Bounce Back After Job Loss


According to Statistics Canada, from January to September 2013, there were some 45,000 job losses in the country. Forty-five thousand people had to live through one of the most stressful events ever. “A dismissal is always a shock, says Isabelle Michaud, guidance counsellor, psychotherapist and author of the Guide to better cope with job loss. This leads to upheaval on all levels: personal, financial, etc. It’s a painful event that can happen to all of us, regardless of the type of job we hold or the years of accumulated experience. The good news is that we can all bounce back, one step at a time.

Step 1: acknowledge the shock

In the beginning, it is often anger that dominates, according to Claire Savoie, career management consultant. We must avoid dumping ours on our boss or our colleagues and try to leave on the best terms. “You can ask questions, but you shouldn’t expect straight answers,” she said. In particular, because the reasons for our dismissal may hide others, of a political or personal nature, for example. Nevertheless, we can try to negotiate the conditions of our departure: compensation, longer deadlines, etc. “We can also ask if the company provides any support, such as meetings with a psychologist,” suggests Manon Lachapelle, senior career management advisor for the firm André Filion & Associés. Afterwards, you resist the urge to jump on the first job that comes your way. “We give ourselves at least 2 or 3 weeks to let the dust settle,” advises Isabelle Michaud.

Step 2: Review your finances

We draw up our financial statement. Do we have any savings? Are we entitled to compensation? Are you eligible for employment insurance benefits? Then, we redo our budget for the next few months or even the next year. “We also call our creditors to inform them and make arrangements, if necessary,” advises Claire Savoie. At the same time, we try to cut unnecessary expenses and, above all, we avoid going into debt as much as possible. Some organizations, such as the ACEF ( ), can provide us with good advice. “You also have to tell yourself that it’s better to tighten your belt for a while than to find yourself in a position that doesn’t suit you at all,” emphasizes Claire Savoie. 

Step 3: take care of yourself

It’s normal not to want to do much the days following a layoff. But we don’t let go! We continue to do our usual activities where we find them: walking, seeing our friends, reading, etc. “Many people define themselves by their work,” says Isabelle Michaud. We try to get rid of this idea and find other sources of contentment. Moreover, to help us maintain our self-esteem, we take the time to get ready in the morning (we do our hair, and do some makeup) and we take care of our health (we eat well, we play sports. )

Step 4: Set Goals

To do this, we must ask ourselves certain questions: Do we want to continue doing the same type of work? What companies would you like to work for? A job loss can also be an opportunity to reorient oneself, by going back to school or taking the training. If we don’t really know where we are, we can also call on a professional to help us see things clearly, such as a guidance or career management counsellor, or contact an employment assistance organization. employment (Quebec job search centres,; Emploi Québec, ).

Step 5: use their network

“It’s a valuable tool,” emphasizes Manon Lachapelle. We notify those around us that we are looking for a job in such a field and we do the same via social media. We do not hesitate to participate in networking activities, we visit the sites of the companies that interest us to find out if they offer any. And we stay on the lookout for conferences, workshops and meetings related to our interests. You can also become a member of an organization related to the field that interests you. “You have to have a proactive approach,” advises Manon Lachapelle. You can also call on a recruiting firm or an employment agency. We submit our application there, free of charge, and if we meet their criteria (recruiting firms will respond more to executives,

Step 6: Leverage Every Day

In our diary, we plan the coming week: What steps will we take? Who will we contact? Etc. “We must also personalize our CV, highlighting our skills in connection with the position sought, and devote time to preparing for our interviews,” says Manon Lachapelle. Better to do a little bit each day than exhaust yourself by spending 12 hours a day. “We often hear that you have to make job search your job, but that’s not realistic,” says Claire Savoie. We choose the time of day when we are most efficient.” The rest of the time? We are taken care of. “Every day, we do something that makes us feel good,” recommends Ms Savoie. And we arm ourselves with patience! According to Statistics Canada, it takes 23 weeks on average to find a job.

Coming out of isolation

A study published in The Academy of Management Journal 2012 revealed that most workers who lost their jobs saw their level of well-being increase significantly in the weeks that followed, a kind of feeling of freedom in a way. However, when they were unable to find a new job within 10 to 12 weeks of being laid off, this well-being gave way to a feeling of rejection and depression. The reason: looking for a job is up to you and you often have to encourage and motivate yourself, something that becomes more difficult as time goes by. Good news, however: 78% of the participants had found a new job within 20 weeks, despite their somewhat depressed state. A solution proposed by researchers to break isolation: limit the time spent on websites,

Dismissal: what does the law say?

Incompetence, financial difficulties of the company, abolition of the position… So many reasons that an employer can put forward when he decides to dismiss us. According to the Act respecting labour standards, the latter must, however, notify us in writing (notice of termination of employment) within the time limits provided for by law, which can vary from 1 to 8 weeks depending on whether you have been in the position for 3 months or for more than 10 years. The employer does not comply with these deadlines? He will then have to pay us an indemnity equivalent to the salary that we would have earned between the date on which the notice should have been sent to us and the end of our employment. The employer is also required to pay for our holidays and the overtime that we would have done. Do we consider our dismissal unjustified? You have 45 days to file a complaint with the Commission des normes du travail. Otherwise, we must know that if our dismissal was justified by our misconduct, we will not be entitled to employment insurance benefits. Info: 1-800-265-1414, 514-873-7061, _

“Volunteer in the field that interests you. I did some in a museum before becoming a press agent for them. I had made contacts, we knew that I was motivated. – Anne, 38 years old

“Never speak ill of your former employer to people who are part of your network, let alone in an interview, even if you have trouble digesting the fact of having been fired. Personally, it cost me one or two very interesting jobs.” – Charles-Etienne, 27 years old

“You have to be flexible with your salary, but don’t accept a salary that falls far short of your expectations: you may regret it later if you have to negotiate a salary for a future job.” – Jeanne, 47 years old

“Don’t forget to thank the people who put you in touch with potential employers. It’s important to take care of your relationships.” – Isabelle, 35 years old

“Prepare yourself mentally for an interview by telling yourself that you have something to offer the employer; you are not going to beg for a job!” – Marie-Claude, 40 years old

“Don’t underestimate yourself! Sometimes, we refuse to respond to a job offer because we think it’s beyond our skills. You have to dare and believe in yourself! I thought I was not good enough to manage a team. Now I am the head of 20 employees and I am very appreciated.” – Natalie, 41 years old.


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