What do you do when you suddenly lose a job? Is there an optimal way to handle a layoff?
We live in a dynamic world full of unprecedented challenges. This is an era of company takeovers, economic slow-downs, cost-cutting, and corporate scams. Also, while working in any organization, it’s becoming quite unusual to stay in a company for a long time. It’s best to be prepared for such eventualities beforehand, such that a ‘lay-off’ doesn’t feel like a catastrophe.
It’s always advisable to have your eyes and ears to the ground while you are in an organization and try to anticipate the situation. This helps you to be mentally prepared. The problem comes when you didn’t anticipate this to happen, and now, you have very little time to plan the next best steps.
However, it’s easier said than done. The fear is, what must one do to fight the inevitable? And here are TEN effective ways to handle a layoff:
1) Acceptance of the Situation
The first thing is to accept that the company has chosen to take the action of laying off. It’s their choice, although not yours. The acceptance will be difficult, but it is necessary. A lot of people who have been around in the company for a while are emotionally attached to the company, and would not have expected something like this to happen to them. However now that you are in it, the best thing is to accept this whole-heartedly and start thinking ahead.
2) Go out with Grace
While you handle a layoff there can be a lot of anger and frustration, however it’s best to be professional about it. Be nice to your employer. You never know when you may need them or they may need you in the future. The world is a small place and you may require references from your boss and colleagues for your future endeavors. Try to negotiate with your employer and see if you get a better severance package.
3) Evaluate the Past
Try and find out the reasons leading to this action. The objective here is not to fight back with the employer rather that you understand what went wrong and what learning you could take from this.
Usually, the reasons are –
- Organisational financial situation
- Performance issue
- Behaviour or cultural issues.
Knowing the reason for a layoff helps you not just with acceptance, but also to work on the necessary steps or inspirational changes in yourself, moving forward.
4) Evaluate what you have with you
One of the better ways to handle a layoff is by looking into the positive aspects of your job. Start by asking yourself these questions:
- What are the skills, knowledge, and experience that you have acquired over the years?
- What aspects of your work did you enjoy the most, and those that you didn’t?
- Who are your contact-spheres (your circle of influence) that can help you connect with the right people?
5) Explore your options
This really is the most important question that you have to ask yourself. What sort of job is the best-fit or a customised-fit for your skill-set? This might require discussions with colleagues and friends, or you may have to speak to your mentor or a career success coach who can help you.
6) Get a Self-Assessment
It is a great idea to get a self-assessment. For my clients, I usually have them do some tests with the help of our tools which gives them clarity on what they want to do. There are tests that even let you know your inherent talent (i.e. the potential that you are naturally born with), or the acquired talent. This provides you will greater confidence to make your plans.
7) Be Ready for Change
It is said that people with the most flexibility are the most successful in the long run. Be ready to re-skill and unlearn where required. Be ready to work in start-ups or smaller companies. There are start-up companies that pay well, but you may still want to cling on to whatever you get at this point in time. Do not impose limits on yourself. If there are self-limiting beliefs or lesser confidence in specific tasks, you can approach a career success coach to help you through this. Put down 5 things that are weighing you down (your limiting beliefs), and then work on each of them systematically.
8) Embrace the Challenge
The past can never be changed, but you can change your future. So avoid clinging to the past. Put all your focus and energy in the future. How would you like it to be from here? Reach out to your network – set up coffee dates rather than just messaging or calling. Tell them about the new work you plan now, and take their help. Join Business Networking Forums. Create your plan, and go after it.
9) Create a Strong Self-Identity
Irrespective of the reason for your layoff, the fact is that you have experience on your side. Think of the success you had in the past, events that got you praise and recognition, and what you did to get that recognition. Take the positives from your career and life, and how this experience would help you in your future assignments. Create a new self-identity and belief in you.
10) Get yourself a Mid-Career Coach
Often when the unexpected happens too fast, it can be quite overwhelming to decide on the next steps. So it’s always good to have a qualified and experienced Coach to speak to, a person who listens to you from an independent perspective, and asks you thought-provoking questions that would help you in taking firm decisions, have a definite plan in place, and holds you accountable for your actions.
Remember, being laid-off is not the end of the world rather it’s the universe’s way of telling you that there is a better fitment and a whole new world for you out there.
Shyam Kalle is a Mid-Career Transformation Coach who has worked with professionals on a personal basis to deal with issues related to career progression/transition, performance, work-relationships, and adapting to change.