When done correctly, you can get the support you need.

The worst has happened: You got the call, the email or the sit-down talk. Your company is going through a tumultuous time and they have had to make some tough decisions. The HR manager breaks the news that they are letting you go. It takes a moment to sink in, and you feel sick in the depths of your stomach.

But you're not alone. The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in more than 180,000 redundancies, according to The Guardian, and that number may continue to rise as our economic state worsens.

Still, regardless of how it may feel right now, losing your job is not the end of the world. You will get through this. However, before you move on and find a new role, there's one bit of life admin you've got to do: informing your loved ones.

Speaking to those around you about this unfortunate change can be hard; it can feel strained, awkward and even embarrassing. Thankfully, it doesn't have to be. Here's a quick guide on how to tell your family you've been fired and ask for the help you need. 

Process the redundancy

Don't underestimate the psychological impact of the redundancy. Losing your job can be one of the most traumatic and painful life events, according to research published in Frontiers in Psychology. So before you rush to tell people the news, take a moment to process what's happened. Grief is a natural feeling when you have lost your job, and you shouldn't try to push those feelings down. 

Figure out how you can emotionally deal with this change. You may find that it's helpful to write down your feelings, speak to a counsellor or confide in a trusted friend. Everyone is different, and you should acknowledge that it may take some time before you feel like yourself again. With that in mind, you need to give yourself both the time and space to come to terms with your loss. 

Approach each person appropriately 

There are two groups of people in your life: those who you can turn to for emotional support and those for whom need you to be pulled together. Let's talk about the first group. These people include your parents, partner and close friends. Think of them as your inner circle. When you're going through something difficult, like a job loss, you can rely on this group to give you the help and guidance you need.

The second group of people includes your children and anyone you know in a professional capacity. You can't rely on these people for emotional support, and, more to the point, they need and expect you to be emotionally balanced.

How to speak to your inner circle

When you have identified your inner circle, let them know what's going on. You might not have the energy to tell everyone individually. If that's the case, you can send out a group message that covers all bases. Let your close friends and family know what's happened, how you're feeling and whether you're ready to talk. Laying everything out there will mean that they know how to approach and help you. 

How to speak to your kids and professional connections

Naturally, you should reassure your kids that everything will be OK whilst being honest with them. When speaking to professional connections, simply state that you are looking for new opportunities.

Tell people what you need

Rather than simply focussing on how to tell your family you lost your job, you should also consider what exactly it is you need to feel supported. People are not mind-readers. You may know what kind of response you're hoping for, but they will not. For that reason, you should be 100 per cent clear about what you need from them. For instance, you could say one of the following: 

  • 'I really need someone to vent to.'

  • 'I don't want to talk about it right now.'

  • 'I need advice about what to do next.'

  • 'I need a shoulder to cry on.'

  • 'Can you help me take my mind off it?'

By being straightforward about what you need from people, you can make their job simple and get the type of support you're after. Likely, you will find that those around you rise to the challenge.

If you don't want to talk about the job loss yet, telling people that you feel that way will avoid any awkward conversations. Your nearest and dearest will respect your decision and give you some time before they start handing out support.

Ask for help 

There's no shame in asking for help. When you've lost your job, you need to use everything in your arsenal to put things right. That means reaching out to people and letting them know that you need some support, help or advice along the way. Before you get started, write a list of the people you know ‒ whether they are family members, close friends or professional contacts ‒ and what they can offer. 

For example, should you know someone who works in your industry or in recruitment, you can reach out to them. Don't be afraid to say that you need some advice from them. You may be able to send them your CV to pass along to relevant people. Equally, if there are roles available in their own workplace, they may be able to refer you. The more people you turn to for support, the better your chances of success. 

Move forward and start your job search 

When you've dealt with how to tell your family you've been fired, it's time to move forward and start the next chapter of your life. The first step in starting your job search is revamping your CV. Look for reliable CV advice or even get a professional review for expert feedback to ensure that this document is a show-stopper. Dedicate time and effort to creating a CV that is certain to turn recruiters' heads when they see it. 

If you haven't already got a LinkedIn profile, now is the perfect time to set one up ‒ you want to cover all bases when it comes to your job search. Think of this page as a shop window. Recruiters and HR professionals can (and will) look at it to see what you're all about as a candidate. 

Finally, start looking for your next big challenge. You can use job sites, such as Indeed and reed.co.uk, but your search doesn't have to end there. You can also use LinkedIn to find out about relevant roles or even try a curveball, such as Twitter.

However you try to land your next job, keep your eyes on the prize. Remember that you have a lot to offer a company, and focus on moving forward. 

You will recover

Losing your job is a difficult life event, but it happens to the best of us. It's at times like this when you need your friends and family more than ever. Don't underestimate the value of their support. Reach out to those around you and let them help you in any way they can, whether emotionally or professionally. Stay calm, get support and keep moving forward. You will recover from this setback and be back on your career path in no time.

If you've lost your job, an impressive CV is more important than ever. For expert feedback on your document, get a free CV review.

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