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How to Survive Dismissal

On average, we change jobs five times in our lives and it is not always a planned change. There is a high probability that you will lose a job at least once in your life. To make it less painful, you should take care of your freedom while still at work. InterNations member Malgosia has some advice.

A loss of employment is a traumatic event for many of us. However, it is important to realize that the trauma depends largely on our beliefs and decisions taken in the past.

There is not a single job that lasts for life. We often think that others might lose their jobs, but it is not going to happen to us. Although we might acknowledge the statistics, we often think we are above them until we receive an invitation to attend a Friday afternoon meeting with HR. We then feel hurt and usually wonder where our employer’s sense of justice is.

The Pillars of Identity

There are two important pillars of your identity: professional and personal. Taking care of both is fundamental to your well-being. If you do, then losing a job does not mean losing everything. People often neglect their private lives and build their identity around their company's values. When they are laid off, they do not only experience anxiety about money or career, but, above all, the loss of identity. This is very painful. Smart employees maintain a balanced life and build a career around their private goals, so the self-esteem is not dependent on company or position.

Building a partnership relationship with the employer is equally important. While working, rather than passively submit to the company's vision, keep in mind your own development goals. Learn what you think is important and necessary, not only what your employer needs. The point is to be attractive in the labor market, not just to the company itself. This way you minimize the emotional costs of a dismissal.

Focus on Your Personal Development

The time you learn about the loss of a job is also a time to negotiate with your employer. As difficult as it sounds, it is important to stay cool and not let yourself be guided by anger or disappointment, that way ensuring the best possible conditions for your leave. Do not hesitate to tell the employer what kind of support you need. Usually companies prepare a notice in accordance with the labor law and employment contract. However, conditions may be changed by mutual agreement. You may, for example, trade a long notice period for payment or the opportunity to benefit from outplacement assistance.

While working, we are often consumed by the company's affairs, internal policies and responsibilities. While looking for a new job, you want to think about your development. The free time you suddenly have can be seen as a resource to use. Having said goodbye to your former employer, you face new opportunities and it is only up to you whether you can recognize them.

Ways to take care of your mental strength before and after the loss of a job

1. Do not waste time on self-pity.

Do not complain about the circumstances and how badly you were treated. Take the responsibility for the roles you play in your life and understand that life is not always easy or fair.

2. Do not allow others to take control over your emotions.

Don’t say for example "My boss makes me feel bad," as it is you who decides how you respond in every situation. You have control over your emotions.

3. Do not waste your energy on things you cannot change.

Focus on the things you can control. Sometimes your attitude could be your best friend.

4. Do not expect immediate results.

Invest your time and effort in what you are good at and understand that achieving success takes time.

Being out of the comfort zone costs us a lot of effort. We are forced to drop our old comfortable habits and take on new challenges. When you look at the loss of a job as an opportunity or turning point, then you feel free in your motivation and mobilization to act for your future benefits.


Malgosia Chabrowska is a business and career coach. After working in different corporations for many years and observing people struggling with confidence, motivation, and changes, she decided to help people strengthen their skills and bring them to the point they would like to be. In her work she brings an empathy and positive attitude for everybody going through changes while challenging the habits and helping to find and apply solutions together.