It’s not You, It’s the Economy

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Unless you’ve been completely off the internet or unplugged from television, you realize there’s a lot of uncertainty out there as it relates to the job market.

 It seems like each day, there’s word of layoffs or hiring freezes at high-profile companies and it may have you worried.

Even if you’re fortunate to not be affected by any of these disruptions on the job, it’s helpful to be prepared for the unexpected.

Think about it – If your job suddenly ended… do you know what you would do?

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It’s not you, it’s the economy.
Photo credit: (user: ocusfocus)

 I actually had to answer this question myself, recently. As many of you know, I wear another hat beyond being a Career Coach, and my recruitment contract had unexpectedly come to an end in October. (Watch my YouTube to get the scoop).

And while a sudden layoff always hits people differently, I had been a bit prepared to handle this quick end due to many years of working as a business owner and consultant. 

But, of course, it was still a bit of a shock and upsetting, considering I hadn’t really expected it to happen.  😔

If you find yourself in a similar situation, know that it’s going to be ok.  

Here are a few things to help you get through the unexpected event of a job loss:

  1. Take a minute and take care of yourself.  It’s crappy news, yes, and you might even want to immediately take action to fix the situation.  Before you jump right into finding a new job, it’s helpful to take a moment and reflect on what happened. You’ll also want to take time to dive into the question, “What do I really need right now?” Take a moment to breathe and collect your thoughts about what you deem to be the most important at the moment. Some of these essential things might include filing for unemployment, reviewing your budget to get a sense of how long you can go without working, making adjustments to monthly outflows as needed.  Also, seek out the support of trusted friends and loved ones, along with a counselor or therapist if you find the situation too emotionally difficult to navigate on your own.
  2. See the silver lining.  Yes, the news sucks. But on the other hand… it IS a chance to start over.  You have the opportunity to clear the slate, pursue what you really want to do and perhaps, even to set things right. If you’ve left a difficult team dynamic – hooray, you’re free to focus on finding the next place where you’re among the people you want to work alongside, and for those whom you respect.
  3. Update your stuff. Maybe it’s the last thing you want to do. But it’s important to prioritize your recent responsibilities and accomplishments right away.  Make sure you’ve updated important documents like your resume or LinkedIn profile to capture the things you did in your most recent role sooner than later. It’ll be a lot easier to recollect all the fabulous things of note you accomplished while things are fresh in your mind. Instead of thinking all you need to do is change dates of employment and add a bullet or two, take this time to document what new things you learned and to the projects you applied your skills.  It’s also important to document any noteworthy accomplishments in your latest iteration as it will be easier to remember.  Documenting these things right away will make it easy for you to share your latest resume quickly when people start asking for it.
  4. Let the people know. Start sharing the news with the people you want to know, when and in the way you wish to tell them.  Nowadays, for many, that means jumping right onto LinkedIn or other social platforms to announce your situation and that you’re hoping people can help connect you to employers who are looking to hire someone of your expertise.  Others may choose to play it much more low key, opting to connect with the people they know personally in their networks to give details on the situation. Whichever way works for you, make sure that you’re clear in what information you’re sharing with folks.  This might include the type of opportunities you’re looking for next, or even, the kinds of people with whom you hope to network and meet.  Having a supportive community of people around is important, but being open to making new connections can be just as helpful.  Consider reaching out to contacts in your network that do the kind of work you hope to do, even if you don’t know them well. Suggest a quick informational interview or a time to connect to learn more about each other while building value to your network. 
  5. Get into a routine. Having a bit of down time can be nice, as it gives you the space to focus on yourself.  But all that extra time can wear on you.  While I spent the first week after my contract ending sleeping in and doing things around the house I had been putting off for months, I grew a little restless, and perhaps… maybe a little lazy, after some time.  Establishing a routine to do the things I needed to be doing to move forward post job loss helped restore a bit of normalcy and purpose to my days.  This included setting aside a block of time during the week to focus on looking for opportunities, contacting clients I had worked with previously, along with scheduling time with contacts I didn’t know as well for ongoing networking.  It was very helpful because I wasn’t spending all my time deadset on what was next, allowing me to not fixate unnecessarily on things that were out of my control.  I gave myself blocks of time to focus on what I could have a direct impact on, and then move on with living life.
  6. Be kind to yourself and be patient.  It takes time to find a job. A recent article suggests that based on  labor and employment data in 2021, the average amount of time a person is unemployed is around 5 months, or 19.3 weeks.  Instead of focusing just on securing a job, take a moment to appreciate any new information you’ve learned through your journey — be it about the company, the responsibilities or even the people you meet along the way.  The right opportunity will come along when the time is right, and you’re definitely not alone.

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There has been a lot of news of layoffs - looking for quick tips on things you can do amidst the sudden change of job loss or an unpleasant career

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