Moving on Requires Letting Go of Your Ex-Employer
The Art of Finding Work

Moving on Requires Letting Go of Your Ex-Employer

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Moving on quickly from being let go is essential to maintaining your career trajectory. It is a waste of time, and mental energy to dwell on the past and wish what happened didn’t happen.  

Everyone has a few “ex-employer.” I don’t know anyone who hasn’t lost a job involuntarily. Many of my friends have lost more than one job. The government’s handling of the pandemic led to millions of Canadians losing their jobs they considered reasonably safe. The pandemic taught all employees, regardless of how they weathered it, these hard truths: 

  • You don’t own your job.
  • Without any notice, your job could disappear.

With the pandemic slowly receding in June, Canada’s unemployment rate reached a historic low of 4.9%. However, even with a buffet of employment opportunities to pick and choose from, many job seekers still find themselves unable to secure the employment they desire. This can be due to poor communication skills, lack of a professional network or an unprofessional image. It can also be due to a mental barrier I often see among unsuccessful job seekers; an ongoing emotional attachment to their former employer(s). 

Holding onto the expectations built around your experience with your previous employer(s) hinders you from moving on—to minimally disrupt your career trajectory.

There are 6 steps to moving on after being let go.

  1. Accept the fact that your job is over.
  2. Give yourself time to mourn.
  3. Reflect. (Perhaps your ex-employer did you a favour.
  4. Forgive. 
  5. Decide to be happy. (Happiness is a choice.)
  6. Adopt a mindset of being open to new possibilities.

Many job seekers will disagree with the following statement because it doesn’t fit their “I’m a victim!” narrative: Being let go is rarely personal. Whatever the reason, showing you the door was a business decision—you were no longer needed.

When fresh out of a romantic relationship, it’s not wise to compare your dates with your previous relationship. You’ll prolong the process of finding a good match if you evaluate your dates against your ex. If you didn’t initiate the breakup, then comparing a potential future partner against your ex is being closed-minded. You’re seeking someone who emulates the person who once played an important role in your life, which will at the very least frustrate you. The same can be said for finding your next employer. Since no two employers, or bosses, are alike, it’s counterproductive trying to replicate your ex-employer/ex-boss.

Not letting go of your ex-employer can lead you to ignore jobs outside the industry you’ve built your career in. As well, when job opportunities don’t match your previous employment’s schedule, compensation structure, or brand cache, which you were proud to be associated with, you’ll tend to pass over them, thus not exploring “the possibility.”  

Job seekers who secure their next job quickly have put their previous employer behind them and are open to trying something new. All of us have heard stories about relationships spawned by, “He wasn’t even my type but—.” The word “but” tells us that unexpectedly good things can happen in unexpected places. When you apply “but” to the job market, you click on those job posts with an unfamiliar job title and give the post a good read. 

For every person who scrolls past a job posting because they feel unqualified, another equally unqualified person will apply. They understand they’ll have to prove (sell themselves) that they can do the job. If this doesn’t sound like the employment version of approaching someone out of your respective “dating league,” I don’t know what does.

In our ever-hyper-changing world, where you and I as consumers keep demanding cheaper, job loss is inevitable. Though the signs that your employer will soon be conducting layoffs are often visible, it’s difficult to predict with certainty if and when it’ll happen. All you can hope for is that you have a good run with your employer. (In 2022, 5 years with the same employer is considered a “good run.”) Certainly, nobody expected to lose their job due to a worldwide pandemic. 

Involuntary departures are never easy, especially if you enjoyed your boss, job, co-workers, and that oxymoron called a “steady paycheck.” The trick is to manage these lapses in employment, which will inevitably occur throughout your career, confidently and strategically. (TIP: Keep your LinkedIn profile up to date and network constantly so that when the inevitable happens, you can start job searching ASAP.)

Compared to your previous employer(s), your next employer will:

  • Look and feel different.
  • Have different expectations, policies, and procedures
  • Have a different “culture.”
  • Probably take you out of your comfort zone.

As a job seeker, you’ll be in a great frame of mind if you accept these points and leave your ex-employers in the past, where they belong. 

______________________________________________________________ Nick Kossovan, a well-seasoned veteran of the corporate landscape, offers advice on searching for a job. You can send Nick

Nick Kossovan
Nick Kossovan
Nick Kossovan, a well-seasoned veteran of the corporate landscape, offers advice on searching for a job. You can send Nick your questions at [email protected]