Ok, so you’ve lost your job. How are you handling it? Maybe you've always wanted more time off for a bona fide vacation. Or time to do the things that really mattered to you. Maybe your company was challenged, even before your world came tumbling down. Or maybe, just maybe, you never really liked your job and never felt fully used or appreciated at work. So you were marking time, hoping something better would come along. And now it has. Your opportunity is to start seeing the sunny side of your layoff.
Welcome To Graduation. I'm serious. Research shows that people who are laid off typically move on to better-fitting, more lucrative work. That includes you. Start seeing the world for what it really is, your personal planet of opportunity. To weather your transition, you must stay consistently, habitually, unrelentingly positive. If you don't firmly hold yourself in glowing self-esteem and take ongoing positive action, you will unwittingly sabotage all your best efforts. Now it might not feel easy to do that by yourself. More on that later.
Heal Now, Hunt Later. A knee jerk reaction to the layoff might be to grab the classifieds. Slow down. You've just been handed a rite of passage. Sit with it, and treat yourself to the necessary stages of grieving. If you don't take time to heal, it will bite you later. You might just show a flash of anger at an important job interview. Or badmouth your former employer to an otherwise-willing contact. It's not worth it. Beat pillows, cry, see a therapist, do whatever is appropriate to deal with your feelings.
Set Your Sights. Do you want to use this time period to find another job or find the work you're meant to be doing in the world? Some people grab the next job to have an income base while they figure out their heart's work. What you choose depends on your intention. Not how much money you have. Money is an excuse many people use to settle for so-so work. Life's fragile. It's now or never to jumpstart your life.
What Do I Do? First of all, clear your mind of what you're "supposed" to be doing. The fact that one of your parents did it or because others told you you're good at it, or because you know you're good at it. What did you love to do when you were a child? Did you bake brownies? Make up games? These were early signs of your raw ingredients. If you were creative then, you're creative now. If you were a ham or entrepreneur then, you still are. Pull together the early threads of what you did naturally. There's gold here.
Training And Credentials. Do you think you need to go back to school? As a former Director of Admissions for three prestigious East Coast graduate schools, I actually steer grown-ups away from school. School costs time, money, and energy, and generally doesn't pay off. You're far better off, for example, temping for a company in your chosen field, and easing in that way. Let your company pay for training. The best graduate education you'll ever get is on the job. Feeling inadequate about your education is generally a self-esteem issue. Top leaders in many fields are high school graduates. Watch Those "Shoulds." Arlene, a dental technician, has been having a strong pull to work in the environmental field. Arlene keeps telling herself things like, "I'm too old, I'm not smart enough, I couldn't afford to support myself or my family doing that kind of work." She rationalizes, "My current job pays the bills." Don't undermine yourself this way. Speak with those who are doing the work you dream about. Take action steps, movement is vital here.
Joys Of Volunteering. David got laid off from his job as a computer programmer. David wanted companionship for his job transition, and his landlord wouldn't let him have a do. David began volunteering at the local animal shelter. Now he does animal research for a living, and is completely passionate about his work.
The Benefits Trap. As human beings, we tend to be creatures of habit, and comfort. Don't let attachment to benefits stop you.
Get Creative. My experience is, that with few exceptions, we can do most anything in this country we choose
without an academic degree in that field, and with some thorough hands-on training. This may be a challenge to anyone whose first question ever was "Do you have a degree?" Studies tell us that approximately only 20% of those in the workforce are using the degree they first received.
Assessing Assessments. All too often, clients come to me having followed the results of career aptitude tests, having chosen their career on that basis. My experience is that most aptitude tests measure what your brain thinks you can do. That's only part of the picture. For this reason, I typically use a range of both linear and non-linear tools.
Love The Work, Hate The Pay? Sometimes we already know what we love to do, and we're doing it. But it's not paying the bills. Our frustration makes us want to give that work up, and find work that won't cause us this kind of pain. Often, we are getting in our own way in this situation, and need to make some shifts to reach our financial goals in our chosen field.
Should I Work For Myself? Entrepreneurship can provide levels of freedom and reward that corporations and bosses typically don't deliver. On the other hand, starting your own business takes a different level of energy, commitment, and resources. The good news is that more of us than ever before are choosing to start our own businesses, so there's lots of support available.
Express Yourself Fully. Your work has the potential to be a full and satisfying expression of your whole being, as well as fun and exciting. Your ancestors put their shoulder to the grindstone and put up with their work. Good news is, that's a thing of the past.

Author's Bio: 

Miriam Reiss, Master Career Coach, is co-author of, "A Guide to Getting It: Branding and Marketing Mastery." Her work has been featured in publications ranging from the Seattle Times to Good Housekeeping. President of Spirited Marketing, Miriam helps businesses and individuals uncork their power, passion, and purpose through results-driven coaching and training. A business marketing and career transition speaker and executive coach, Miriam's clients have ranged from Microsoft and the Washington State Bar Association to CEO's, cartoonists, and culinary experts. Miriam is Past President, International Coach Federation, Puget Sound Chapter, Miriam holds a bachelors degree from Cornell University and masters degrees from Columbia University and Peace Theological Seminary, where she is currently a doctoral candidate. Email Miriam at miriam@spiritedmarketing.com, http://www.spiritedmarketing.com , 206.545.0809.