Ok, this one is a little longer than some of my other posts so I hope you’ll stick around long enough to read to the end as it’s got some helpful insights that I hope you’ll find helpful. If it doesn’t apply to you today, maybe someone in your life can benefit, so please share it with them.
You’ve been laid off. You’ve spent 10 + years with your employer, given them your all, dedicated your time and energy to achieving a common goal and find yourself shocked and an emotional mess.
Losing your job can be one of the most trying experiences to go through in your career, especially if it comes unexpectedly. Even through a re-org/re-structure/lay off (whatever the reasons your company gives you), there’s still a sense of personalization that many people hold onto that can immobilize them from moving forward and knowing HOW to move forward.
The transition; the in between stage can be one of the most emotional and sometimes confusing experiences. I’ve heard stories from countless candidates and friends who have all experienced a separation from their employer for a variety of reasons and have found themselves scrambling to re-invent themselves and start over.
I’ve been there myself when I made the choice to abruptly quit my job years ago and found myself out of work for 9 months. The transition was a roller coaster, but I learned a lot during that time, and frankly many years later of what I WISH I spent more of my time on.
So what where do you start?
Feel it ALL…
For starters – if you feel like complete S**t and are an emotional basket case, it’s normal and completely OK! Feel the emotions, process them, but don’t live there. Do what you need to do to help you get through the emotions, tap into your support system (family, friends, colleagues, etc.) if you need to. No one expects you to do it alone and you don’t have to.
What doesn’t kill you, makes you…
Stronger, wiser and experienced. Heck, I’d even throw in a survivor in there. Chances are, you’ve gone through worse in your life and you’re still standing. You’ve survived. If not, then let this be a humbling experience to remind you that this is most definitely an OPPORTUNITY (or I hope you will come to see that eventually) and you are being re-directed. Remember, your job does not define you. Your JOB is what you DO not WHO you are.
Once your heart and mind are back in the right place, use this time to PLAY! Even for a brief time, how often will you get the chance to have fun? Explore? Just BE and relax. Ok, ok, I get it – you have bills, responsibilities, we all do. BUT if you can afford to even take a week off to decompress and reflect, get back in touch with YOU, then why not use this time to do that? It’s a great opportunity to reset and think about next steps.
While I think we should always find time to give back, this is a great time to do some volunteer work. With the extra time you have on your hands, you can spend even more time giving back and perhaps dedicate yourself to some of the more cherished charities/shelters, etc. that are close to your heart. You’re not only helping someone in need, but it boosts the feel-good emotions and will lift your spirits.
You’re ready to get back into the game and your resume/profile is updated. Where do you start? Honestly, if you’re looking to find another job doing what you were doing before, then start your search as though you were looking while still employed. The difference here is you have more time. 🙂
- Network effectively – both online and in person. Find out events you can attend/participate in. Keep in mind, you don’t always have to identify large conferences or career fairs to attend. It could even mean a corporate social event that you identify, i.e. a customer appreciation event, a celebratory event a company is having that you can go to. Maybe it’s a friend who extends the invite for you to join a happy hour outing that allows you the opportunity to meet some industry professionals. There are ALWAYS opportunities, just be creative and think outside the traditional norms of what networking looks like.
- Research companies you want to work for – make sure they’re companies you actually like and they align with your values. Applying endlessly to any job is ineffective and not strategic. Give this some thought.
- Be CLEAR on what you’re looking for. What type of role? Are you open to contract/consulting/project assignments? Be specific if you’re trying to target a similar opportunity to what you last had.
If you’re looking to take a different direction all together… the world is your oyster.
The end of one job can be the beginning of a GREAT time to start a new career or perhaps an opportunity to be an entrepreneur and running your own business.
- Take time and reflect on what it is you want. Are you in a stage of your life where maybe you feel you have enough experience, you want to run your own business? This could be a great time to explore that. What does this look like for you?
- Say YES to all assignments. I’ve always been one to encourage people to be open to opportunities that come their way. Yes, you can be selective, however when you find yourself out of work and you’re looking to get back into the game and exploring what you should do next, why deprive yourself of an opportunity to do something? What if it’s new or different? The opportunity itself might not be ‘ideal’ (whatever that is to you) but maybe it leads you to meeting someone who can lead you to a BETTER opportunity? Just be OPEN and evaluate before jumping to a quick NO. Opportunities are not always obvious – stepping stones can lead you to great opportunities.
- Talk to people who have had a similar experience to your own. They left a job or career and transitioned into something new. Where did they start? How did they figure out their next steps? Get different perspectives and see how you can apply that to your own situation.
I hope this serves you. The transition can mean different things to everyone. Whatever you’re going through now, remember, it doesn’t last forever and treat this moment in time as a journey or chapter of discovery.
Thanks for making it to the end! Your time, attention and your light is always appreciated.