Whether you had ample or slight warning of a shutdown or layoff, or it hit you like a ton of bricks, bottom line it still comes as a shock to the system when it actually happens. The sudden loss of job stability, a paycheck and medical benefits – for example – can easily rock your personal and financial world. Not to mention, for most, it can quickly be complicated by the mental and emotional blow to the system.
Furthermore, the instability and anxiety which can be caused by the length of a shutdown or layoff – the tension of not knowing whether you’ll be called back to work – can escalate; causing additional negative emotions like confusion, mistrust, skepticism and anger. You may also have concerns, and questions about whether you should start job searching, take temp jobs, return to school, for example.
The bare fact is you’ve been caught in a life shift akin to losing a loved one. Tom Casano, Personal Life Coach, and founder of Life Coach Spotter asks – “Are you feeling angry, resentful, victimized or worried?” If so, it’s a natural instinct to react to this unexpected scenario with feelings and emotions such as these. Regardless if you had some inclination this situation might happen, psychologists say, your reactions would be the same or similar – Feelings of pain, sadness and loss.
It’s no surprise this sudden upset shakes your confidence. In situations, like this, your mind is left to worry and dwell upon the difficulty or troubles you know – instinctively – will arise. And – big question – how will you handle them and move forward? Especially if you’re out on a limb left questioning whether you’ll be called back to work or not.
Here’s 7 Tips to help you start to positively move forward:
1. Take a few days to try to relax.
* Take a few days to make an effort to sift through the pain. Says Coach Casano while “it’s good to look for work shortly after the loss of a job, you might want to give yourself a few days to grieve before you fully dive into your job search.” As with the death of a loved one, you’ll need time to grieve before making any decisions about how to move forward.
* “Make time to recharge your batteries,” says g Michaela Haas, author of “Bouncing Forward: Transforming Bad Breaks into Breakthroughs”. “A job loss often triggers past traumas, issues of self-worth, shame or feeling unsafe. Don’t add self-blame on top of the job loss. Treat yourself with kindness. Consciously invite positivity into your life. Try mindfulness meditation, such as mindfulness-based stress reduction, to help you navigate the roller coaster of emotions.”
2. Consider your next work move.
While you may be unable to make sense of the situation you’re caught up in, once you’ve begun to work through the pain it will be a bit easier to make some decisions on how to move forward.
Here’s 9 questions to ask yourself before making a move:
* Is it time to start fresh and search for a new job?
* Should you return to college to develop new hard skills?
* Will taking temp jobs work for you?
* Would taking online courses to beef up, or add to your skills, be best?
* Does the industry you work in offer added training? Is this a direction you should take?
* Is starting up a small business right for you?
* Do you have the skills to become an instructor, trainer, tutor?
* Does becoming a teacher’s assistant/aide appeal to you?
* Should you do some volunteer work for your church or favorite cause? LinkedIn says most companies now consider non-paid work of this nature when interviewing job candidates.
Note: If you’ve worked for a decade or more in the same job – unhappy and unchallenged in your current job – this may be the time to consider new paths.
3) Check out job search boards.
Venture online to discover what jobs are out there. This may help you make the formal decision to change jobs.
You may be at a point in life where your skills are solid, your experience varied and you would make a top candidate; you and your skills a valuable inclusion in a variety of companies.
Checking out job search boards also allows you to learn how they work and what’s expected of you. How to reach out to potential hiring companies. If this is a direction you want to take, set up a profile on sites you choose once you’ve revamped your resume.
4. Revamp your resume
Once you’ve discovered jobs available, in your skills area, it’s time to rewrite or revamp your resume. While a resume, alone, won’t get you hired – it can go a long way in introducing you to a company who’s interested in your skills and expertise.
5. Join LinkedIn and create a profile or update the one you have.
Nearly 90% of U.S. companies, and hundreds from other countries, as well as hiring agencies – says LinkedIn – have a profile on the site. They’re searching for top candidates to fill available positions on a daily, or regular, basis. Don’t underestimate the power of LinkedIn.
6. Consider freelancing
Depending on your skills, opting for freelance gigs may be right for you. There are hundreds of good freelance sites to choose from and hundreds of thousands of jobs available. In many cases, you can get hired within 24 hours.
Some freelance sites specialize in specific industries, while others include a wide variety of work. If you’re a techie, the good sites will require you to test before accepting you. These are also sites on which you can, and should, set up a profile.
7) Attend networking events on and offline.
In situations, like this, it’s important – when possible – to get out and attend some networking events or join online networking groups. Do not stay in seclusion. Even having coffee with a co-worker can help. If nothing else, it’s an opportunity to vent.
Staying connected allows you to keep a better frame of mind and knowledgeable on the shutdown or layoff. Plus it provides opportunities which help keep you optimistic rather than sliding into a state of depression, ruminating over something you have no control over.
In meeting and/or connecting with others you’ll learn how they’re moving forward; perhaps they’re having similar issues or experiences you can discuss. They may be capable of providing info on available jobs and where to search and other valuable information. Most importantly, connecting either with other professionals at networking events – or co-workers – you are staying involved. You can help boost their confidence as they can help boost yours.
There are no set rules on how to proceed when a situation like this occurs. After you’ve taken a break to grieve your loss, take each day as it comes and resolve to do at least one positive thing which could, or can, move you forward. Even if it’s just a small step – like being grateful for family and friends. If nothing else, checking out what’s available in the job market and revamping your resume or LinkedIn profile will help prepare you for what may come next.
Jean L. Serio CEIC, CDI, CPC, CeMA
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