I was laid off in January 2014. It was a devastating assault on my sense of self and how I believed I contributed to the world. Did I take it personally? You bet I did. How could I not?
How could you not? I’ve met numerous people since then that have found themselves in the same situation and feel the same way. One day you have a job, a place to go every day and, if you are lucky, a comfortable community of co-workers who have become friends. Then, even when you know it’s coming, you’re laid off and it changes everything.
When you are laid off all of a sudden you don’t know what to do with yourself and the internal questions are overwhelming. Did I do something wrong? Didn’t they value my work? How will I pay my bills? What will I say to family and friends? Most of all, WHY ME? It’s an incredible loss, like somebody died. Well, somebody did die – and that somebody was the part of you that existed at work. And that is very personal, because now what?
Let’s face it, getting laid off sucks. But it’s going to be okay. Here’s why:
- You will stop asking yourself why this happened to you. It just did. Cry in the shower. Cry with your spouse. Cry in your car. Then stop crying.
- You are going to recognize that what looks bleak now can be an amazing opportunity to reframe your work and your life.
- You will set an alarm every day, get dressed like you may see someone who could hire you (you may!), and go to “work” on searching for what’s next.
- You will not be embarrassed by this! Just stop it. Instead, you will craft a message about the work you are looking for or the new business you are starting and you will share that with everyone you see.
- You will carry resumes and business cards with your contact info with you at all times. You will keep extras in your car.
- You will identify ways to get around the deep, dark, black hole that is online applications. Network, do informational interviews, get on LinkedIn and update your profile, connect with others through professional associations in your field.
- You will learn how to accurately assess a job posting and you will tailor your resume and cover letter for that specific position.
- You will do a targeted job search instead of sending out hundreds of resumes, or blindly applying for everything you think you could do.
- You will get support when you need it. You’ll find the friend you can talk to when your family has heard enough, you’ll read widely about how others have traveled this path successfully, and you won’t waste your precious time flailing around with no plan.
- You will be nice to the people who love you. It’s not their fault you got laid off, and they are going through this too. They can be your greatest support.
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