“Can you meet in the conference room for a second?”
Such an innocent-sounding question. How could I have known it was the beginning of the end?
In March 2013, I was laid off. Can I just say how stunning it was, being let go? The memory of it reminds me of bumping into furniture – that bone-jarring feeling that leaves you speechless just before the pain sets in.
Although it was unexpected, it’s remarkable that it hadn’t happened to me sooner, given the length of my career (read: I’m not a millennial). Downsizing has touched the life of nearly every family I know. In fact, there were more than 500,000 layoffs in U.S. companies in 2013 alone, according to a report by Challenger Gray & Christmas.
So I don’t totally “Debbie Downer” your day, please know there IS a bright side to this blog post. Whether you’ve been laid off in the past, survived a downsizing at work, or want to be just-in-case ready, here are my uncommon and optimistic tips.
16 ways to ready yourself for or rebound from a realignment
Before you get laid off (hopefully never)
- LinkedIn, LinkedIn, LinkedIn. Yes, it’s that important.
- Keep yourself marketable, even when you have a job, by upgrading your skills with classes, meetups, or conferences.
- Take a MOOC to learn new skills.
- Update your resume constantly.
- Save for an emergency. A layoff is an emergency.
- Forward positive feedback, references, and career “wins” to your personal email address.
After you get laid off
- Approach life with gratitude. Write this on a sticky note and stick it to your bathroom mirror so you see it first thing in the morning.
- Try (hard) not to take it personally. Don’t get mad at people who say, “It’s not personal, it’s business.”
- Drop unnecessary financial weight like a hot-air balloon drops sandbags. Reprioritize your budget and say yes when friends offer to buy you lunch.
- Reach out personally to everyone you know. Don’t send a generic email; call them or meet them for coffee, explain what you’re looking for, then offer to help them in the future.
- Post it. Personal emails or calls are important, but social media is called sharing for a reason. Your Facebook friends, Twitter followers, and LinkedIn connections are your network, too.
- Use keywords in your LinkedIn profile and your resume.
- Reformat your resume for computer eyeballs, not just human eyeballs.
- Make a game of getting a job. Reward yourself with a midday walk for submitting three applications. Let yourself watch Netflix during the day for filing for unemployment. Play music and dance when you score an interview.
- Volunteer already! Helping others takes your mind off your situation, generates a spirit of gratitude, and just might result in a job lead.
- Journal each day at bedtime, the things for which you’re thankful. (I’m a big believer that cultivating a grateful heart calms a worrying mind.)