I have always tried to ‘walk the talk’ here at Write Change Grow.
When I talk about how to grow as a person or cope with change, I am either working through these issues myself or have dealt with them in the past and came out a better person.
Sometimes I’m quick to embrace change and sometimes I resist it a little. Sometimes I hate change as much as anybody else because it can be swift, brutal and painful.
Over the last week I have been coming to terms with a sudden change in my life.
I found out my contract is not renewed.
I know a lot of people would be dealing with the same situation at the moment. Permanent full time jobs (that don’t have an end date) are fading fast.
For workers who like to move around every two years its fabulous – for people who don’t like moving as much or more importantly find themselves in a company and a position they love the thought of moving isn’t appealing.
For some it’s downright daunting and scary.
Here are my tips on dealing with this contract gig and how to cope if your contract is not renewed.
Be financially prepared
If you are on a fixed term contract you need to be prepared in case the contract is not renewed.
I’m not saying this to freak anyone out (because a bucket load of contracts do get renewed) but it’s important to understand there is no guarantee that you will have a job when the contract runs out, so having your financial ducks in order can only be a good thing.
Don’t be under the impression that it’s too far away to think about. Two years can fly by. Fair enough you might not want to think about saving money as soon as you start your contract but at some point it needs to be a consideration.
I know saving extra money can be hard if you are living paycheck to paycheck but somewhere in your budget (and yes you should have one of those!) you need to set aside some money in case you need it.
Have a plan
Going into a fixed term contract, it’s always good to have some sort of idea what you might do after it finishes.
If the contract is extended (which a lot of them are) fantastic but it doesn’t hurt to think to yourself – if this contract ends after two years, what will I do next?
Take a moment
If like me your contract ends shocking the hell out of you, it could be a good time to take a moment and take stock of what you really want to do next.
Unfortunately money (or lack thereof) can lead us to make bad decisions. Fear and panic based decisions rarely ever lead to a good place. Plunging straight into another full time job that you don’t want and know you are going to hate just to pay the bills is going to make you miserable.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t start working straight away but perhaps a part-time, temp or casual position might help pay the bills, while you sort through what you want.
If you can afford to take a moment and think about what you want to do next – do it.
Deal with the shock
Shock is an interesting thing. It goes without saying I’m not a doctor so I have no idea how it works from a medical standpoint.
I do know what it feels like though.
I know what it feels like to shut down on some level. People are talking and you hear them speaking but don’t really hear them. They might as well be talking a foreign language considering what you absorb and remember.
There is something out-of-body about the whole experience, like you stepped out of your body for a moment and are looking down on yourself thinking – what the hell? I toned my language down a bit there – hell is not quite the word that springs to mind!
At the same time it feels like it’s not happening at all. It feels like a bad dream that you will wake up from and everything will be cool.
It’s a weird feeling. It’s also one you need to deal with. The good news is that this feeling passes but the time involved may differ from person to person, which leads to my next point.
Take any help that is offered
If your company offers you help – take it.
Don’t let your ego get in the way here. Don’t let anger, disappointment or any negative emotion make the important decisions for you.
Take help when it’s offered. Any career coaching or counselling will help you grow as a person and help you move through the whole shock/denial/loss/panic/fear process easier.
If no-one offers you help and you think you need it, find someone who can help you. Ask people you know for contacts and recommendations. Find organisations that can help you free of charge. You might have to dig a bit deeper to find these but the effort will be worth it.
Work through your emotions
I don’t cry a lot. Or as least I didn’t until my contract was not renewed, so imagine my surprise when I cried more in a week than I have in the last five years!
Seriously, what the?
I was extremely emotional (translate = sobbing mess) and I wasn’t happy about it. Crying made me feel weak and vulnerable. Basically it sucked.
Be aware that you might be in for a roller coaster of emotions. One day you might feel sad, the next angry. After the crying stopped I was surprised at how much anger I felt and had to process.
I dealt with the intensity of my emotions and started to feel better.
Don’t loss your sense of humor
In between all that crying, there was also laughter. There were bad jokes, sarcasm and moments where I shared a laugh with someone and totally forgot about my employment problems.
I’ll give you an example. At work I had a desk in the middle of an open plan corner of the office. All the other desks were connected to another desk except mine. I called it the island. Walking around the office on my final day a ‘Survivor’ thought popped into my head – Crap I’ve been voted off the island.
It made me chuckle to myself. I have a weird sense of humor and that’s okay, each to their own and all that. Just don’t lose your sense of humor. It will help you through when things get rocky.
Don’t take it personally
A few people have said this to me over the last couple of days.
To be honest, the first time someone said it I was pretty ticked off. All I could think about was my livelihood, my future and how I was going to keep a roof over my head which all felt pretty damn personal!
Then I thought about it a bit more and realized they had a point.
As much as we might love our co-workers, our jobs and our companies, it’s all about business. Businesses make strategic and financial decisions that have nothing to do with one particular individual. I’m not saying that’s right or wrong by the way, it’s just how it is.
It’s not personal, it’s just business. I choose to find some comfort in that.
Seize the opportunity
I am a big believer in taking something that feels like a disaster one moment and turning it into a fabulous opportunity!
This blog would not exist if I had not gone to London with my partner years ago and that relationship had not fallen apart in all manner of horrid ways. Was it awful at the time – God yes, I thought my heart would never recover, I thought I would never be the same again.
During that time I started writing, which lead me to this blog which is now a wonderful part of my life and a big part of who I am.
Disaster to opportunity.
You may be on the brink of an amazing opportunity! Sometimes we just have to be open to what is possible and sometimes not listen to people who tell us things are impossible.
Do you have something that you have always wanted to do but not had the time? Now could be that time. It’s all up to you.
Think big and be brave. Opportunity is everywhere, we just have to jump when it comes along.
Have you found yourself in a similar situation? How did you cope when your contract was not renewed?
Please share this post with your friends. It might help one of them through a challenging time.
Need some help staying positive through the often frustrating process of job hunting, read my post How to Stay Positive, Motivated and Sane During the Job Hunting Process