Ariane de Bonvoisin

The first 30 days after a job loss will no doubt be filled with fear, anxiety and grief. After all, the life you were living changed instantly against your wishes.

You might hear experts spout the typical advice they give to people who have lost their jobs, advising them to update their resumes, lean on their network of contacts and even start that birdwatching hobby they always wanted to try. That's all good, practical advice that works in theory, but the reality of finding another job and keeping your life together isn't pretty. Here are some tips for getting you through some of the challenges of coping with a job loss that people won't tell you about.

1. See a financial adviser.
You've just lost what's probably your main source of income. Since your expenses won't be shrinking any time soon and the cost of living is only going up, you'll need some help to make sure you don't go broke while you seek your next position. Even if you can't afford to keep someone on retainer, most mutual funds and banks will give you a free consultation. Free websites like will help you keep track of finances as well. And it may sound obvious, but check to see if you qualify for unemployment benefits. Many people never think to do this. This is a great time to manage money wisely, and get on good footing for the future.

2. Think like an entrepreneur.
Entrepreneurs do everything in their power to make their business dreams come true, using perseverance and patience as their allies to reach their goals. Make these qualities a part of your new motto. The reality is that it may take much longer to find a new job than you think it will. Many people are running out their unemployment benefits, taking six months or more to find a new job. Continue to ask yourself which contacts you can call on for help, check in with colleagues frequently, and never give up.

3. You might have to settle for less.
You don't have to be pessimistic, but you do have to be realistic. We're entering a pretty dire economic climate and your dream job might not be available for the next few years. But you still have to eat and pay rent/mortgage, so you might have to look for something that pays less or is a title or two lower than what you're expecting. Some jobs leave the market and never come back, and you may be facing that reality. Don't get discouraged. No matter where you land, you always have the potential to move up.

4. Celebrate. Maybe even take a vacation.
You read that right. You should enjoy yourself. This will be one of the few times in life that you're unencumbered by work, so do what you want. You probably didn't take any vacation time or personal days while you were at your last job, so use this period of adjustment to get away. It'll give you a chance to get some perspective. And yes! There are ways to do this inexpensively. Take that “stay-cation” you always dreamed about or visit some relatives. Believe it or not, you'll miss this time when it's gone.

5. Don't get addicted to your job loss story.
Take the time to vent to friends and family, but declare an end to the pity party at a certain date. From then on, don't rehash the story, blame others or explain it to anyone who asks you for the time. Blame never accomplishes anything. It will only hold you back and recruiters can sense resentment from a mile away.