Finding Your Footing After Being Laid Off

Image: Laid off workers with boxes leaving a building

Finding Your Footing After Being Laid Off

March 27, 2023

Image: Laid off workers with boxes leaving a buildingLast week, your job was solid. You were “in the zone,” feeling confident in what you were accomplishing, feeling valued as an employee, and receiving accolades on your work.

This week, you are no longer with that company because of a reduction in force. You've been laid off!

What happened? You were told that you were doing a great job and now you are no longer with the company.

This experience can spin anyone’s head around.

Unfortunately, this scenario happens all the time. Employers are forced to let go of talented people like you. It is never about your performance. You didn’t do anything wrong! You are simply one of many people affected by a business decision.

In this situation, it’s important to get clear about: (1) how to think about the layoff, and (2) how to talk about it.

First, let's look at how to think about being laid off.

In the chaos of getting laid off, these are important points that I want you to remember.

Getting laid off is not about you.

Employees who are laid off often interpret the layoff personally, as though the company targeted them to leave the company.

It’s vital that you remember: The company made a business decision about the role that you were in, not about you as a person.

This can be a difficult distinction to make, especially because you were emotionally tied to your position. Your identity may have been tied to that role and when that role was taken away, it can feel like your identity went with it.

Remember: You are a multi-dimensional person who has many other roles in life. You are a friend, sibling, wife, husband, colleague, coach, volunteer, a musician, a crafter, a teacher, as well as your professional title. Your professional title is only one aspect of you.

And also… you are a conglomeration of a multitude of skills and knowledge. That job was just one configuration of all of your abilities. When you leave the job, those abilities go with you, and you will reconfigure them into your next role. Your abilities are part of what make you who you are. Your last job is just one configuration.

I agree that your position at a company is an important part of who you are because you are compensated for your role and contributions. At the same time, WHO YOU ARE is more than what you do and where you do it.

When people lose their jobs, they tend to forget what they accomplished. They lose their confidence in their ability to do the work they have been successfully doing for many. You have many accomplishments to feel proud of! You added value to your team, you served the company, and you were respected and admired by your peers and leadership. These facts are still true! Make a point of remembering those things because it will help you maintain your confidence throughout your job search.

Second, let’s look at how to talk about your being laid off.

When my clients are laid off, I help them with their “Public Statement” about why they are no longer with the company. I make sure they aren’t saying, “I was fired,” because they weren’t! I also don’t want them to say, “I was laid off,” or “I was let go,” without adding the business’ reason for the separation.

For example, you could say:

“My position was eliminated because of [insert business reason here]." Maybe there was a merger or acquisition. Perhaps they decided to outsource or took the company in a different direction. Go back to the reason why the reduction happened and keep in mind that the decision was made about the position being eliminated, not you.

Next, say something like: “I was proud of the work I accomplished for the company and my goal is to add value to the next company as well.” You may wish to name your most recent accomplishment or you can keep it general. Either way works.

Why this all matters

Remember when you succeeded at that job before you were laid off?

YOU did that, and no one can take it away from you. The accomplishments belong to you not the company, so take those accomplishments with you when you leave.  

Your skills, qualifications, experience, and attributes that make up who you are have not changed. You just aren’t using them any longer at your former company. Your next company will benefit from what you have to offer.

And lastly, I invite you to think of your career as a journey. There are still adventures to be had! You won’t always know what’s down the road, but you will have a say about your options and choices. Use what you know and what you’ve learned along the way to design the life and career you want for yourself. You’ve got this!

What if you could find out about job openings before they were posted?

Download the guide, The Secret to Getting to the Front of the Line, and learn how to access the hidden job market.

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Are you concerned about being laid off?

pictured: sillouette woman at desk with her head in her hands

Are you concerned about being laid off?

January 9, 2023

pictured: sillouette woman at desk with her head in her handsHearing about layoffs at your company can be alarming. It’s not something you can control and so they make you anxious. Or sometimes they’re a complete surprise because the company has kept it quiet, so you don’t even see it coming!

