I originally wrote this post on positive steps after a layoff back in 2013 after there was a massive resource action at IBM. It was updated back in 2017 and republished as I was seeing a large number of small layoffs. You may choose to call this a RIF (Reduction in Force) Resource Action, or if you are in the UK, a redundancy.
I wrote back in 2017 that these small but frequent layoffs will become the norm in today’s world of creative destruction. If you are not familiar with the term creative destruction, I suggest you read the following posts:
- Surviving Creative Destruction in the 2nd Half of Life
- How to Protect Your Career from Future Extinction, Now [Video]
Now we are in the middle of a major disruption with the COVID-19 pandemic. We are going to see major disruptions in many areas of the economy. Check out my post called Adapting Your Career to the Post CoronaVirus World
7 Positive Steps after a Layoff
As many of you may be experiencing a layoff, let’s discuss the positive steps you can take afterward.
1 – Take a Deep Breath and Chill
The worst thing to do is to start working on your resume and getting online to apply for jobs! Being the target of a layoff hurts. It hurts a lot. If you were to talk to any prospective employer it will come out that you are hurting. Take time off and heal. It will likely take longer than you think.
I have had several unsuccessful career transitions in my career. When I gave myself time to heal I recovered faster. Sometimes you need to slow down to speed up.
2 – Take Stock of Your Current Lifestyle
This might be the right time to Repack Your Bags. Access why you are doing what you are doing.
- Are you still supporting adult children?
- Do you still have a big house where you raised your kids?
- Are you properly taking care of your own health?
- I have written in the past that I am a big fan of authors Richard J. Leider and David A. Shapiro and their book Repacking Your Bags: Lighten Your Load for the Good Life.
- If you are a baby boomer the statistics say you will make less in your next position.
The COVID-19 lockdown has given us all time to reflect on how we are living our lives. This is the time to make some changes.
3 – Take Stock of Your Current Career Path
- Were you let go because your job could be done cheaper by someone else somewhere else in the world?
- Will you be replaced by a robot or another form of automation? If you think this could not happen then read my recent post, Beware Automation and Robots Will Sabotage Your Career
- Were you happy in your current career path? Come on be honest with yourself! Would you like to do something completely different?
So many industries, supply chains, government institutions, companies, and careers are being disrupted by this pandemic. Many industries will take years to recover. I wrote about the disruption in aviation in the post Industry Disruption in the Post COVID-19 World – Aviation. Air travel may never recover to the levels prior to the pandemic.
4 – Take Advantage of Free Resources
If you were laid off you were probably offered outplacement services. Take advantage of what they offer. There are lots of non-profits and religious organizations that offer job counseling services. I serve on the board of directors of Launch Pad Job Club, the largest and oldest organization of its type in Central Texas. I like to brag we have been in existence for 15 years and served close to 15,000 people.
5 – Work on Your Networking Skills
Your next job will not likely come from submitting your resume on some job board. About 8% of jobs are filled through online applications. Your next job will likely come from a referral. Build yourself a fan club and network strategically. We live in a referral economy.
Networking in the post-COVID-19 world will be different. Look for some podcast episodes on networking in the post-COVID-19 world.
6 – Work on Your Social Media Presence
Many of you, who have worked for one employer for 15 or more years, this may be pretty scary. You need to build your personal brand. Your first step is to build a strong LinkedIn profile.
Get comfortable using video as video is becoming the preferred media on many social media platforms. You may want to check out my post 4 Ingredients to a Winning Video Interview Environment [Updated]
7 – Take Advantage of this Moment of Clarity
This could be a moment of clarity for you. A moment of clarity is when something big happens, lay off, new job, birth, death, marriage, divorce … that causes us to get clear. We look at life through filters. Those filters protect us. During moments of clarity, those filters come down and we see things clearly. What is really important to you? I devote a whole chapter in my book Repurpose Your Career: A Practical Guide for the 2nd Half of Life 3rd Edition dedicated to this topic. It is that important.
What is Your Next Step After a Layoff?
Often layoffs are the kick in the butt that we need to vault us forward to do what we really want to do with our lives.
Take a moment to listen to the 8 stories told on my podcast of people making career pivots. Most started their journey with a layoff. Many of these people look at layoffs as a blessing.
Do you have a story of recovering from a layoff? If you do, please tell us about it in a comment below.
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