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Life After Layoff

Updated on June 20, 2019

This Too Shall Pass

If you were ever unable to avoid a work reduction in force (RIF), my sympathies for your loss. It is as much your loss (of employment) as your employer's loss (of your talents and contributions). Your now former employer will most certainly continue on without you, but what about you? You've packed up your office. You've signed your termination of employment paperwork. You've headed home and you're facing (hopefully not) many tomorrows of finding a new job/career. Are you ready?

First Things First

If you were laid off through no fault of your own, you're probably feeling a bit discarded right now. Seems pretty appropriate, especially if you enjoyed your job, worked hard on your tasks/objectives, and were excited to see your company succeed. If this is the case, remind yourself that you were (and will soon once again BE) a valuable contributor to your work team. When you've put forth your time, energy and focus to your work but you could not be rewarded by at LEAST keeping your job, there is no need to waste a moment blaming yourself for being let go.

Businesses have to meet their objectives and remain competitive and profitable to stay IN business. If reducing employee headcount was a valuable tactic to achieve their goals, then now... it is what it is. Try not to dwell too much on feeling personally outed or spend lots of time wondering how you could have worked differently or better to possibly survive the headcount purge. Focus instead on how you can help your NEW employer once you find them!

Moving On!

So you went home, told your family the news, hopefully spent a day or week or whatever time you need to shake off your loss and all its corresponding impacts on your thoughts and feelings. Now your friends/family are all off doing their thing... work, school, all the things they did when you were away at work previously (and will be soon again). Assuming you don't want to (or don't have the means to) take a break from work to spend time working around the house, taking a trip, or even just relaxing/resetting from your busy day-to-day, you need get the ball rolling on finding your next job. Find your resume, add your latest work experiences to your above the fold info and get your resume live online. LinkedIn, CareerBuilder, Monster, ZipRecruiter, etc... blast your credentials onto the sites that will help you find a new gig. If you already have profiles in places such as these, check them all to be sure your information is up to date, still applicable, etc. If that's all you can handle for one day, return to all those sites ASAP to create some fresh job alerts so the websites can inform you when there are matches to a job skills!!

Now get going on applying to openings. Whether it's the same exact job you had with your previous employer or something in the same field, but different... get your resume to employers proactively as soon as possible. If they aren't interested in your application for one job, they may have another position you'd suit even better. But nothing can happen until you start getting in the game of asking for employer's consideration.

Here We Go

When you're called for interviews, put your best foot/face forward. Dress appropriately for the meeting. Bring resume copies, bring a notepad/pen, and look over the company's website before the meeting so you know what they do, why and what their goals are this year. Be ready to ask questions. Be on time to the interview. Go in there and explain to the hiring team why you're excited for their new opportunity.

When you return from the interview, follow up with a quick "Thank you for your time" correspondence. After that, keep on your job searches, follow-ups, applications and make sure you're at the ready to dazzle at a call back interview, or a different hiring event. Keep at it. Keep networking. Stay social and make sure everyone's aware you're available for hire in your field (or otherwise). Be relentless until you're offered another job that you're excited to accept.

In The Mean Time...

When you've got a fresh profile on the career search sites, your resume is published to nationwide search agents and it's utterly clear to all employers that you're actively looking for another job, be sure to reach out to former coworkers, new friends, etc. for recommendations/referrals/endorsements. This will give those contacts time to supply the kudos your next employer will notice or even require in their application process. Visit your career sites daily to search favorable opportunities, follow-up on any saved searches, even find local job fairs to attend. Make hard copies of your resume as needed for interviews, fairs, etc. Get ready so when employers reach out, you can respond without delay.

After all business related "work ahead" tasks are managed, don't forget to work on you. Keep up with your workout regimen. Play with your pets/kids. Attend worship if usual. Clean up around the house, the yard, your car, etc. Run the errands you didn't have time/energy to complete while you were on the job. Get it all done now to keep from going stir crazy with nothing to do AND because soon you'll be back to work and won't have the precious time you have right now. You'll sleep better, all your work outside the office will be done and you'll be ready to get back to work.

Don't Worry, Be Happy!

Being out of work can be stressful. Try not to worry about your loss of income, your previous life plans that revolved around your last job or what the next job holds for you. Stay positive; keep your focus on finding the next job and enjoying your time off work as you can. "Bad news never had good timing," so don't lay awake all night wondering WHEN your next job will be available or what you'll do in the mean time. If income is an urgent concern, find a temporary job doing something that may be outside your career path so you can worry less about your bills/spending needs. Just be sure to reserve time for job interviews so your career stays on track, unless that's not your priority.

You're in charge. This really is an opportunity to find your next great job. Review what you want in an employer, what you need, what you won't tolerate and what you can live with. Be ready to return to the workforce in a position that isn't 100% ideal but very doable as your next job. But don't sell yourself short. Don't take a job that will make you miserable, unless your income needs leave no other option. Find something you love to do, for compensation you can live with. And remember not to punish the next employer or team members with any bitterness you may still have about being laid off. It happens to lots of people all the time. Life beyond the lay off is what you will make it. Good luck, and here's to your next career adventure!

© 2019 dembiczak

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