You might be thinking:

  1. My position is safe because of the role I do with the company. I am too valuable for them to let me go.
  2. My manager loves the work I do, and we get along so well, I would not be put on the list to be let go
  3. I hope it happens to me because I have not been happy in my job for a long time.

The truth is: No position is safe from being eliminated.

If your company is in a cost-cutting, reduce-headcount mode, they’ll do what they need to do.

What YOU can do is prepare yourself for it.

When employees hear about layoffs, they typically become reactive. They immediately start applying for jobs outside the company. Their moves can be desperate because they’re busy being afraid and they want to protect themselves. While this totally natural, it’s not necessarily the best first move.

Getting laid off is an opportunity, even if you aren’t happy about it. I invite you to be smart about your next career move. Instead of suddenly applying for jobs, choose to be intentional.

Your best bet is to get clear about your plan. What will you do if it happens to you?

This is less about taking action and more about planning for your best move.

First, assess what you want from your next position by evaluating your current one. What sort of work do you want to do, for what type of company, boss, and industry? What do you like and dislike about your current boss? Do you like the culture where you are? What about your current role helps you to do your best work, and what prevents that? What motivates you the most?

Next, consider your opportunities. What is your industry looking for now in skills and experience? Do you have the updated skills that will make you marketable to other companies?

These questions might seem difficult to answer before you activate your job search. And you’re right. They are a lot to think about. But it’s worth the time and effort. Knowing what you are looking for will speed up your search because you’ll have a better idea of what you’re looking for.

The best way to be prepared for a potential layoff is to get clear about what you want next. This is where you can take control. It will reduce your worry because you will see the opportunities, have clarity about your options, and be in a great position to hit the job market!

Where do you want to go in your career?

Use this guide to create your own career path. You can choose your own adventure.

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What is the Hidden Job Market?

Hidden Job Market

What is the Hidden Job Market?

January 24, 2021

Hidden Job MarketI have a client that has been looking for a job for a few months now.

Like many, COVID put him in a position where he needed to find something new. Also because of the pandemic, it hasn’t been easy to find a new job.

Not long after we started working together, my client got in touch with a big company here in New England. The COO of the company told him that there were some positions opening that my client would be a good fit for. At the time of the conversation between my client and the COO, those positions had not yet been posted. My client expressed interest, so the COO had a conversation with HR.

Just yesterday, the position was posted publicly… and my client is already being seriously considered for the job!

This is an example of how the “hidden job market” works.

When you tap this hidden job market, you can speed up your job-hunting journey, identify upcoming openings that are a good fit for you, and find someone within the company who is rooting for you.

If you’re interested in getting ahead of the pack by tapping the hidden job market, download this guide: The Secret to Getting to the Front of the Line. In it you will find the two magic questions that you need to answer in order to access the hidden job market.

Request your copy of The Secret to Getting to the Front of the Line:

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What makes you successful?

what makes you successful

What makes you successful?

January 4, 2021

what makes you successfulAs we step into 2021, I find myself thinking about what I want the New Year to look like. And my natural inclination (and I think this is true for all of us) is to first look back at the last year as guidance for the year ahead.

Although it’s easy to look back at 2020 and grumble at all of the things that went wrong, I think it’s important that we also note that a lot of things went right.

And we can draw on those things that went right as we do our 2021 planning.

Note: Even if you aren’t inclined to identify a New Year’s resolution, setting professional goals is key for starting the new year on track.

So, as I reflect on 2020 as part of my 2021 planning, I thought I’d share my findings with you and also invite you to do the same.

I invite you to answer this question:

Regarding your professional life, what are three things that you accomplished in 2020?

In other words… What went right?

If you spend much of 2020 unemployed, this might be a difficult question. If this is the case… a better question for you might be to reflect on your entire career to date.

In this case, you might want to answer this question instead:

What are three factors that have contributed to your career success?

I actually really like that second question, and so I’ve chosen to think about it for myself. I’ll give you my answers here and I invite you to share yours with me in the comments below.

Note: When you identify your answers, it can be helpful to recall specific examples. They help make the concept concrete, which will help you remember them as you start planning for 2021.

