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Don't Play the When-I-Get-a-New-Job Game

By Nan S. Russell

Operating as if life is on-hold, some people play the "when-game" after job loss:

  • When I get a job...
  • When finances get stronger...
  • When things get back to normal...


  • My life will start, again.
  • I’ll take care of myself.
  • Things will be fine.
  • I’ll be happy, again.

In their mind, life starts up again after a job offer, when this crisis passes, or when things settle down.

But, none of us have a perfect life. Everyone has hiccups, potholes, and struggles along the way.

And waiting until problems no longer exist is like waiting for your "real" life to begin, when it’s already here.

3 Don'ts to Avoid in Your Job Loss Recovery

So, as you work through this job loss pothole, here are three don’ts to keep in mind:

#1: Don’t Be Killing Time

In this sometimes crazy, unpredictable world, amidst life’s heartaches and challenges, tomorrow isn’t promised to any of us. Whether you have a job or you don’t have one right now, it doesn’t matter. Now is the time you have.

Yet, sometimes we operate as if time were a perpetual commodity, an undepletable resource for us, or a constant, like gravity. But as a wall plaque reminds, “This moment is your life.” Don’t surrender these moments to job loss.

#2: Don’t Be Feeling Green

Your friend got a terrific job with all the perks you’d like. That lump in your chest is not one of congratulations. Green-eyed thoughts can commandeer us at times, and none of us are immune to occasional feelings of envy or jealously.

But envy warps your thinking from what you have to what you perceive you don’t. The shadow of what you think you don’t have shades the view of what you do. No good will come from feeling green. Use those feelings as a reminder to increase your perspective, appreciation, and gratitude.

#3: Don’t Be Giving Up Your Dreams

Risk of pain, disappointment and difficulties following job loss can keep you from your dreams. But there’s more risk to you in not pursuing them. Your dreams will help change the life you have into the life you want.

Some dreams hold the promise of new beginnings, the craziness of audacity, or the hope for a better world. Some dreams are about you; some about those you love; some about those you don’t even know. But all your dreams matter.

They help you navigate life, planting seeds of possibility, imagination and potential.

Now is not the time to give yours up. Job loss is a temporary set-back, not a permanent state. Hold tight to your dreams.

There will be days...

Persistent determination in the face of hardship, loss, change, and struggle is difficult at best, challenging always, and emotionally draining. These are the days when a plaque in my office holds the best wisdom I know. It reads:

"Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, 'I will try again tomorrow.'"

There will be days when the world seems bleak, dark, and overwhelming. It happens to all of us. But don’t let those days push the "Hold" button on your life.

About this author...

Nan Russell

Job Loss Recovery Expert Nan S. Russell discovered a Stanford degree didn’t protect her from being fired from her first professional job. From minimum wage to Vice President of a multi-billion dollar company, she learned the hard way. Now she helps others with what does and doesn’t work at work. The author of three career books including, The Titleless Leader, Hitting Your Stride, and Nibble Your Way to Success, Nan is a national speaker and work issues consultant. More at; and her job loss seminar: Rebooting After Job Loss.