YESTERDAY’S article discussed how a retrenched employee named June — who had worked with the same employer for 18 years — coped with her job loss by focusing on doing five things, namely:

•   Reaching out to her contacts for job leads;

•   Meeting new people;

•   Exploring new ideas to enhance her job options;

•   Upgrading her professional knowledge; and

•   Staying healthy. 

June’s firm resolution to move on had an extra challenge — she had to face the concerns of some potential employers when they discovered that she was physically disabled.


Three tips to move forward

In addition to her “moving-on” strategy sketched out above, and detailed in the first part of this article, she has identified three key lessons that may be helpful to those who have also lost their jobs and are keen to move forward:



 Separate your identity from your job and corporate title

Never allow the job you hold and the fancy title that comes with it to define who you are.

Remind yourself of the transient nature of jobs and job titles. The job compensates you for doing what you were contracted to do. The title facilitates your carrying out the responsibilities specified by the employment contract.

When you no longer hold that job and title, all it means is the employment contract has come to an end. You are not worth less because you are no longer in the job.

Always remember that you are worth a lot more than that job and job title. And nobody can take that away from you.



 Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want

June once interviewed a successful female scientist for a company publication.

She learnt from her interviewee that part of her success in a male-dominated area came from not being afraid to ask for what she wanted — both as she was growing up and in her career. She put it very simply: “If you don’t ask, you don’t get.”

After June was retrenched in 2012, she got the opportunity to apply what she had learnt from this go-getting woman.

When a headhunter told her over the phone that, based on her resumé, June was the best-qualified candidate for the position for which her client was recruiting, June was very excited about their scheduled meeting.

The headhunter subsequently called June with disappointing news: She had decided not to present her for an interview with the prospective employer as the job required frequent travel, which might be a challenge for wheelchair-bound June.

June then decided to contact the employer directly about the position, and to find out more about the job.

Only after a discussion with the hiring manager did she concede that she would not comfortably be able to fulfil the requirements of frequent travel.

But her act of taking charge and going after what she wanted so impressed the hiring manager that June was eventually awarded some freelance work with the employer.



 Losing your job can signal a new beginning

It is quite natural to feel depressed and to be at a loss when your employment suddenly draws to a close, particularly if you have put in many years with the organisation.

But every ending marks the start of something new. It may take you a while to define that something new, with some false starts and disappointments.

Some people who have lost their jobs even find a silver lining in the cloud — they use the extra time to connect better with family and friends, and to really think about what they want to do for the next leg of their career.

They start to widen their search options to include different industries and areas that they are interested in.

June advises to give this new beginning some time and it will take shape. You may well be on the cusp of an exciting second career.


Article by Paul Heng, founder/managing director and executive coach of NeXT Career Consulting Group, Asia. For more information, visit