As I look back upon my career, prior to striking out with my own business, I see these three factors as having contributed to my success then and now:

  1. Feedback I have been open to feedback that informed me about what I needed to do better. This has been true when that feedback has come from my manager, a colleague, and even my piano teacher. If my manager did not volunteer constructive feedback, I found myself soliciting it – and that was always helpful! I remember being on a conference call with colleagues and after expressing my opinion, I asked, “Did I come across too strong or was I clear in what I was trying to say?” When I asked for feedback, I was willing to hear what was being said with an open mind and chose to not get defensive. This was especially true if I asked for the feedback.
  2. Initiative I looked for opportunities that challenged me. I remember saying to my boss, “Let me help you by taking this off of your plate.” I joined a team on what I anticipated to be a high visible project and it went well! Fortunately for me, I had many bosses who were willing to delegate to me, which ultimately led to me getting promoted. I did not wait to be asked and that initiative made a big difference.
  3. Relationships This is the area where I excelled in the most. I learned early on that the people you know are our most important asset for both personal and professional success. Building and maintain relationships became the cornerstone of my career. It led me to write a book about it: You, You, Me, You: The art of talking to people, networking, and building relationships.

I have two reasons for sharing these factors in a blog for you.

First – I think you might find it helpful to see how key factors can show up in a career, which might help you identify your own.

Second – I wanted you to see my success factors because they are core to what I teach and guide my clients with. They are essential to a successful career!

I hope you found this helpful! Please let me know in the comments if you did!

Do you want to make sure you're happy in your next job?

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What does job hunting have in common with shoe shopping?

job hunting is a lot like shoe shopping

What does job hunting have in common with shoe shopping?

December 7, 2020

Finding the right job is like buying a pair of shoes.

If you buy a pair of shoes that don’t fit, sooner or later your feet hurt, and you can longer bear to wear them.

In exactly the same way, if you don’t spend the necessary time finding the right job so that it fits you, sooner or later, you will begin to feel uncomfortable and want to leave.

I hear this concern quite frequently with my clients: They want a job that fits them.

I hear this especially when they’re previous role didn’t fit. They are highly aware of how badly it felt, and they don’t want to feel that way again.

Here’s a specific example:

A recent client of mine wanted to move out of state. To make that happen, he took the first job that he was offered. He was so excited about the move that he didn’t pay attention to the details. He didn’t make sure that the job fit his aspiring career goals, nor did he look into the company’s culture or belief system.

It didn’t take long for him to discover that the new role in the new business really didn’t fit him and he was going to need to go right back out on his job hunt immediately. On top of that, the current position was so uncomfortable, he was feeling urgent about his job search – which wasn’t helping him focus so that he could make the right decision about his next position.

So what did he do? He made an incredibly brave decision to leave the position he didn’t like so that he could dedicate his time to finding a position that offered the right fit.

I’m not saying that you have to do this! I’m just saying that you need to prioritize your wants and needs when you conduct your search.

Hearing a client say, “I want to find a job that is the right fit,” is music to my ears!

When you take the time to think about how a job fits you, your whole job search changes. You start to focus on the skills you want to use in your next job, the values that company needs to have, what you need to feel supported, and what type of work that you find interesting, you won’t just be successful. You’ll be happy!

When you find shoes that fit, you will wear them for much longer. They’ll be your go-to pair and you’ll wear them so long that you’ll wear them out!

When you find the right job that fits you, it’s exactly the same. You will stay longer, you’ll be happier, and you will do your best work!

Do you want to make sure you're happy in your next job?

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Rebuild Your Confidence After a Job Loss Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic

Improve your confidence

Rebuild Your Confidence After a Job Loss Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic

November 16, 2020

Improve your confidence“Who you are will always be the foundation of your success.” Suze Orman

Many people have lost their jobs due to the Covid Pandemic.

Whether you were laid off or furloughed losing your job at any time is scary. But losing it during the pandemic even more difficult when there is so much unknown and no end in sight.

Yesterday you were employedYour confidence was high.

