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Negotiation & Self-Advocacy


By Ashley Paré - February 02, 2024

Is an unexpected job loss in your work history preventing you from showing up confidently and negotiating for your worth at work?

One of the biggest myths I hear over and over again about career growth is this:  “It’s SO much easier to get a new job while you have a job”. 

I don’t necessarily agree.  Plenty of folks successfully land and negotiate new job offers, even in new industries, after taking time off from work for whatever reason:  illness; parental leave; medical leave, and yes, even job loss.  I’ll even argue that folks who take time away from work give themselves an advantage in the market.  You can create a sense of urgency on the employer side that you are a real catch and they better snatch you up quickly before someone else does.

The trick is to own your story and your worth. 

One of the hardest things you may have to navigate in your career is losing a job and searching for a new one while you’re not working.  Even if you get advanced notice that your position is being eliminated and you receive a severance agreement, losing a job is a major live event (but, it doesn’t define who you are or your capabilities).

Being upfront about why you have a ‘break’ in your resume and clearly articulating the value you will deliver in your next organization is crucial to weaving a story that will enable you to land on your feet.

Terminations are a part of business, and yet they’re typically surrounded by secrecy and silence and can lead to feelings of guilt, fear, and shame. Job loss affects people both financially and psychologically – one study showing that 94.3% suffered depressive symptoms and 58.7% suffered with anxious symptoms while being unemployed.  Money magazine reports 61% of people have lost a job for longer than a year by the time they reach age 70. Our work cultures are not setup to support those who have experienced the loss.

So of course when you consider negotiating a new job offer from this emotional place it can feel overwhelming and career limiting.

But it doesn’t have to be a fear-filled process when you get clear about why you are worthy of being paid competitively for your skills, expertise, experience and contribution.

Here are a few of the ways I hear people rationalize not negotiating a new job offer when they’re not currently working:

  • What if I lose out on the job offer and have to start my search again?
  • What if they think I’m being greedy?
  • What if I’m “negotiating against” someone who is currently employed?
  • I should just be grateful I’m landing a new job and not rock the boat

Being in that emotional place may lead you to end up saying “yes” to the first new job offer you receive after being laid off (without negotiating), because you feel grateful to get any offer.

It can cost you time, money, and happiness.

I invite you to think about negotiating your next job offer from this perspective:

  • What if I settle and have to find another new job in 6 months?

  • What if your new hiring manager is excited about your confidence and feels lucky to have you on their team?

  • What if YOU ARE THE TOP candidate because you received the job offer?

  • Do you want to work for a team/boss/organization where you can’t self-advocate?


It’s a no brainer to negotiate no matter your current job status, right? So, how do you build confidence after a job loss and position yourself for future success without settling?

Do the inner work to own your worth and articulate your value!  Get clear on how you made an impact in your previous job.

  • How did you help save the company money?
  • How did you make your boss’ job easier?
  • Now that you’re no longer working in your role every single day, how do you think that’s impacting your team?

It’s easy to get stuck in feelings of fear and self-doubt.  It’s easy to settle for the very first job that comes along.  But, it’s worth it to own your worth and get clear about what you want and don’t want in your next role.

The power of negotiation is rooted in your resilience – “no” is not the end.  

Now, this might mean that you decide take a temporary pay cut, change in title, less responsibility or something “less” than, for a short time.  It’s okay to have a stepping stone to get you from point A to point B.  But, it can be on your own terms.  If you negotiate and hear “no”, you still get to decide if you want to say “yes”.  A new job isn’t forever.

Here’s a helpful fill in the blanks exercise to support you in owning and articulating your value in the workplace to ground yourself for your upcoming interviews and negotiations.

Dear Potential New Employer, 

Thanks to my ability/strength in BLANK,

I was able to secure/change/achieve BLANK, 

which helped/benefited the company by BLANK (making or saving $, people, process etc).

You can confidently negotiate after losing a job because you retain your value in the marketplace.  In order to get to a place where you feel ready to speak up, own your worth, and negotiate to be paid fairly and competitively in your next role:

  • ground yourself in your contribution and capabilities and articulate how you can deliver value to an organization by sharing examples

  • address the emotional components of negotiating which involve your relationship with money and self-confidence

  • be aware of feelings of fear, guilt, anger, and sadness connected to your job loss

With the proper mindfulness techniques and strategies, an unexpected job loss can be turned into an opportunity to find clarity, pivot, and create financial abundance in your next role.  

As one client shared, “I have recently come to know my worth, precisely because of a job loss in a job where I was not valued.”

Job loss is an event over the course of your long-term career – it doesn’t define your career.  How can you own your story and make your next job a stepping stone to your best one yet?