Lessons in Being Let Go: 5 Tips for Navigating the Unknown

Career Development

Regardless of the reason, being let go is a loss. It’s a form of rejection you likely don’t see coming—at least this was the case for me recently. I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone else, but I’m in awe of how many people have been through it too. Today, I’m sharing some tips I’ve learned over the past month of my unanticipated career transition that I’ve found to be critical in staying grounded, energized and ultimately, on a healthy path to the next, and hopefully better, professional chapter.

1. Keep doing you.

There’s nothing quite like being let go; it truly throws you out of your routine. No longer waking up and going to the same place, or seeing the same people every day. A month ago, my world was rocked. With a gapping unknown ahead of me, I knew I had to maintain balance by continuing to take control, over well, what I could control. Continuing to eat healthy, getting in daily workouts, enjoying my evenings and weekends. In fact, I embraced the time to try a new fitness class I’ve been wanting to check out and spent even more time in the kitchen whipping up homemade recipes that engaged my creativity. For me, taking self-care up a notch kept me sane, busy and brought a lot of great new experiences into my life. Above all else, my top tip for you is sticking with a work-oriented routine, which involves taking extra good care of yourself during your transition time between jobs. When you look and feel better, you’ll be more confident in presenting yourself to new people and new opportunities.

2. Meet with a recruiter.

I am beyond grateful this tip was recommended to me. And I’m glad I met with a recruiter soon after I was let go. She offered a much-needed fresh perspective on my entire career. With new eyes on my professional journey (from someone who looks at resumes for a living), she was able to offer insightful tips on how to refine my resume and offered great interviewing tips so I was the best possible representation of my experience. Recruiters are also well connected so can often help you make new connections in your city or area you may not have been able to. Through it all, make sure you’re still trusting your gut on what opportunities to pursue versus which to pass up.

3. Give yourself permission to say “no”, a lot. 

Being let go brings on a flurry of feelings—facing the unknown with both self-doubt and excitement about what’s next. It’s a crazy blend of highs and lows. So I decided to dive into the job hunt like I would approach dating—remembering I’m not obligated to like someone back, even if they like me. Have a list of your deal-breakers in mind to help navigate all the new opportunities you find—and ones that come to you. Allowing yourself to say “no” is so freeing and builds belief in yourself through the process. This may be especially hard in the beginning because there’s often temptation to take the first thing that comes your way but a little patience can allow new doors to open that may not have otherwise.

4. Ask for help.

Being let go was an incredibly humbling experience. And I’m in awe of how many people I’ve talked to since have been through it, too. This alone offered much-needed relief. And it’s a great life reminder that you truly never have to go through a loss alone. Luckily, I have a great professional network I’ve built and nurtured from a decade of job experience. I’m also in awe of how quickly people were to lend a hand in meeting with me or connecting me to someone who could move my career forward—all I had to do was ask. I’m especially grateful for the relationship I had built with my former manager, and mentor, who was one of the first people to help me catch my breathe and map out some of my first steps to getting back out there again.

5. Build a circle of trust.

Talking about being let go can be more draining than the actual act itself. I found myself keeping the news close to my chest for this reason. Choosing to confide in a small group of people that know me well kept me sane because I kept everyone on the same page so it felt like they were on the rollercoaster ride with me. For me, it was a combination of friends and family, about 3-5 key people I will be sending a subscription of roses and chocolates to for the rest of my life.

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BY Brooke Domaas - April 10, 2018

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I’ve never been let go before, but it certainly would break me if I was! It’s such a huge hit on anyone’s ego. I love that you frame facing it with positivity. I’m sure this post will help many out there! 🙂

Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

April 10, 2018 10:16 am

I agree with these for one month out, but I’m now three months unemployed and I’m not sure I can successfully and gracefully cope anymore. I feel like I’ve exhausted my efforts… I’ve applied to 100+ jobs and spent hours upon hours in interviews with not a single job offer to show for it.

April 10, 2018 4:41 pm

One thing to be careful on your third point is if you are relying on unemployment benefits that saying no and turning down a job offer could result in a loss of those benefits.

April 12, 2018 10:02 am

I moved to NYC last May, had never been here, had no job offers, no place to live, etc. And honestly, the last year has been more scary, and more rewarding than I could have ever imagined!

April 17, 2018 6:47 am

I agree as well as disgree with you. I am unemployed from past 2 months and situations makes difference.

September 19, 2018 5:22 pm

You are so right about it being a humbling experience. I’ve felt everything from relief to anger to sadness. I’ve used this time to take care of myself, read, learn new skills and think about what I really want to do. Thanks for sharing your experience.

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