The pink slip invites you to redesign your life
Being laid off, especially after years or decades with the same organization, can be jarring, gut wrenching, infuriating, shameful, confidence eroding, trust busting, diminishing, and just plain scary—but it need not be a catastrophe from which you never quite recover.
The economy may be in the doldrums, but this is not the time for you to be! Whether you are scrambling to find a new position, wishing to build a new career, or looking at early retirement possibilities, now is the time to embrace unexpected change. Get ready and meet the challenges and opportunities ahead.
Successful, effective people, like you, make choices and take actions that enable them to be the best they can be. They call upon their personal power, along with their savvy and resilience, to exercise as much control as possible over their newly unemployed status. They jump to the head of the line to gain employment and stabilize their financial status.
Strike a Healthy, Positive Balance in Your Life
- Be kind to yourself. Take special care of your own physical health and safety—exercise, eat healthy and get plenty of sleep. Be especially alert when driving a car; avoid taking undue physical risks; and avoid self- medicating to lessen stress. Make sure you are at your physical best during this period of change and uncertainty.
Guard your mental and emotional health. Allow yourself five or ten luxurious minutes to blame yourself or anyone else for your job layoff, and then stop. Harbor no more negative thoughts or “self- talk” about yourself or others. Stay engaged with your surroundings both intellectually and socially; read uplifting books and view upbeat content in the media; gain new skills and knowledge; refresh your spiritual life; practice meditation to sharpen your thoughts and to manage stress; monitor your moods and interpersonal behaviors; and seek professional help if you need it.
- Be kind and reach out to others. Be open about your job loss with family and friends who matter. Be gentle and patient, and give them the opportunity to be an important source of support and comfort. Take care that children understand your situation but are not burdened or made afraid. Shower some of that kindness and patience on the family cat or dog, too!
Now is the time to be your most outgoing self, striving to meet as many new people as possible. Surround yourself with people who like and care about you, who will be supportive during this difficult time, and who will celebrate you when you are re-hired. It may be that your next good job will come through a friend of a friend of a friend who knows your good work and knows just where your expertise is needed. Conversely, limit the time and space you share with people who are not caring and supportive of you.
Take Good Care of Your Nest Egg
- Work with a qualified financial advisor. Now is no time for an amateur approach to financial planning. So unless you are confident in your own knowledge of personal finance, do engage a fee-based, qualified financial advisor as soon as possible. Taxes are changing, financial markets are volatile, and you have important decisions to make. Select the advisor carefully by asking for recommendations from financially savvy friends and family, as well as professionals you respect in the community. There must be a shared money management philosophy between you and your advisor.
- The money you currently hold is of utmost importance to you now, and to your future. Hang on to your dimes and dollars! Spend very wisely and ensure that your savings and investments are as safe as you can make them, irrespective of the economy. With the guidance of your financial advisor, place your money where it will be at lowest risk. As enticing as some investment ideas may look, do not go for any “get rich quick” schemes now. There will always be someone ready to allay your unemployment fears and help you play catch-up with your finances by selling you a risky or questionable business or investment plan. Remember, the closer you are to retirement age the less time you have to recover lost capital, and the later you may need to put off your retirement day. Position your personal finances so that you can sleep at night and be rested for those all-important job interviews.
Getting that Good Job
- No Caribbean vacation right now! It may be tempting and downright seductive to escape to a Caribbean isle about now, but don’t do it. Getting a new job may be one of the hardest jobs you will ever encounter, so do not put it off until tomorrow, or next week, or next month. You don’t want to lose personal momentum and miss an opportunity taken by another person with similar job skills and experience. Once you have landed a new position, the fatigue, depression or inertia you may be experiencing will vanish. Be prepared to celebrate a new start and the new chapter you are writing in your life. résumé
- Take advantage of all outplacement and recruiting services offered. These services are very specialized, and the job search and capture process has changed greatly with the Internet. Seek hands-on assistance and feedback with résumé writing, but “own” your résumé; it must reflect your work experience, your skills and your values. You will be elaborating on your résumé in each job interview, so be sure everything is accurate and authentic.
- Network, network, network! Besides building and using an effective interpersonal communications network, use Internet social networks to full advantage. In interpersonal networking, be polite and appropriately assertive, not aggressive, with others. With electronic networking, seek the expertise of outplacement and recruiting professionals in posting your information online. Be mindful of personal security issues.
- The job interview is all important. Learn all you can about effective job interviewing in general, and the organizations with whom you are interviewing specifically. Prepare by role playing the interview in advance. Anticipate difficult questions, be enthusiastic about the position and the organization, and convey confidence in your ability to do the job.
Soon, you may have the opportunity to decide whether a particular job offer is a good fit for you, holds promise of good things to come, or is a total “miss.” To establish this, you must weigh an offer carefully against what you value and what you need in a job. Watch, listen, and learn everything you can about the position in a polite, yet assertive way. Guard against joining the ranks of the long-term unemployed, but also avoid rushing to accept a grinding, soul crushing job at this time in your life.
Out of Challenge, Crisis and Chaos Come Great Opportunity
Songs have been sung, famous speeches given and adages written to encourage persons who are facing unplanned change and adversity:
“Look for the silver lining.”
“When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”
“Bad times can make you bitter, or you can use them to make you better.”
A layoff may be the right time to broaden horizons; to dust off those sweet dreams of what you have always wanted to do; or to discover what you were placed on earth to accomplish. A mechanical engineer may become an artist; a lawyer may become a chef; a software designer, a therapist. Gather together your favorite job skills; cobble them with some newly gained knowledge; blend in some avocational interests; and look for new markets and customers. This may be a recipe for success.
NO ONE IS TOO OLD FOR NEW BEGINNINGS
Such iconic Americans as Grandma Moses, J. P. Penney and Colonel Sanders established their fame and fortune well after the age of sixty or seventy years. They built on their skills and knowledge, embraced their passion, clarified their vision, and executed with excellence. They recognized opportunity, tapped their personal power, surrounded themselves with supportive people, and managed their business with care and respect for themselves and others—you can too!