When You Lose Your Job

Written by Robert Rich, Ph.D. on May 13, 2019

In Washington D.C., we often define our identity through our jobs as association executives. But what happens, as happened to me last year, when you lose that job and are suddenly looking for a new position?

Well you go through the stages of grief (you know the stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance). In order to get through those as quickly as possible, you need resilience.

I have three tips for how to develop that resilience before you need it and then apply it while you are in such a transition.

1. DON’T LET YOUR JOB DEFINE YOU

At least not entirely. Don’t define your job as an association executive as the be-all and sole purpose of your existence, but rather cultivate relationships with friends and family and community organizations where you can make a difference completely outside of work.

2. FOCUS ON MAINTAINING YOUR BALANCE

Be sure that you have a focus on physical activity, mental stimulation, and spiritual growth that can carry you through regardless of whether you are employed or not.

3. KEEP IN MIND WHAT YOU ALREADY HAVE

You need to keep in perspective that losing your job does not take away any of the skills or experience that you have. But rather, you are an even better leader now because you’ve experienced adversity firsthand.

Recently, I was offered the new and excellent job which I was seeking. I’ll be starting next month as Executive Director at Congregation Shaarey Zedek in Southfield, Michigan. This brings together my passions with my experience and skills. So, as my period of involuntary transition comes to a close, I am comfortable in assuring you that the world does not come to an end when you lose your job. With the skills and the resilience that you build with these techniques, you can get through this. You can survive and move on.