Q: After four years in a demanding role I was told that my position was no longer viable and I was laid off. I had been doing so well and even got a bonus last year; it was so sudden. I am devastated and don’t know what to do or how to cope.

I know how you feel as I had the same experience many years ago during an economic crisis. I was shocked when I was unexpectedly called to a meeting with my boss. I knew there was something wrong when I saw the HR director with him. Then they told me that my job was gone.

I went back to my desk, thinking, “This was just a bad dream; this cannot be happening.” When what had happened sank in, I was thinking, “Why pick me? How will I tell my friends? How will I get another job?” I felt rejected, hurt and bewildered.

The fact that you were performing so well that you received a bonus last year suggests that you were just unfortunate that the position that you were filling was no longer needed; in other words, the post became redundant.

It is not that you were redundant, but the job that you were in became redundant.

Here are some tips to put into practice before actually starting the process of searching for a new job:

• Let yourself grieve the loss of your job as you would the loss of a loved one.

• Give yourself time to accept what has happened.

• Don’t panic.

• Identify family members and friends you can confide in on a regular basis. Choose people you can tell just exactly how you feel without fear that they will break your confidence.

• Avoid negative people who will make you feel even worse, saying things like, “How on earth will you cope? I wouldn’t!” or “You’ll never get another job at your age.” Don’t let their scary thoughts scare you!

• Look after yourself. Eat regular meals. Take up some form of exercise.

• Make time to relax with friends or on your own. Make time for fun.

• Be honest about your emotions. Don’t say to trusted friends you are fine when inside you are breaking up. Allow them to support and help you.

• Don’t rush into making big decisions that you may regret later.

• Work out a budget for the next six months to help you manage your finances during the period of unemployment. Plan ways to keep your expenditure within the budget.

• Keep a diary recording the things that you have done day by day. Have a section in the diary to write down your feelings, emotions and fears. The diary will help you see how you are progressing along the path of getting back to normal.

This is the first phase of dealing with job loss and when you are ready you can move into the process of finding a new job. That could take up most of your day, so it is best to only move into this phase when you have dealt with the challenges of the first phase, discussed above.

Daniel Ough is a careers coach and founder of jobsearchhelp4u.com and Sandpiper Coaching. Got a problem? Our fantastic panel of renowned experts is available to answer all your questions related to fashion, well-being, nutrition, finance and hypnotherapy. Email your queries to friday@gulfnews.com.

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