The Secrets of Staying Strong After A Layoff
I have the chance to be around many amazing people after a layoff; including myself. Because I had to go through the same transition, I can relate and support them more. Layoffs are so much part of our lives now; we need to talk about it more openly.
Talking to hundreds and hundreds of people over the 20 years I spent as a career coach, here are some secrets of those who are able to stay strong:
Do not take it personal. I know if it is your first time especially it is very hard not to think that. Yet it is really not about you. Just this year and only from tech companies alone more than 160, 000 people got laid off. It was more than 93,000 last year. It is impossible that this many people did something wrong. It is certainly NOT about you. I talk to very smart people every day as my clients; I know it is not about them. Please remember these numbers and remind yourself this is about economy, it is about share prices, cutting down costs.
Look at this as a great opportunity to reflect. I know it is almost impossible to see a layoff as an opportunity unless you were already praying for it. Yet if you let yourself grieve a bit, understand it is a process; at one stage you can get to see it as a time of reflection. When I work with my clients I realize they almost forget their brilliance, their strengths, their amazing accomplishments. It is the time to take the inventory of all that since we don’t seem to find that time when we are in the middle of a job. Think what you liked about the previous jobs and what you did not like. Write them down. It is all in your head and in your gut, yet when you put it on paper or download it to your computer, it gains clarity. What do you really want from your next job/career? Take the time to think about it. This piece is crucial if you can take some time to do this. It is sometimes life changing.
Take some ME time. When I ask my clients when was the last time they took a break from work for a few weeks in a row, they say 20 years ago- when I was not working! So your brain needs this break - without the guilt. You worked so hard nonstop, take the time to do something nice for yourself. Yes YOU deserve it. Tell this to your heart and mind. You will look for a job, yes you need to make money. We all do. Yet when you give yourself a break everything else will go better. You will have better interviews. You will get to know yourself a little better. You will have better energy to look for a job.
Continue to keep a calendar. When our calendars are all empty all of a sudden with no meetings, no deadlines it feels weird. Some even feel useless. So you take your calendar on Sundays or Mondays and fill it. Not all the hours. Put some ME time every day even if it is half an hour. That coffee you wanted to have with that dear friend. Walking in the woods. Taking a nap. Reading a book. Add them to your calendar. Then add a few hours at least for networking. People who love you and support you and know it can happen to them want to help. Add your online job search. Add your long weekend trip you planned for so long. Take these calendar entries as important as you had it with your boss. You have meetings with yourself now. Color code them if you like. You will see your week is full of activities. It will help with time management too. Your job now is to look for a new job and take care of yourself. It is a very important job to take on. You are not NOT doing anything.
Accept that this is a process. The career transition has several phases from shock to feeling down, grieving to having clarity around what might be next. It is like a roller coaster. It is OK to feel up and down. We are human beings, not machines. We left some of our identities at that job, some friends, our sense of accomplishment, and may be an office we went every day. Depending on how much you liked what you were doing, how many friends you had and how many years you spent at the company, you have varying degrees of sadness. If you accept the different stages and different emotions you go through, instead of resisting or denying, you will land in a healthier place. Feel that grief and sadness. It is OK.
Come from an abundance mindset. There is one job out there waiting for you. Yes, you don’t know when you will get it yet it is out there. No matter what the economy looks like, how many layoffs have happened, what the media is saying and how many hiring freezes are out there, if you come from a place of abundance you will always know that you will find that job. That mindset keeps you calm and you do a lot better in your job search. People in your network and hiring managers hear it in your voice and admire that confidence. Keep telling in your head “even in the worst of times, there are god jobs out there.” And it is the truth. You are not telling yourself a lie. I have seen it happen over and over again with my clients.
The biggest message I want to share with all my clients and everyone who is out there going through it is:
YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
All of what you feel, thousands of people are feeling it too. Believe me. I go deep with my clients and at the end they tell me they are glad I asked: They are glad I checked in with how they are feeling. I told them they are not alone. All the feelings are OK. We are human beings.
This is the first of many I plan to write to help others who are in career transition out there. These conversations are common in my sessions. I want to be helpful to anybody out there who needs to hear and read this to feel better too.