Unexpected things happen all the time; it’s a part of life. Sometimes those things are good, sometimes they just flat out stink. I recently had the misfortune of losing my job. The company I worked for announced, out of the blue, that they were merging with another company.

My first thought was panic. We needed my paycheck. My husband, friends and coworkers kept telling me things would be fine and that I just needed to start looking for another job.  I realized very quickly that if I didn’t stay positive and focus on the good, then all the bad would overwhelm me.

I’m not trying to belittle the pain and anxiety you feel when you lose your job. Trust me. I know how it feels. But in my experience, you can’t let the loss overcome you. You have to focus on the positive things or you’ll make this experience even harder than it has to be.

These are some of reasons I have found that losing your job can be a good thing:

1. You finally have the chance to go back to school.

For many people, school is something they either didn’t get to do or haven’t finished yet. In my case I didn’t have the chance to finish my bachelor’s degree. I realized when I lost my job that I didn’t want to go back to work, I wanted to finish school. Finishing school will open more doors for me in the future than working would.

This choice is exciting and scary all at the same time. I haven’t gone to school in almost 10 years.

You need to make the decision whether continuing your education would benefit you or not and if it would be worth it.

2. You can spend some much needed time with the people who matter most.

You could spend these next days sleeping in and then sit on the couch all day and veg or you could wake up in the morning, get ready for the day and spend time with your friends and family. They are your support, they are the ones who will help you make it through this rough patch.

Take advantage of this time and spend it with your friends and family. You could even ask for their help to spread the word that you are looking for work.

3. You get to choose whether or not to go into the same line of work.

Many people find that the field they have been working in isn’t for them but hesitate moving into a new field because the unknown can be scary. If you lose your job, you’re pushed into the unknown whether you want it or not. This is your chance to change your career path.

Take a minute and think about what interests you. I once heard someone say that whatever you do in your free time is what you should be doing for a living. Look into all of your options don’t just fall back on what you’re comfortable with.

4. This gives you the chance to reevaluate your priorities.

During this time some people realize that their priorities have been too focused on the wrong things. Maybe they were working too hard or not enough. Maybe their family was being pushed down the list. Some people find that they were living a little too far out of their budget. Use this time to sit down and evaluate your life. Find areas where you could cut back and areas that need a little more.

It’s times like this that allow you to have a new start. You can decide now to make the changes that you’ve wanted to or needed to but couldn’t find a way.

5. You can take this time to travel.

Even though money might be tight, you can find ways to travel without breaking the budget. Whether you drive out of state to visit family or go camping for a week, there are always things to go do that get pushed off because of work.

Make sure that you set a budget for yourself and stick to it. When you don’t have paycheck coming in, you have be wary about how and where you’re spending money.

6. Find a better company.

A lot of people find that they get stuck working in a position for a company that they don’t like. As I stated before, quitting is scary because you’re choosing to step into the unknown. But, by losing your job, you’re being forced to step out. This is your chance to look and see what other companies are offering. Another company might provide better hours, more benefits, even a friendlier work environment. You should look for a company that provides whatever you felt your previous employer lacked.

On the flip-side, there are a lot of people who loved the company they worked for. But you just have to remember that you can find that again. A new company will be different, but that doesn’t make it a bad thing. Stay open to new experiences.

Losing your job is hard, trust me, I know. But by focusing on the positive side of things, you are able to see things in a different light. You’ll find that when something like this happens, you can keep moving forward. It’s not the end of the world. It’s not even the end of your career. You can find new opportunities, meet new people and get started on a new path.

Featured photo credit: David Shankbone via flickr.com

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