A recent column, “You’ve been laid off and need to find a job fast. Here’s what to do,” focused on managing an unexpected layoff. Many readers have generously shared comments about their experiences. This column is a summary of some of their points of view.
First of all, there is no denying that this can be a very difficult situation, both emotionally and practically. Yet in other cases, it can be almost liberating. One reader has experienced both. “Twice I worked for companies that suddenly went out of business. The first time … it was a relief as it had been a hard company to work for. … The second time was a great deal more painful. It was a bitter pill, the employment had been rather specialized and not easily transferable. It took several years to overcome it.”
It can take time to adjust and figure out next steps. As one reader said, “The first year was tough adjusting and getting reoriented etc.” With this in mind, be patient with yourself, recognizing the challenges and taking care of your health and well-being.
Career coach Karen Kodzik from Cultivating Careers notes that “unexpected job loss is especially painful when it’s a job you love or a place where you wholeheartedly believe in the mission. This compounds the transition.”
Finding contract and temporary work was key for some readers.
Such work helped them get their foot in the door or at least helped tide them over financially while they assessed their options.
The dominant theme was the power of networking. One reader covered the bases in their comment: “Network, network and then network. While LinkedIn is a good place to be, start with business associates, friends and family. Email people in your network around once a week to check in and see if anything has turned up. No response from someone, email them less often but do not drop them as you never know. Get involved in any professional societies or associations in your field and attend meetings.”
Regarding networking, Kodzik adds, “It’s professionally prudent to have a network management plan while you’re working and after you land, remembering that you’re called to pay it forward.”
There is cause for optimism, as well.
• “Never seen this before. Employee’s market. Who isn’t hiring? More jobs available than people looking.”
• “44? You’re Gen X. Gen X takes care of its own. Network with everyone you know of that age group.”
• “In some professions, age doesn’t seem to matter. I am 58 and had several jobs to choose from after a recent layoff.”
The last word goes to a reader with a positive outcome, one that I’ve heard many times over the years: “When I got laid off it was very traumatic. But in the end turned out to be a great opportunity for a new career with better prospects.”