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Being Laid Off From A Job Is Like A Relationship That Ended. Here’s How You Can Recover From It

Recovering from a heartbreak is much like finding a job again. You have to give yourself a chance.

This article was written in collaboration with Workforce Singapore (WSG). All views expressed in the article are the independent opinion of

When starting a romantic relationship, it’s probably wise to enter with realistic expectations.

As many of us already know, a relationship doesn’t always go the way we hope and they can end in many different ways.

Some couples may find out that they are not a good match to each other while others break up because of circumstances.

Broken relationships aren’t just limited to young couples too. Even couples, who have been together for many years, might not end amicably.

Why Losing A Job Is Like Having To Go Through A Breakup

If you can relate to the feeling of a breakup, then you probably also have a sense of how it’s like leaving a job. Just like a breakup, there are many varied reasons why people lose their jobs.

Some of us resign because we are no longer able to work well with our bosses or colleagues. Others may be forced to leave because of a company-wide retrenchment. Or it might be a performance issue. “Breakups” in the working world can also exist in different forms besides a retrenchment or being let go. In the current economic climate, some people are being put on unpaid leave, or having their workload and earnings reduced.

Whether it’s having to leave a job or enduring a breakup, emotions are inevitably involved. Sadness, bitterness, and loss of self-confidence are common feelings that we may experience during this period.

At the same time, if we can muster a positive attitude, we can also choose to see such situations as a blessing in disguise. Here are some ways you can make use of this opportunity to move forward with your life.

#1 Talk To People You Trust Instead Of Just Being On Your Own

One thing to avoid doing after a breakup is keeping to yourself and not talking to anyone. While it’s understandable that you may not be in a chatty mood, keeping to yourself would likely make you feel worse.

In the same way, after losing a job, the natural feeling you may have is to keep to yourself and to talk to as little people as possible. Unfortunately, doing so won’t make you feel any better nor give you a better chance of landing a new (and better) job.

Instead, you should share with people whom you trust about your current predicament and seek their advice. These can be your career mentors, close friends, ex-colleagues or even your ex-boss, if both of you are on amiable terms.

Your confidants may have gone through a similar situation before and can provide you with fresh perspectives. They may even know of job opportunities and can help link you up with these openings. This can be valuable in helping you leave behind the past and move forward towards the future.

Another avenue you can turn to is Workforce Singapore (WSG). A statutory board under the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), WSG offers job seekers free career coaching services for Singaporeans and PRs through  Careers Connect. This allows you to speak to experienced Career Coaches who can guide you in determining your interests and skillsets, blind spots that you may have, and the types of jobs that is suitable for you.

#2 Spend Time On Yourself

One of the things that many people realise after a breakup is just how much “me time” they now have. Similarly, if you have been laid off from your job, you’ll find yourself with more time on your hands. This is an excellent opportunity for you to upgrade yourself or to pursue interests that you always had.

WSG also has a resource page for individuals looking to restart their career. The videos on this page will  bring job seekers through a series of relevant topics, such as the type of career opportunities available, where are the sectors with jobs and the kind of skills you need to get the right job.

If you like to get in touch with a Career Coach from WSG who can guide you on the steps to take to get a fresh start in your career, do indicate your interest in this form so that a Career Coaching appointment can be made for you.

#3 Put Yourself Back On The Market Again

When you feel like you have recovered from your breakup and are ready to move on, it makes sense to start dating again. It’s only by giving yourself (and others) a chance and meeting new people that you can hope to find someone you like.

In the same way, when it comes to finding a job, you need to start searching for what you want. The SGUnited Jobs Initiative is a good place to start looking for job seekers, especially for those whose jobs have been affected by the current COVID-19 situation.

During this period, there are also multiple virtual career fairs that you can join to look for jobs in industries that you are keen on. As always, the national job portal also remains available to help Singaporeans find new jobs based on their skills, experience and suitability.

Besides that, you can also consider existing schemes such as a Career Trial.  Administered by WSG and NTUC’s e2i (Employment and Employability Institute), Career Trial allows job seekers to gain relevant work experience through a short-term trial at a company, with the possibility of being offered a job  after the trial. Similar to dating, the objective is to understand if you and your potential employers are compatible with one another before both parties commit to a relationship full-time work arrangement.

Giving Up Shouldn’t Be An Option

Those of us who have our hearts broken before in a relationship will know that breakups are painful and can sometimes have a devesting impact on our mental well-being. And while the healing process may be different for everyone, we all need to move on eventually.

Likewise, if we find ourselves out of a job, it’s perfectly normal to feel anxious, discouraged and even betrayed. However, we need to remember that just like failed relationships, we have to move on.

Talking to people, seeking advice from experts, upgrading ourselves and giving ourselves a chance to explore a new job are some practical steps we can take.

For Singaporeans and Permanent Residents (PRs) who are looking for a job during this COVID-19 outbreak, the SGUnited Jobs Initiative offers short-term temporary positions offered by companies with urgent hiring needs. This is a great place to look if you need to find short-term employment.

If you are looking for a longer term solution, the Adapt & Grow initiatives offered by WSG can help you with career guidance, career transition or to search for a job.

DollarsAndSense is partnering with WSG to match job seekers to career opportunities. Whether you are a recently retrenched worker looking for a job, or are currently employed, but uncertain about your career prospects, WSG Career Coaches can help you in your job search efforts.

If you would like to tap on the Career Matching Services offered by WSG, indicate your interest in this form to set up an appointment with the Career Coaches. Do note that WSG services are available only for Singaporeans and PRs.

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