Being let go from work can be a traumatic experience, an opportunity, or both. Women have written to me describing, in hindsight, what they learned after a layoff or firing. Here is a sample of what they shared about being prepared to be laid off work.
Thoughts on Being Laid Off Work
- Be prepared with a second detour road.
- Life is unpredictable and you need to decide what is important that excites and sustains you.
- People are always dispensable. Know that, and do your best under the circumstances.
- Things could be worse.
Prepare to Be Laid Off Work
If you are in the middle of a program closure, merger, lay off or downsizing, the following will help you avoid getting down on yourself. As soon as you hear, through the grape vine, that change is in the wind, start planning; start strategizing.
Preparing before any hints of organizational fragility is even better!
Prepare for a work closure, merger or downsizing to avoid unnecessary distress.
Then if you are out the door, you will be ready! f doesn’t happen, you will feel relieved!
- Update your resume. It will give you confidence should you have to job search. Where possible in your resume, describe your accomplishments in numbers. Example: Effectively supervised a unit of 25 full-time staff for over three years.
- Gather endorsement letters from managers and colleagues. Do not wait until you, or they, are laid off.
- Sock away some emergency funds NOW! Three months of living expenses is recommended.
- Decide what you want to do in the next ten years of your life. Make sure you know what you do not want to do before deciding what you do want to do. Describe a perfect day at work and a day of work that is like being in hell.
- Apply for jobs and go for job interviews while employed. Begin to sniff out exciting and available possibilities. Experiment with positions in which you have little interest. That way, if you are not short-listed, you will not be upset and you will have gained valuable interview experience. A little aside: The magazine, Fast Company produced a silly little video called How Your Lies Sound When You Sneak Out of the Office for a Job Interview.
- If you are close to retirement age, arrange to have a thorough assessment of your status done with your financial advisor. Your advisor might be your wise uncle. The idea is to have a sense of how crucial employment is in your circumstance.
If an announcement is made:
- File for employment insurance (EI) immediately. You can cancel later but at least you will have some interim income.
- Check your wardrobe and practice job interview skills. Get a book on effective interviewing.
- If you are not clear about your choice of direction, choose temporary, contract or part-time positions.
- Consider freelancing, consulting or entrepreneurship, but look very carefully into the viability of this choice before investing substantial time and money. I know people who, without a plan, invested significant money to make it big in the speaking industry. Plus they quit their day job. Result? They ended up unable to pay their electrical bills.
Final Philosophic Thoughts
- We have lived through recessions before. We persisted.
- Canada’s government has a safety net for those people who are stuck. It is called Social Insurance. We will not starve nor die if we are laid off work.
- In North America, we have a glut of stuff. Paring down might not be as painful as we imagine.
- You are stronger than you think. You have done hard acts before. You are resilient!
Please let me know your thoughts on the current economy and how to handle the issue of layoffs. I will be sure to respond.