About a month ago at AskMetafilter, a user wrote looking for advice on what do after losing his job:

TERROR! After 25 years in the IT industry in Ireland I feel like the 21st century equivalent of an expendable 19th century coal miner. I’m about to be made redundant (again) this afternoon and am gripped by terror. I don’t even know now what I want. Any career counseling advice?

The advice in the Ask Metafilter thread seems very practical:

  • Don’t take it personally. Many commenters noted that employees can lose their jobs for any number of reasons unrelated to performance and ability. Try not to let your job loss eat at your self-esteem.
  • Don’t panic. Any sudden life change can seem like the end of the world. It’s not. Take time to breathe. Gather your wits and move forward.
  • Maintain network connections. Reach out to your professional and social networks for support. You may not find a job through them, but you may be able to derive other benefits.
  • Buckle down financially. When you lose your job, it’s especially important to practice sound personal finance. Cut any unnecessary recurring expenses. Watch the discretionary spending. Make a budget.
  • Job hunt methodically. Take your time. Don’t just take the first job you’re offered. Look for a situation that will draw upon your strengths, a job that will make you happy.
  • Be open to change. If you live in a rural area, you may need to move closer to a city to find work. If you were working in a career that is disappearing (videotape duplicator?) then explore new lines of work.
  • Consider becoming a consultant. Depending on your career, freelance consulting work may be a viable option. It could at least provide some temporary income while you look for long-term employment.

One commenter recommended the venerable What Color is Your Parachute?, the bible of job-hunting. This book notes that there are three primary themes to job-hunters’ success stories:

  1. No one owes you a job. If you want a job, you’re going to have to work hard to get it.
  2. Job-hunting success is in direct proportion to job-hunting effort.
  3. Successful job-hunting requires a willingness to change tactics. If what you’re doing doesn’t work, then try something else.

This isn’t something I’ve ever experienced, but I watched my father lose a couple of jobs during the late seventies and early eighties. Those were tense times for us. We struggled to get by. Dad made it through by drawing support from faith and family. And when times got tough, he turned entrepreneurial.

Have you ever been fired or laid off? How did you handle it? What advice would you have for somebody in a similar situation?

Addendum: Here’s a related link I just found in my inbox: How to recession-proof your job search.

[Ask Metafilter: Made redundant in IT at 45y.o. Career change advice?]