How I reacted and what I have done since being Laid Off
Very briefly, I started my job in 1997 and survived quite a number of layoff rounds due to acquisitions and restructuring but then finally it was my turn.
The day it happened - Develop a positive mantra
On Thursday, August 4th I got the news, packed up my desk quickly and headed home. I was in a state of shock for the first hour after I found out, but saying a mantra in my head over and over again helped 'I will find work soon, I will find work soon, I will find work soon'. Find your own mantra that will help restore your faith and make you feel positive and you'll get over the shock too.
Fortunately I had been at the company for 14 years, and so I had a generous severance package which did not mean I was in a panic or a rush to find work immediately.
Career Transition Advice
My company paid for a career transition course that I took and that I found invaluable as it had been so long since I was on the job market. The course went into great detail about how to do the job hunt, what are the different avenues to follow to find work and what are the networking methods most effective. It also went into how to prepare for and perform during an interview and then later on, how to negotiate the terms of employment once an offer is made.
One advice they recommend that I'd like to share is to list off the things you really want to have in your new job so that if you get an offer that has too many things that are not what you want, you can know that you shouldn't accept it. For example, what I wanted was:
- A salary equal to or higher than what I was earning
- A reasonably easy commute
- A gym onsite, or a gym subsidy
- Flexibility to be able to take my kids to appointments periodically by making up time at night or on weekends
If ever you are laid off and this type of course is offered to you, I highly recommend you take it.
Looking for work
I figured the sooner I could get back to work, more of the severance package could be used for things other than 'living expenses'. So soon after the course I completed my resumé and was creating profiles on all of the major job search sites. Another reason for looking for work quickly is that August - September is a time of year that companies are often looking for people.
Here are the things I have done to look for work that I would recommend you do:
- Create your profile and upload your resumé to the main job search sites - I used monster, workopolis and jobboom.
- Make a list of companies that you would like to work for based on their location (for easy commute), their benefits, what the company does and any other factors you would consider. For each of those companies, go to their website's career sections and see if there is a way for you to upload your resumé and create a profile. If there are any jobs that match your skill set, apply right away.
- Get the word out to all of the people you know that you are in the hunt, this kind of personal networking is quite often the way that people are hired.
By following these steps I have already had three interviews and one job offer, all after having been laid off only a month ago.
If you get laid off, stay positive, get your resumé up to date and get the search started as soon as possible to avoid being laid off for many months.
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