A layoff can be tough on you mentally, emotionally and physically. The renowned Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale, a measure of how stress can affect health, rates a termination from work a number 8. Today, terminations,
downsizing, canning, layoffs or whatever you name this action, are frequent. It’s a part of business operations as resources are the most expensive commodity, and at the stroke of a pen, a position can be eliminated to save costs or shift the business in a different direction.
Many years ago, a layoff was considered a black mark against you and your career aspirations. Not now! In bad economic times, layoffs occur in the thousands across all business sectors. Even in good economies, downsizing and business realignment is not uncommon. About 1.5 million people are laid off each year in the US in a good economy.
Laying off is not the most enjoyable part of a leader’s mandate. The trepidation can be enormous and has implications with peers and to the team spirit.
Here are some tips on how to cope with and rebound from a termination:
Provide the opportunity to grieve. Time is a healer. However, be sensitive on how much time you take. It’s ok to be angry, ask “Why me?” and display other emotions, but don’t prolong the mourning period. If you think you are slipping deeper emotionally, seek professional help. Decompress, perhaps take a vacation or pursue some education you have been wanting to do for a long time.
Seek career transition expertise. Changing jobs, writing a resume, updating your LinkedIn profile, and being able to provide a compelling answer during an interview on why you are in transition are all important. On many occasions, depending on employment laws and length of tenure, a career transition service is included in the severance package. If it isn’t, you should ask why.
With your appointed consultant, you will be led and coached through the decommissioning process. This will be followed by creating a job search strategy, supported by the preparation of a performance-driven ATS friendly resume, a series of cover letters, and a stellar, fully complete LinkedIn profile, plus coaching.
Review your finances. Some severances are very generous, others are almost non-existent. The key is to rein in your spending and maintain payments of mortgages, rents, utility bills, vehicle leases and hold fire on unnecessary luxury spending. If the severance was generous, hopefully you might be in a position to invest a portion of that money. But don’t delay your job search until the last few months of the severance; that would be a big mistake!
Personal welfare. It’s easy to become consumed in the situation and let your health and welfare slide. Look around and see what exercise activities are in your community. Today, unless you live miles from an urban area, there are many opportunities to be involved in all sorts of exercise and sporting activities. Plus, as a side note these are great opportunities for you to meet new people, build relationships and network. A few of my clients have met people that have been able to generate job leads resulting in an interview and job offer.
Get sufficient sleep; don’t burn the candle at both ends. Sleep restores your energy, is vital for learning and memory, keeps you motivated, and balances your mood. You need to remain calm and collected throughout your career transition.
Interact with your network. Yes, we all have networks; some are bigger than others, but the crux of a successful job search is to embrace networking. You cannot get enough of both in-person and online networking. In the western world, the bulk of leads that generate interviews stem from a referral or introduction. Motto here: network, network, network!
Conquer the fear of rejection. Your emotional state should be stronger over the first few weeks after termination, but rejection can still be tough and resonate with you for a while. It can also inhibit you from advancing the job search. However, a job search is a race and only one person wins.
You can do it! A lay off opens new doors and career opportunities!