Layoff to Blastoff
View a Layoff As An Opportunity
If you’re breathing, you’ve probably been affected one way or another by the downturn in the economy, especially by layoffs. Whether you’ve been laid off yourself, a friend or spouse has been laid off, you’re afraid of being laid off, or you’re the one left to pick up the pieces (and the work) after someone else has been laid off, you’ve likely been affected in some way.
Times Have Changed
For most people, being laid off is a highly emotional and traumatic event. I still remember when it happened to me several years ago. I had been raised by parents who lived in the generation when you could still expect to work for one company for most of your life and retire with a pension and a gold watch. I thought that if I did a good job, didn’t cause problems, and in general, followed the rules, I could expect that too.
It was such a shock when I was told I was being laid off. Even though the company had been having layoffs once a year for the four years I had worked there, with each passing year I grew more confident I would have my job long-term. After all, I had gotten good performance reviews, I got along with everyone in my department and customers liked me. But, I was also the most recent one hired.
I still remember the drive home, being in shock, and not really seeing the road. Close to home, I started crying. Happy there would be no one there to see me in that condition, I let the tears flow. All kinds of questions ran through my mind:
- What should I do next?
- Will I have to sell the house?
- Will I be able to find a job?
- What will I do for money?
The New Normal
The hardest part for me was the next morning when I woke up. The realization hit me that I had nowhere to go. No one expected me to be anywhere or do anything. No structure. It was horrifying.
There are many resources available for the recently laid off - help with resumes, job boards, unemployment compensation, job retraining, networking groups. The information is easy to find. That’s the practical side of the issue. But there’s an emotional side as well. One that I feel needs to be addressed so that a person can move on in joy and passion.
Could It Be the Best Thing That Ever Happened To You?
You see, I look at a layoff in a different light, based on my experience and hindsight, which is often 20-20. I view a layoff (or any type of job disruption) as an opportunity to step back and take stock. A layoff really is a wonderful gift. I’ve heard so many stories of people who found new careers, ones they would never have even thought of prior to a layoff, that provided fulfillment and joy that their old job never would have. I’ve experienced that as well.
A layoff is an opportunity you’re not given very often. (Thank goodness, I hear you saying.) In fact, with the right mindset, courage and determination, you might find it was the best thing that ever happened to you.