Career News Service-As hard as it is to do, it's important that you straighten your shoulders, look everyone you meet in the eye and admit that you've been fired, or laid off, or retired.
Many people are so overcome with shame and embarrassment when they're suddenly faced with a job loss, they can't talk about it. But that can present a lot of problems says Jean Baur, author of Eliminated! Now What? Finding Your Way from Job-Loss Crisis to Career Resilience.
"Sustaining a ruse that you're still employed, so that your family, friends and neighbors don't know the truth, takes a lot of energy-energy you need for your job search. Secondly, you are virtually guaranteeing that you will have almost no help from your network because no one knows you're looking for work. And lastly, this ties you to the past-to your past job, past schedule, and so on, and therefore makes it much harder to move forward," Baur explains.
Rather than keep their transition a secret, job seekers should discuss their situation with others after developing a well-prepared message that acknowledges why they are searching for a new opportunity and how they plan to move forward.
In addition, Baur offers the following do's and don'ts for discussing career transition with others:
* Prepare a simple, clean message about why you were let go. These statements are often built around reorganizations, acquisitions, loss of sales, a reduction in force and so on. Test it on a few people to make sure there are no red flags.
* Start creating a list of the people you know. List making helps you think of others. Many job seekers I've partnered with, after a week or two of working on the list, think of a really wonderful contact that can open doors for them.
* Be aware that this is a tricky time for most people going through it and move slowly. You want a strong foundation before you jump into networking and interviews.
* See if there is one small action you can take today that will help you move forward. This could be reading through your resume, making a list of your key strengths, or thinking about the work you've enjoyed most.
* Hide, but rather find your own pace and style, and when you're ready, begin sharing your news with others.
* Let your bitterness or anger come through in your conversations, except with your closest friends.
* Introduce yourself in the past tense, such as "I used to be an IT Manager." It's much better to say, "I am an IT Manager, most recently with XYZ Company and I'm excited to be looking for...."