Layoff? After the Despair, Prepare

luke skywalker
by tomhe

After being laid off four times in 22 years, I know what it is like first hand. The first time was by far the most devastating. Thoughts of, “What am I going to do now?” come flooding through. Questions of, “What did I do wrong to deserve this?” dominate our minds. That unanswered question leads to fear and even embarrassment about what the answer might be. I found myself thinking, “What can I do to fix this to get my job back?” Co-workers don’t know what to say. They avoid eye contact as you feel the chill of isolation start to settle in like a dense fog that everyone else can escape except you. Peers treat you differently because there is no “see you tomorrow.” Suddenly, your career, this identity you have nurtured for years, developed, and become dependent upon has come to a screeching halt. 
What you may be failing to recognize is that millions of people have been laid off. “Yeah? Why me?” If we can move our focus away from ourselves and our personal circumstances, we can see that it is not the end of our career at all. It is just an inevitable bump along the employment path. Think about it, the longer you work, the more likely you will get laid off at some point. Depending on your field, you will probably get laid off at least two or three times during your career.
Remember: What we do for a living is how we earn money. It is not who we are as people. File away that nugget because you will need it even more when you retire.
“Ok, now what?” Your new full time job is finding yourself another job. “How?” Just like any other major project in life, identifying the components of the problem is a great beginning.  I know, you are probably thinking, “I don’t need a life make over, I just need a job and quick!” You are correct; however, that is not all there is to it. There is no “formula” you always apply in finding another job that works immediately. Yet, there are things you can do to position yourself to increase your chances of getting hired. This is the preparation portion of your action plan to find a new and better job. 
1. Educate yourself by researching your field to find out where positions are being hired and by whom. Identify trade magazines and associations where you can learn what is new in your industry and who is making that news to later send them your resume.
2. Expand your field of search in addition to searching for your specific job, to positions that are similar to increase your chances of being hired. Determine what your best skills are and communicate them to others who can help you get recognized by those who are hiring
3. Assess your resources to determine how many months you can tolerate being out of work considering unemployment, severance pay, and other income sources. Tighten the budget now, not later to maximize your resources.
4. Update your attitude. Depending upon your position, be prepared to be out of work for several months. You may have to take part-time work or another job just to make ends meet. Be prepared to move to a new location or retrain for a new field. Keep telling yourself that you will find a new position that is better than the old one. This attitude attracts people to you rather than having a victim attitude that pushes people away.
5. Advertise yourself. Briefly tell people about what position you are looking for and your strengths because you do not know who they know. Make up a business card to promote yourself in front of people you are networking with so they can refer you. Set up accounts in online social networks and invite all of your past co-workers, suppliers and clients. Create online applications to the companies you researched where you are likely to be hired. Open multiple accounts on the Internet for job posting boards. Attend trade association networking meetings and promote yourself
In conclusion, these are just a few of the myriad of things one can do to position themselves to be hired. The project of finding another job is huge. With concentrated focus, opportunities are created. Change from a passive multi-hook fisherman to a fisherman with a large net employing many others in helping you land your next position.

Helen Ewing is a Business & Personal Coach with over 20 years Manufacturing Industry experience in the Materials Management arena. I provide successful methods that solve problems in less time, with less money and with less effort through Coaching for Businesses and Professionals. I invite you for a visit at,

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