, to address some of the issues surrounding the job loss phenomenon.

When those words come to you that you’ve been fired, it hits like a brick in the face. The shock and immediate mental terror that has you in disbelief can’t really be effectively dealt with at this initial stage; you are in shock after all. Something unwanted has just slammed into your life and things are changing too fast to find anything you can really cling to. What to do? One suggestion might be to remove yourself as soon as possible from the source of the shock and in whatever space you call your home, take stock of things. Stabilize your situation mentally and go over what just happened.

In the short-term, apply for any financial benefits such as Employment Insurance and do it the same day you lose your position if you can. Get all the necessary paperwork later, like your Record of Employment. Any benefits you are entitled to will go back to the day you applied, not the day you lost your job. If there is a penalty of some kind for being terminated with cause, write out your take on the situation and in some cases this might get you reduced benefits instead of none at all. You’re going to need this income shortly and it takes time to process your claim.

For some people, curling up in a fetal position behind drawn shades for days on end and hiding from the world and the people in it is going to be tempting. Don’t do this please. This is the very time you need to sit down and update that resume. You’ll find it more useful too if you can identify your strengths, beliefs, values, skills and positive attributes. You have a lot to offer to an employer, you just need the right fit. While it would probably be wrong to beg for your job back, it might be useful to re-connect with your former employer and at least sort out what kind of reference they might be willing to provide. If you tell them that you are moving forward and would appreciate at bare minimum that they just confirm your employment dates with any perspective reference check, you might be in luck. The employer might breathe a sigh of relief that you aren’t going to sue for wrongful dismissal or cause a verbal scene and they’ll be happy to do this for you just to get you on to some other job so you are out of their life.

At the worst, if they say they’ll tell employers looking for a reference on you the truth about your termination, you can use this information to mitigate damage at the end of future interviews. When asked for references after a good interview, you may choose to share what the former employer may say, and the new employer will appreciate your honesty, especially if you can demonstrate you’ve learned something through the experience and it won’t be repeated.

You’re going to be angry; angry with that stupid boss, those idiot co-workers, and maybe, ye maybe yourself for doing or saying something that got you the sack. Don’t beat yourself up over it because that’s just wasted energy and you haven’t got a lot to spare at this stage in the process. Anger is raw emotion that if unleashed could just multiply your short-term unemployment through some poorly thought-out decisions you make now. Short-term satisfaction and long-term regret….like pouring sugar in the gas tank of your bosses car and being videotaped doing it.

While you consider getting your next career move going, consider at least the option of getting a short-term job outside of your chosen career field. This short-term job might be one that gives you some immediate cash, builds up your self-esteem a little, and is one you can then quit without damaging your reputation when you land the right long-term job you really want. This is a Band-Aid solution remember, not a long-term strategy.

Get connected with contacts and tell EVERYBODY you are looking for work and tell them what you are looking for. Don’t just say, “Let me know if you hear of anything.” What is it you want? Be clear. Go to some networking events, get involved in discussion groups, dress each day with pride and focus on your positive qualities. The sting you feel from that bad experience is just waiting for a crack in your self-confidence to remind you how dumb you are, how bad off you are, how in trouble you are. You’re smart enough to know that’s just a dark place you should avoid because there’s nothing healthy to be found there. That wallowing pool of self-remorse, that pool of pity is best left for someone else to drown in. You’ve got no time for that.

Get yourself in to an Employment Counsellor and get your resume looked at and for sure come up with an answer to the question, “So why did you leave your last job?” You’re going to need to deliver an answer without visibly falling apart or having your face betray your anger and resentment. When you find a strong answer that you can use and feel good about, you’re going to feel like you can flick that demon off your shoulder. 

This new low point in your life does have an upside. While it isn’t apparent now, you will find that in the future when you look back, you’ll have a better appreciation for your current situation and your new employer. You’ll hopefully have grown and learned from what went wrong and maybe even realize that surprise, surprise, losing that job actually moved you forward in a direction you would not otherwise have taken on your own. If you are at a new low, doesn’t that mean you probably have a future that’s better than the present? Probably.

You might need or want to speak with your bank and creditor’s, explain your situation and get them off your back. Consolidating debt can stop phone calls from collection agencies, and please remember that most people – yes most people – are themselves people who have changed careers, been laid-off at some point, possibly fired, quit etc. in their past. The stigma of being sacked isn’t quite as bad as it once was. That’s little comfort right now, I know.

You will move forward, things will improve, and it’s a question of time. It may be a short time, but probably longer than you’d like if you need a job immediately. Target your resume and cover letters; circulate, get applying for jobs and back in the game. You deserve an opportunity and perhaps an employer who is willing to give you a shot with a dose of support and understanding thrown in.

All the best in dealing with the immediate stuff. It’s a lot perhaps to deal with, but I suspect you’re strong enough to ride it out and emerge employed, empowered, and better.