Although improving, the economy is still tenuous. Downsizing still happens every day – and being laid off is a reality many of us may face in the near future.
So’ like it or not, you need to be prepared with an “After the Layoff” game plan.
With that in mind, our latest episode of The Answer Zone tackled exactly how to handle a lay off… from how you initially react, to making the most of a bad situation.
Lending their experience and advice to our discussion were:
- Jeff Whitney – information management supervisor
- Joe Cardillo – project manager and content expert; veteran of corporate America and the startup world
- Albert Qian – founder of Albert’s List, and a product marketer and community manager
Here are some highlights from our conversation…
The Gig Economy Changed Everything
The “Gig Economy” brought many of us flexibility and freedom that was unimaginable two decades ago. It also brought with it a lack of job security and a working environment where positions – and people – are disposable; many of us will find ourselves laid off or searching for work at the end of a contract many times over the course of our careers.
So for many of us, working in the Gig Economy means we must constantly be looking for our next gig.
Be Prepared at All Times
Preparedness was a constant theme throughout our discussion.
How will this gig help you get the next? Specifically, what skills will you master? What contacts can be made and relationships built? Who trusts your work enough to recommend you to someone else? What potential customers or employers will you meet along the way?
Bottom line: since you’ll likely always be in job search mode… you better be a good manager of your own career.
We’re ALL in Sales
Just like a salesperson, you should always be prospecting – even while employed. If you wait for the day you’re laid off to prepare, you’re way too late!
Today’s job market is about being relevant. Your network, personal brand, and your ability to speak to your value all help keep you relevant. So keep your network healthy and connected. Don’t just collect LinkedIn connections and business cards – keep in touch with the people in your network. Constantly review your personal brand; what works, and what doesn’t. And maintain your focus on the value you bring. In other words, how do you make a difference?
What Happens in Those First Moments
Lay-offs have happened so often in the recent past, the stigma of being included in a layoff has receded. But… it still hurts.
All of us want to be too good to be let go. Even as a contract worker you become emotionally invested in the company; you build up feelings toward the people and products. When your contract ends it can still feel like a traditional layoff.
Our best advice: give yourself some time to emotionally process what just happened. Don’t think about what’s next; think about the now. Take time to understand the severance package and what benefits are available to you. Ask about outplacement services and if you qualify for additional training. Explore all your options… even before you walk out the door.
So What’s Next?
Albert reached out to 47 people he knew the weekend after he was laid off. 47!
My advice is to slow down and call the 10 people you trust the most in your business life and be very honest about where you are and what you want to do next. Ask mentors and former bosses for input and feedback. What do you do well? What could you do better?
But don’t push too hard. Take your time… and let your relationships rekindle or develop into referral-worthy introductions.
Focus on Exactly What You Want to Do
Once the referrals and intros start to come in… this is your time to shine! Don’t be quiet. Don’t be meek. You need to be able to tell your success stories! And when you’re being a storyteller, confidence means a lot.
Don’t dismiss old school tactics like knocking on doors and picking up the phone and calling connections or opportunities. Speak to everyone you know, in-person whenever possible, about what you want to do.
Become a Master Communicator
And when you find a potential employer or customer, find out how companies like to communicate – understand how they want to hear from you, and don’t rely solely on the methods you are most comfortable with. It may be grabbing a cup of coffee; it may be a hand-written letter. Or a tweet, text, link or email… or a combination of all of the above.
Approach them the way they like to be approached… and you’ll already show them you’re a good fit for their culture.
The reality is job security doesn’t exist. We all need a game plan for what happens after we get laid off… and we hope this discussion helps you create yours!