Time For Change – Phase 1: Feel Then Deal (Health first!)

According to the 2015 Calgary third quarter labour market report, found at http://humanservices.alberta.ca/documents/2015-calgary-third-quarter-labour-market-report.pdf

“The most frequently reported vacant positions were community and social service workers, truck drivers, food counter attendants and kitchen helpers, light duty cleaners and janitors, caretakers and building superintendents.”

Not to burst your financial bubble but, if you were making a six figure income working in the oil and gas sector and expecting to make that now, your chances of that are slim to none unless you become an entrepreneur but as we all know, entrepreneurship is an investment and requires financial resources to get the business off the ground; things like marketing/advertising expenses, office equipment, overhead, production costs, etc… and unless you have the financial capacity to fund a new undertaking such as this, you will probably need to make adjustments to your lifestyle, budget and salary expectations.

Depending on your skill level, experience and education, you may be looking at not only a significant loss in income but you also may be faced with completely overhauling your career path in order to find employment that exists in the current job market. It’s time to research your options and start planning for your future success.

Career planning happens in phases and it does not begin with applying for random jobs. Wasting time applying for things you are not qualified to do, because you have unrealistic salary or job expectations, or because you lack familiarity with current job trends will further prolong your unemployment; as will waiting around to apply for that perfect job that doesn’t exist, or hoping to be a photographer, when you have only photographed birds and selfies with your cell phone camera to post on your social media pages.

With all that said, the new employment reality looks rather bleak. It’s okay to feel bad right after a job loss, in fact, I always encourage people to “feel and then deal.” Perhaps getting understanding about the grieving process can help you through this difficult but necessary phase of your career planning process, as grieving doesn’t just happen when you lose a loved one, it also happens when you lose a job, or when faced with a life change and you long for the old and familiar because it is what you know best.

Phase 1: Mental and Emotional Wellness

Before you dig into a new employment direction, your first phase of career planning should be to consider the importance of being mentally and emotionally prepared, not only for your well-being, but also for your best chance for success in your new employment journey. Trying to identify a new job target or new career path requires a positive mental attitude about new beginnings and future possibilities and when you’re wrapped up in grief over what just happened to you, it may be rather difficult to focus on starting something new, as all of the negative thoughts and emotions will drag you down until you take time to process and deal with your situation accordingly.  I encourage you to work through your mental and emotional health before beginning your next employment journey.

There are the five stages of grief: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance. Since I am not here to counsel you on the grieving process, I found a cheeky but insightful article “Stages of grieving over a job loss” that can sum up these five stages of grief. Whether you have recently been laid off, quit, been fired or are just in need of a change in career or job, please keep in mind that while you may not experience all of these feelings of grief, in your current situation, ignoring or avoiding what you do feel will not do you any favours. So, it’s time to Feel it and then Deal with it because living with all those negative feelings and emotions is not going to help you move forward.

Things that may help you move forward and manage your stress and grief may include:

  • Apply for Employment Insurance (EI) or Income Support if needed
  • Setting up a new budget and sticking to it (Eliminating non-essential spending)
  • Counseling – Some providers offer free and sliding scale counseling options
  • Physical activity (if you can) walking is always good and free
  • Volunteering-Staying active in your community will boost your attitude, self-esteem and confidence and provide nice additions to your resume
  • Avoiding isolation…stay connected and regularly check in with your family and friends
  • Self-Help reading…Lots can be found online, including two articles that I have written about changing negative self-talk and insecurity into positivity and kindness for yourself. Have a look at Positive Dose of R-E-A-L-I-T-Y and Attitude is Everything
  • Meditation
  • Yoga
  • Journaling
  • Hobbies that require minimal to no financial resources
  • Also, if you were in a group lay off situation, try connecting with your previous co-workers, as networking is always a good way to maintain contacts and potential referrals when you need them for your next job
  • One last resource from ALIS, is a workbook titled Positive Works II


Once you are mentally and emotionally prepared, your next phase of career planning will be much easier because the focus will no longer be on the grief, stress or sadness of what happened to you, but rather the new experiences and future that awaits you.

So, what is Phase 2 of the career planning process?

Short answer…Self Assessment

Please see my next blog: Time for Change-Phase 2: Assess Yourself

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