In this video, Jerry Berg, a former Microsoft employee of 15 years expresses his shock and confusion about being facing a layoff and what to do next. While I don’t know Jerry and by default I cannot speak about his particular circumstances, I do know losing your job is one of the most traumatic things that can happen to any individual. Since the dot com crash in 2001 and beyond, whatever your position, being laid off, fired or made redundant is a major shock to the system. This most recent best-kept secret left thousands in the tech industry shocked; many were long-term employees loyal to the growth and culture of the company. They will feel tremendous grief, loss and confusion for some time.
Here are four strategies to quickly rebound after a job loss:
- Don’t go into crisis mode
Whatever you do don’t let fear take over your emotions. It is critical you take care of yourself. Take extra meditation classes, a swim, run, bike ores or go to the gym more often; make time for friends. Start learning something you have been putting off whether it’s programming that iOS App, updating your skills, binge-reading leadership books or acquiring a new skill. Companies can hear your tonality during interviews, and you need to sound energized, focused and centered. Your frame of mind will have an enormous impact on your ability to bounce back. Do not sit in bed eating ice cream binge-watching Game of Thrones (one day, OK). Get extra support if you need it. Channel your inner tiger, and stay clear of unsupportive people and situations. Get a haircut and some new clothes. Get your game on, right now.
- Reflect, pivot and strategize
Was the job you just lost really the end all be all or is there is something else you would rather be doing? Take a deep breath. Take some time to reflect and chart out where you would like to be in the next year, five years and ten years, and then put together a plan to reach your goals. A job loss can become a chance to go in a direction you’ve been putting off. Make a decision to turn this event into an opportunity to find your next adventure and that’s what it will become.
- Increase your visibility in real life and online
Be seen. Go to lunch, dinner, conferences, and parties (for the introverts who just get clammy at that request: be as selective as you want – try to commit to two to three activities a week, or whatever your comfort level). Fill up your schedule with face time opportunities and fine-tune your elevator pitch with a coach or mentor. If you wait six months to begin your search instead of climbing a steep hill, you will be climbing Mt. Everest. Waiting too long impacts both your confidence and your marketability in the digital market place – unless you’ve been backpacking the world or re-building critical housing in Haiti. Also, make sure you are active in social media. Update your Linkedin profile, optimize it for keywords relevant to your area of expertise and try to future proof it as much as possible. Your goal should be at least three profile views a day, and if it’s not working – seek a career coach to overhaul your personal brand positioning and campaign strategy. The main objective is to have people seeking you out and not vice versa. You’ll need it especially if you don’t have good leads or an excellent network that you’ve spent years developing for this very moment.
- Reach out to a coach or a mentor
Finally, seek out an objective opinion from someone with more experience than you. This insight can be a valuable tool in navigating the tricky waters facing you at this critical juncture in your career. Get the support of an individual you can confide in to map out a strategy, identify weaknesses and assess your situation with clarity. Develop a clean plan of action.
Today’s market is fluid, unpredictable and highly challenging, expect there to be a number of times in your career where either you’ll move on to a better position or for whatever reason your employer will decide you’re not needed anymore. If it is the latter, do NOT take it personally. I repeat. Do NOT take it personally. It is expected in the new economy. Focus on advancing your career and consistently achieving your goals. Keep moving forward.
Caroline Stokes is founder of FORWARD Human Capital Solutions. FORWARD does things differently for people in digital organisations who demand inspiring talent solutions for transformative results.