The theme this year for most people across the world seems to be “change” – mostly unexpected change including layoffs, relationships, re-locations, pregnancies, deaths, etc.  Working through those transitions can be very difficult since each one typically affects several other areas of a person’s life.  So how does a person work through any transition effectively

1) Recognize you have a choice: 

You can either A) allow fear of the unknown to rule your life, or B) trust that there are certain things you can control right now, despite not knowing how things are going to turn out, and focus all your energies on them.

2) Make a list of all the areas of your life that are or will be effected by the transition, and create a game plan to support or protect those areas however you can.

3) Maintain a confident attitude that everything will work out fine eventually. 

Using an unexpected job loss scenario, I’ll explain what I mean by each of the above:

1) Recognize you have a choice:  You can either A) allow fear of the unknown to rule your life, or B) trust that there are certain things you can control right now, despite not knowing how things are going to turn out, and focus all your energies on them.

After going through the initial shock of loosing your job and working through the emotions associated with it, it’s important that you make make a conscious choice to accept that certain things will happen during your job search that you have no control over.  You must also choose to overcome your fears in order to be effective in your job search day after day.  Finally, you need to proactively act on the things you can control during your job transition.  At the end of this article (below my signature) I have included a job search tip you might find helpful.

  2) Make a list of all the areas of your life that are or will be effected by the transition, and create a game plan to support or protect those areas however you can.

During a job transition the following life areas are usually affected in some way: relationship, money, family, friends, fun/leisure, health, spiritual, and possibly even your home.  Here’s how you can create a game plan to protect each one:

Relationship – make a habit of communicating openly with your partner/spouse about how things are going emotionally with you during your job search.  Find non-expensive ways to say “thank you” to your partner/spouse for helping to support you during the transition and for any additional burdens they may be experiencing during this time.

Money – Take some time to figure out exactly where you are spending your money every month and get rid of any unnecessary expenses until you settle into a new job.  Determing what expenses are necessary and unnecessary is fairly easy.  Ask the following question and the answer should guide you accordingly:  “Is this expense necessary and if so, will this expense help me with my long term goals?”   If the answer is “YES” then keep the expense.  If the answer is “NO” then get rid of it or avoid being in an environment where you may be tempted to spend that money.   Note:  Some expenses may seem unnecessary (like educational or personal development programs, etc.), but if they support the changes you are trying to make in your life then find a creative way to pay for them.

Family & Friends – Chances are you won’t have the money to hang out with your friends or visit your family like you used to.  Find creative alternatives like going to a friend’s home for dinner (so you don’t have to pay for it) or asking your family to help with the travel expenses to attend an important family function.

Fun & Leisure – You can’t stop having fun and relaxing while you are out of work because psychologically you need that time to re-energize for your job search.  Instead carve time out every week for non-expensive ways to have fun and relax.

Spiritual – Fear has a way of crushing your spirit, making it much more difficult to get up every day and do what it takes to get a new job.  Find regular time every day to connect to your faith through prayer, meditation, or whatever works for you.  Know that God loves you unconditionally and is working behind the scenes to coordinate your next job.  Trust that His timing is much better than yours, despite how you feel at any given moment.

Home – Often your mortgage payment and associated household bills are the biggest expense you have.  You need a roof over your head, water in your house, groceries to eat, and gas/electric to cook your food.  Try to pay those bills first, and if you come up short call your utility and mortgage companies and ask them how they can work with you during your job loss to avoid defaulting on any of your bills.

3) Maintain a confident attitude that everything will work out fine eventually. 

Self-Confidence is a key factor to reducing your stress levels during a job search.  For more information about the importance of enhancing your confidence levels in any transition, click here to read last week’s article titled:  Confidence – The Key to Overcoming All Life’s Challenges Effectively.


Transition is a part of life — nothing ever stays the same very long.  Expecting transitions to occur and proactively working through them with a positive attitude will dramatically improve your quality of life year after year.

I hope you enjoyed this week’s blog post.  As always your comments are appreciated.  Feel free to submit them below.

Have a wonderful day, and don’t forget to keep your eyes open for all the amazing possibilities within and around you….no matter what is going on with your life!


Kris Cavanaugh
C.E.O. Catalyst & Life Coach
Kris Cavanaugh is a C.E.O. Catalyst & Life Coach with Shift Inc. ( Her passion is to empower people with the ability to take back control of their lives and successfully overcome any obstacles to achieve a “Thriving” quality of life more consistently. Kris believes the foundation for this begins by taking on a C.E.O. mindset in both the personal and professional aspects of their lives. If you would like more information about how to achieve a thriving quality of life, click on the following link to learn how to receive a copy of her E-Book at no charge: “Living Your Life On Purpose – Three Powerful Steps to Achieve a Thriving Quality of Life.” 


Job Search Tip:

When I was working full-time in the employment transition industry a few years ago (before I become a Certified Coach) I found out that only 4% of job seekers landed a job using online job search engines; the other 96% landed jobs through networking.  It stands to reason, therefore, you should be spending a maximum of 2-3 hours a week using job search engines, and spend the rest of your week meeting with people to network.  Here’s a great way to begin: 

Write out your desired next job in detail based on the skills you enjoy using, because knowing what your transferable skills are will allow you to customize your job search letters based on open positions you hear of.  Once you have a detailed description of your next desired job, email it to EVERYONE you know (friends, family, colleagues, etc.) with a paragraph similar to this: 

“I am seeking to transition my career, and am trying to expand my networking contacts within X (pick a city, county, state, region, industry, etc.)Please understand that I do not expect you to have a job or know of any jobs.  I am simply trying to form a networking circle to help strengthen my search campaign.”    

Utilizing the sample paragraph above in your networking letter ensures that the person receiving your letter does not feel burdened with the responsibility for finding you a job.  Instead it allows them the opportunity to connect you to people they know who may be helpful in your job search.  I successfully used that paragraph many times when I was searching for a job because I always made it clear that I was seeking information from their connections…not a job.   If a job was available, that was just a bonus.

Once you begin to expand your networking circle: 

1) Schedule informational meetings with as many people as you can

2) Arrive on time with a specific questions you want answered about the types of positions and industries you are seeking

3) End the meeting with the question “Based on our conversation today, who do you know that I should meet in order to continue to expand my network during my job search?”

4) Leave on time unless they invite you to stay longer

5) Follow up each meeting with a thank-you note

6) Schedule future meetings with any new and existing  contacts you haven’t spoken to yet

7) REPEAT steps 1-6, four days a week, leaving one day to relax, de-stress, and celebrate all the hard work you’ve done with your job search each week.

24 thoughts on ““I’m Unemployed….Now What?” — Working Through Personal & Professional Transitions”

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  4. Kris,

    I think the point you are trying to make is that we need to “plan” for change.

    But that would be impossible, wouldn’t it? Change, by definition, is unplanned.

    Well, you can always have some strategies in place so that unexpected change never takes you completely by surprise. Or at least, “caught with your pants down”. All the things you mention in your post follow along with this.

    Things like, don’t ever let your resume get too out of date. Some sort of emergnecy fund would probably be nice, too.

    And finally, ALWAYS try to build your network. You may not need it for six months, you may never need it, then agian, you MAY need it tomorrow. You just never know.

    Great post.

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