No one wants to get laid off, and it can feel like a disaster when it hits home. But at times, these unexpected turns in your career, lead to a brighter path.
Finding herself (not unexpectedly) laid off, this young woman could have laid down with her tail between her legs, dog tired, and cowered in the corner.
Instead, she perked up and realized it for the opportunity it was – a chance to make her part-time venture a full-time career, and one that she loves at that!
Turns out she was a lucky dog after all!!
Layoffs are an all too common reality in our world, so sometimes we are not afforded the time to ponder what might be next before we are thrown into the search head-on.
Here are some tips from someone who’s been there on how to navigate this new terrain while determining where you want to go next.
By Ginny Kravitz, Deputy Editor
72 Thank-You Notes
After months of networking and doing all the right things that a professional does when laid off from a 30-year career, Genevieve hit a low point. During two painfully quiet weeks waiting for the phone to ring, all she felt was discouraged. Then it happened. In a matter of a few days, six invitations for interviews streamed in along with a solid job offer. Marveling at how things could change so quickly, Genevieve was grateful to see the seeds she had planted finally sprouting.
The very first thing she did after accepting an offer was make a list of people to thank. That list had 72 names on it — that’s 72 people who helped her in some way during her job search. As she set to work writing thank-you notes, Genevieve told me she had “writer’s cramp for a great reason”.
Picturing Genevieve writing all those notes got me thinking about my own list of 11 people who —just within these past two weeks— have helped me in some way with a current project I’m working on. Considering that this list would be longer if the snapshot was of a month vs. two weeks, I’d say I’m not shy about asking for help!
Opening Up To Accepting Help
Rebecca, who completed the Now What?® program earlier this year, recently called to tell me how happy she is with the direction she is pursuing and that after going through a period of uncertainty, she has recently made great progress. I asked her what had made the difference in creating this new momentum and without hesitation she answered: “Opening up to accepting help. Accepting that we can’t do it all. You work it out by letting go. Piece by piece, you learn to let go of many things. Opportunities show up. Things fall into place once you start moving.”
My niece Mary Grace, now a sophomore at Villanova University, wrote about this issue in one of her college application essays. Acknowledging that she previously viewed needing help to be an admission of inferiority, Mary Grace states, “Now I consider the art of asking for help not as a sign of weakness, but of self-assurance, maturity, and courage. So at the risk of appearing imperfect, I ask for help anyway.”
Who Can Help You With That?
Rebecca cites opening up to accepting help as the breakthrough from uncertainty to momentum. Mary Grace now considers asking for help an “art”. How good are you at asking for help? If your answer is “not so good,” make it a point to get better.
This Week’s Call to Action:
Within the last 30 days, who has given you some kind of help? Whether it was in large or small ways, appreciate the value of what was offered and apply it well.
Name three people who can help you with a current problem or endeavor. Reach out to them now.
“…I eventually realized that learning comes at least as much
through exposure to and interaction with others’ gifts and knowledge
as it does through individual effort.”
— Mary Grace Mangano
Hi, Laura. Like you, I’m an alumna of Montclair State University. I was the first one in my family to go to college and after I graduated, I realized I had no professional models to look to. Rather than work with children, which was my interest at the time, I became a secretary because I was able to make more money. But now, I got laid off and I’m wondering where to go from here. At this point in my career, I enjoy working with adults. I have a 21-year old daughter and I’m not sure whether to go back to school or look for work elsewhere. What do you think?
I want to acknowledge you for the paths you pioneered in your family and for modeling to your daughter what’s important in the world. Of course security is important to you, but being laid off is an opportunity to change. Just like the stock market corrects itself if it goes too far one way or the other, a lot of people now are getting to correct course as well. If doors are not opening in secretarial jobs, for instance, maybe it’s now time to get to do what you want to do, after having done what you had to do. I can hear in your voice that you’re a poised person and that you have a good personality and an honest work ethic, so remember to build on these things. This may mean meeting people in person, networking, and talking to people you already know vs. just sending out resumes.
See what other opportunities might be available and launch a multi-faceted work campaign. Sending our resumes is not enough. Paper doesn’t work as well as meeting people does. When you get out there and meet people, you’ll be able to make your own opportunities. For example, you mentioned that you work as a volunteer to teach English as a second language. Do they need a program coordinator or other person on their staff? Think creatively. Every industry has people they need in support roles. See what you might find just by being more aggressive. Allow yourself to dabble, to try some things. You’re going to have to get outside your comfort zone and when you do, just remember that discomfort = growth. Go out and shake some hands.
After Wall Street laid him off, Richard Kadlub decided to create a business based on his love for his home town. A Tour Grows in Brooklyn turned out to be the career transition that was right under his nose… or shall we say, right under his feet!