You were adding value to the company and you were proud of sharing your accomplishments with others. You had a place that you belonged, a steady income, and a plan for the future.  [Jayne: We don’t know for sure that they were a top performer. I’m trying to include a sense of “I have a job” that would be valid for most people.]

Today, you are unemployed!  Your confidence is lower and that is expected.

The company had to make a tough decision during these times of the Covid Pandemic. Your unemployment is NOT because of your performance! The company’s revenue suffered and a difficult business decision had to be made. Your position along with others were affected by this decision.

But when you leave a company, you lose more than just your job. You lose a partnership with talented people, a community of friends, your daily routine, a sense of identity, plus your income. It can also have a negative impact on your sense of self-worth.

Looking forward… you will need to present yourself in the best possible light to a new prospective employer, so it’s important that you take the time to acknowledge and mourn your loss.  It is okay!

When anyone first loses a job, it is easy to fall into the trap of losing your confidence, which can cause you to doubt your ability to land a new position. If that happens, make bouncing back your top priority. The secret is not to stay too long in this space.

Aren’t you still the same talented professional who has the same skills, accomplishments, and expertise? The company did take those away from you as you headed out the door.

This all belongs to you. It is a part of you and it is what you bring to the table.

The only difference is you are no longer working for the same company.

The company took away your job, but they did not take your accomplishments. They are yours to take with you wherever you go. They are YOUR stories and YOUR experiences and YOUR skills. They do not belong to the company that you once worked for. Please do not leave them behind as you will need them for your next role.

It is not uncommon to lose your confidence during this period of transition. Re-gaining your mojo will be essential for a successful job search.

Based on my experience working with people in transition, these 7 tips have been helpful in re-gaining their confidence:

  1. Develop a routine around your job search plan

Treat your job search like a full-time job and develop a routine around it to regain a sense of control. Create a “to do” list that includes a variety of key activities including: applying for jobs, scheduling, virtual networking meetings, and using LinkedIn to create more visibility.  There are many activities that will keep you busy, so use your time wisely. Picking and choosing strategically will bring a sense of control.

  1. Find a supportive network

Surrounding yourself with a circle of support can help rebuild your confidence. The people who believe in you really do want you to find the right fit and they will be your best advocates. Anyone from former colleagues or acquaintances to family members can help boost your self-esteem during this time of transition.

  1. Be generous with helping others

Instead of feeling sorry for yourself, use your new free time to help others. Establishing new connections and applying your skills to other areas like volunteering or taking on leadership positions in your community can help you bounce back.  It will also keep your skills sharp, make you feel better, and it will give you something to talk about when meeting others.

  1. Use positive affirmation

While getting support from others is key, it is also important that you believe in your own skills. Every single day, verbalize a positive affirmation and remind yourself that you possess valuable skills. Self-talk is an important part of rebuilding your self-confidence. Do not waste this time beating yourself up. Treat yourself as you would a treasured friend in the same situation. Yes, this will be hard to do sometimes… so recognize that you will have good and bad days and be compassionate with yourself.  It really will be ok!

  1. Take time to do something you love

Filling part of every day with something you love to do will fill you with positive energy.  It can be as simple as reading a book, listening to your favorite song, baking, or going for a walk. Make sure you do something every day and that it's a part of your day that you can look forward to.

  1. Practice self-care

Taking care of yourself spiritually, physically, and emotionally is so important during this time of stress! Exercise is a natural endorphin booster, so get moving! Walking, running, or riding a bike will certainly lighten your mood.  Since you might have neglected your work-out routine due to a busy work schedule, use your newfound time to get back into shape and feel better about yourself.

  1. Reflect back in time

Being prepared for the interview process can protect you from further disappointments and plunges in confidence. Spend some time reflecting back on what you’ve accomplished. Write them down so you can go back and remind yourself before a key interview. Capture the challenging project you were asked to lead, the goal you reached that you did not think you could achieve, and the rewarding things said about you during your performance review. Remember, those stories are still true!

Going through a job loss is never easy and expect you will have ups and downs. Practicing these 7 tips will help you rebuild and sustain the confidence you need to be successful in finding your next exciting role!

I have confidence in YOU! It is imperative that you have confidence in you, too!

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