Rebounding from a Lay Off
Economists tell us that the changing job market is a good thing. It shows us what works and what does not work. What worked for a time will not continue to work as technology improves. The ice man lost his job and was retrained and hired as a freezer manufacturer.
Do not burn your bridges. Do not allow hurt and anger to reflect negatively on your exit. A gracious departure will work in your favor for future referrals or possible rehire.
Understand conditions. Seek counsel regarding unemployment benefits or departure package from your employer. Will they pay for schooling? What compensation is there for unused vacations or sick days? Look into extending insurance coverage through cobra. Determine how to invest your IRA rollover.
Your job is finding a job. Step back into the job market immediately. Do not depress and do not delay. Brush up your resume and polish your networking skills. Get out the door five days a week, eight hours a day. At the Salvation Army’s Fresh Start Center, Federal convicts have fifteen days in which to find employment or its back to prison. If they can do it, you can too.
Network, network, network. Tell everyone you know that you are available; remember the five degrees of separation. Do it in concentric circles – family, friends, acquaintances, colleagues, clients, vendors, professional contacts, community leaders, business owners and the internet. Make memorable business cards and hand them out in mass. My friend in the education field was downsized. She made a clever calling card proclaiming, “School is out… I’m not ready for recess.”
Practice interviews. Know what BNI calls your “elevator speech”. Condense your job skills, qualifications and character qualities to a sound bite that can be professionally delivered to anyone, anywhere, at any time. Include what you have to offer and what you will accept. Perfect your performance in front of the mirror, on your cat and to your family. Graciously receive their input.
Obtain counsel. The fee for professional help is an investment in your future. They are experts at packaging you and your material to make the best impressions. The human condition is to sell self short. From a dynamic cover letter to a spruced up resume, the professional is less modest in extolling your stellar qualifications and outstanding character qualities.
Something is better than nothing. Monetary resources deplete quickly so a job beneath your qualification level is still employment. We have an innate need to serve and this is accomplished to a large degree through the work we perform. All jobs are honorable, as long as they are legal and moral, and you add dignity to the position. Negotiate with the employer that you are willing to become an apprentice to learn new skills. Use your experience as leverage to move up the ladder quickly.
Be open to a new career. Maybe the time has come to start your own business and turn your hobby into a career. Explore new interests and technology through education. Become an apprentice to a master.
Difficult times force us to step outside our comfort zone. Have fun and grow in the process. Use your creativity to expand shrinking income, use set backs to strengthen your stamina, develop internal character qualities, appreciate family and time spent together, and always trust your higher power.