Have you ever been laid off? If you have or feared you might be it’s often the most devastating professional experience you can have.
One of my clients expressed to me that getting laid off wasn’t a good thing. She said it was like “being thrown into a murky red sea filled with sharks and monsters.” She wasn’t sure about what was safe, what would make her ok, or what else she could do?
If you are like some Americans they live paycheck to paycheck and a layoff with some notice is helpful, but most are laid off with less than two weeks notice. This is frightening!
What do you tell your creditors, your friends, and your family? Where to start to pick up the pieces?
Here are some tried and true things to remember during a layoff:
1) Remain professional AND don’t burn any bridges. This is not the time to tell people what you really think of them in person or on Social Media. If you can thank your prior employer and co-workers for the experience, this is good enough.
2) Ask for contact information and reference information from your coworkers and the company. You will need this information for your next job and once you remember step 1 to be professional it will help.
3) Consider lateral transfers, both permanent and temporary. If you are able to negotiate your layoff by accepting a different position in the company or a temporary place do if you prefer to have more time at your current employer.
4) Remember to run a cash flow analysis of your funds.
So then what?
In my opinion, this is where the real work begins. Yes if you are willing, able, and the opportunity presents itself you can accept temporary work assignments for as long as you need to.
However, what does it mean to restart your career after a layoff, just work for the other companies’ competitor? Or does it mean you find what makes you spark?
Here are some important steps to find your spark?
1) Get clear on what you don’t want with your next permanent assignment or position. That’s really the most important first step. Many times we try to “go for the gold” position and quite frankly we aren’t always ready. We aren’t ready because sometimes we try to bargain with our fears if we are really worthy of the gold position. This comes across sometimes as we don’t know what we want and we remain uncertain. The best way to deal with uncertainty is to accept it as a moving state and focus on for sure we don’t want the following things.
For me, when I was laid off I didn’t want to work another supervisor that I didn’t trust. I was laid off same day with no pay, no prospects, and no contacts.
I wanted to be able to feel and see their support as a manager and anytime I felt it waned I looked for another job. Guess what? That has never happened I have never been laid off again because I learned that as soon as my supervisor’s support waned it was time for me to move on.
2) Get clear on what you do want. This is when creating a list of needs, duties, and FEELINGS of what you desire is good. The feelings are the most important because if you can’t feel what the new will be like go back to what you don’t want. a kernel of truth will show up and that’s what you want to focus on.
3) Start to evaluate and utilize what you do have. This means evaluate your resources. Review your contacts, skills, talents, and motivation. This will help formulate your choices. When I was laid off with no warning I was on my phone before I hit the parking lot calling and texting friends for support, reaching out to see if they knew of any jobs in my field, and how would they describe me as a job candidate? Because right then I couldn’t think of myself as marketable. Within 48 hours, everyone I knew had contacted me given their support, made suggestions, looked at my resume, took my resume to their bosses, offered up leads, and then asked the most important question, “What are you going to do?”
4) It is our choices that define us not our abilities. Do you know what my answer was? I have a new job right now! It was that simple and it worked!
But what about Shock and Grief?
Any kind of transition in our lives requires reflection and time to process. The important thing to remember is once the basics are handled never forget your choice to stay committed to yourself. You can work “doing a job” while you learning to delve into your passion. Most folks I have met it takes them sometime to figure out what they really want to do with their careers and their lives. Part of the reason for the layoff is to call to your attention this isn’t working and what else could I be doing?
I coach women daily on how to cultivate their enthusiasm and desire so they can find their strengths, use their talents and gifts at work and in life.
If you would like a free 30-minute consultation please feel free to connect with me at http://jeanniedougherty.com/contact/.