For once unfortunately, the rumor mills around work were correct. The prediction was that there would be company-wide layoffs and, sure enough, you were one of the ones called into your boss’ office and told the news. Of course, the standard lines “you’re eligible for rehire” and “it was nothing you did” didn’t make a bit of difference when all you were thinking was “What the hell am I going to do now?” and “Do they KNOW how hard it is to get a job?”
Now, with a thank you very much for your all your years of hard work and service, and a check for a month’s severance and your remaining vacation, your personal stuff is loaded into a box and you’re escorted to your car by 3 burly security guards. In fact, you didn’t even get to say goodbye to the other employees – many of whom were either avoiding your eyes or cowering under their desks hoping they weren’t next.
Unfortunately, this is a scenario that’s being played out with increasing regularity now a-days.
So now what do you do about it? Here are some tips that might help you cope:
Keep your cool – at least in the company. HR people don’t want to have to do the “dirty work”. Additionally, they’re not the ones who made the decision – they’re just the ones who have to give you the bad news. They’ll not only appreciate you reacting in a mature manner, but it also opens the door for them to assist you in any way they possibly can.
Negotiate. Hey – you’re being laid off anyway – so what’s the harm in letting Human Resources know that you would like additional benefits. If they’re truly sorry to let you go, it’s OK to let them know that you’d like their additional assistance. They might not be willing to give you more money, however they could pay for health insurance for an additional 6 months or more or pay for a private placement company to assist you in finding a job. There’s no harm in asking.
Network. If you have any kind of relationship with HR, ask them if you can use them for either a formal or informal reference. There are now a lot of business networking sites that allow you to list your company references. Using someone in HR can be an asset because you can whom they know also.
OK – you’ve been laid off. Tomorrow you’re going to wake up and there’s nowhere to go. It’s going to be tough to handle and your mind will still be going to work and wondering who’s going to handle that phone call, the project, the report that’s due, etc. Guess what? It’s not your problem anymore. It’s someone else’s responsibility.
You might want to take a couple of days off to just unwind. You’ve probably gone through a shock and it could take a little time to get yourself together. Since you probably need something to do, sit down and make a list of the 5 things that you were responsible for, that you accomplished and you enjoyed. You’ll be using those to update your new resume.
Make a list of you references. Did you work closely with someone in your company who will give you a glowing reference? If so, contact that person and ask if you can use them.
Stay positive. OK, you’ve had a shock. But being negative about how you were treated, how the company is or why it should have been your lazy co-worker just simply won’t help the situation at all. Make a list of the things you enjoyed about the company, the projects you worked on and who you worked with – and you’ll start keeping a positive outlook. If nothing else, when you interview for that next position, you’ll impress your interviewer with your positive outlook.
Decide if this is REALLY what you want to be doing. Is your job something you loved? Looked forward to each day? Want to do again for the rest of your life? If so, then make a list of all the job sites as well as the placement agencies. So what if this is not what you want to be doing? Well then you should be writing a list of the things you enjoy most in life and figuring out how to accomplish a career change. There are numerous resources available for you to figure out how to create a new career for yourself.
Be open to other possibilities. Consultant, free lance, temporary and part time work may be available to you until you find a new position. Also, if you’ve always wondered if you could work from home or have your own business, well, now’s a good time to find out. While you’re home looking for a new position, how about spending some time discovering if you’d be able to work as a network marketer or other home based business. This might even bring in some additional income or even enough to go into it on a full time basis.