Dealing with business closures or a job loss
BUSINESS MATTERS BEYOND THE BOTTOM LINE - Francis J. Kong (The Philippine Star) - August 9, 2020 - 12:00am

COVID-19 has inflicted a heavy blow on the economy. Curbing the spread of the virus, the enforced lockdowns have forced the economy into an induced coma. Many small businesses closed and the result of this has led to job losses. Losing a job is hard when the performance delivered was not according to company expectations and measurements but losing a job for no fault of yours seems to come as a bigger shock. The knowledge that this situation is not unique to you and is happening worldwide does not offer any sense of consolation.

A job loss or a business closure is a setback in life, but you need to look at it for what it is a setback, and it does not mean you have lost it all. The experience, however, comes with an escalation of emotions. Some may treat this as humiliation, while others may consider it as an irreversible failure. This kind of mindset brings a lot of anxiety and may even lead to a sense of resentment and self-pity. These negative emotions would not be healthy and viable.

Whether looking for another job or perhaps pivoting to other things to do. A positive mindset will make all the difference in raising the batting average for a better option or opportunity rather than wallowing in misery and gloom.

I have dealt with situations like these before. Perhaps in different ways and some even at a more intense level. History is an excellent teacher, and hindsight is always 20-20 – and the year 2020 is a year we all will never forget (pun intended).

Here are some practices that have helped me, and as I share these, I hope the same can help you or at least equip you with some thoughts you can help someone who is going through some difficult situation today.

1. Accept your current reality.

One writer says: “Avoid the what shoulda-woulda-coulda happened, but didn’t.” You will get stuck in the past, and you would not be able to move on. It might even fuel your anger and self-pity and lead you to a sense of hopelessness and powerlessness. What you would want to do is to stay focused on the future. Ask yourself what strategy you should execute in tapping on to your network, friends, asking advice from people in the recruitment business, vendors and clients, and figuring out what to do next. Because whatever it is you are focused on expands. And you get moving.

2. Associate yourself with wise and positive people.

The people you associate with will impact the way you see yourself and your situation. Do you remember the phrase: “Misery loves company?” You need to make sure that you are not in a company of people in a marathon pity party. There are people in your circle who would lift you, but make sure they are optimistic but realistic and can provide you with wise counsel and evaluate your current strategy and situation.

3. You and your job or your business is not the same.

In other words, your job or your business does not define you. While a job loss or a business closure is hugely personal, you need to have the determination and the will to decide that you would not take it personally. Whether you will succeed after the setback depends on how you interpret the reversal. If you choose this as a reflection of rejection or personal inadequacy, it would be harder for you to bounce back. But if you take this as an unfortunate turn of events or circumstances beyond your control, you will have a healthier mindset that would enable you for a faster recovery.

4. Keep yourself healthy and busy.

Take care of yourself, eat right, exercise, get enough sleep and rest. It is easy to go into depression when you are not healthy. Read positive books, watch inspiring movies featuring real-life personalities who faced tremendous challenges yet succeeded. You might be able to pick up some creative ideas in the process. Do not be idle. Offer yourself to serve and help others who are in need and encourage others too. In doing so, you find meaning, joy, and know that you are useful. It helps you from dwelling on your problems and helping others is a high energy booster. This way, you can also build networks because getting a job or pivoting into another business has a great deal to do with word-of-mouth references.

A job loss, a business closure is not a dead-end; it is a detour. Devise a strategy on how you can recover and chalk this up as another valuable learning experience. Crises can make people better, a crisis can make people bitter, while crises can also make people butter. Do not melt. Make sure you belong to the first group.

(Connect with Francis Kong at www.facebook.com/franciskong2. Or listen to “Business Matters” Monday to Friday 8:00 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. over 98.7 DZFE-FM ‘The Master’s Touch’, the classical music station.)

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