With the recession in 2008 and bouncing back 8 years later, to the constant news of mergers/acquisitions, downsizing companies, closing stores, these economic times are a bit of a rollercoaster. Lay-offs are constant, as the economy shifts, and being laid-off is much more frequent than in decades pasts. If you have never been laid off, or ever looked for a new job, count yourself lucky.
Being unemployed, or laid off is never fun. In fact, it brings much stress and anxiety, especially if you have children and an entire family to take care. But even if you don’t have children or a family to take care of, the pressure is still “on”. The anxiety level is high, and you are in a constant state of uncertainty. Having experienced this a couple of times, I am right there with you. However, as challenging as it is, there is still a silver lining in the whole thing and if we can stay positive, embrace the positive things, we can get through this temporary period with more grace, and little less anxiety. Here are a few tips I have learned over the years.
1.) Self-Reflect: Embrace this time to be better than ever. If you have been working for the past couple of years or decades even, this is the time to self reflect and get better, personally and professionally. Take the time to really think about your next move. What feeds your soul? What do you LOVE to do and what steps do you need to take to start moving in that direction?
2.) Invest in yourself/Learn something new: I realize this is tough when you are not getting that bi-weekly/monthly paycheck but if there is a little wiggle room try to take a class to help improve your skills. Perhaps get that resume spruced up, take that class on mindfulness you always wanted to take, or that management workshop or networking seminar. Now is the time to invest in yourself to be better than ever. If you can’t afford to invest, than go to the library and get some good books that will help you and challenge you to be your best self.
3.) Cultivate new Relationships: This is really important as you always want to grow your network and meet people in the field that you want to be in, or grow your network in your current field. A good place to start is right here on LinkedIn. Being introduced by current contacts can really help you grow your network. Thus, set up those coffee meetings, get out there and build your network! Check out All About Leverage for help too.
4.) Maintain your current relationships: This is also HUGE as I am sure you are very aware of, and in fact, it is not practiced enough when we are in our current positions. Most of the time we reach out to our network when we are right in this very spot—laid-off. But, never fear, most people can be forgiving and very willing to connect with you, as it could be good for them too. Stay connected! Send that "just saw this and thought of you"...text. Email them that article you read this morning as you were just talking about it last week, or just grab coffee. Either way, stay connected!
5.) Family: Do you have an elderly parent or grandparent that could use a little more love, now that you are not working crazy hours and traveling the world for work? Give them a call a bit more often or go visit them more frequently if they are near you. Even if you don't have a parent or grandparent, is there a child or aunt, or cousin that would welcome your company and your connection? You will never get back this time, so you might as well invest some time being with loved ones that you might not get to spend time with otherwise.
Wrapping It Up
Looking for work/ your next new career is never easy. I certainly understand that first hand. However, it is temporary and you will not be in this space forever. Something good is coming, and you are going to find the right fit for you. It is only a matter of time. In the meantime, keep your chin up, stay positive and focus on all the good things you have going on right now. You’ve got this!