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How to Survive Job Layoffs

Job layoffs have become a fact of life in the current volatile economy. The US Department Of Labor reports that year-to-date totals of layoff ...

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Survive Job Layoffs



Job layoffs have become a fact of life in the current volatile economy. The US Department Of Labor reports that year-to-date totals of layoff events (12,542) and related initial unemployment claims (1,274,765) in 2008 were the highest January-August totals since 2003. This is a pattern being repeated in many parts of the world.

Dealing with the layoff and staying focused on finding a job is tough. Here are some practical steps you can take to lessen the fallout from this traumatic life event.

edit Steps

  1. 1
    Acknowledge your emotions. The first step is to be honest about the depth and strength of the emotional fallout. You are likely to experience shock, panic, and fear all at once. Suddenly your dreams are being pulled out from under you, along with your financial stability. Acknowledge that it is all right to feel these emotions and would be unusual if you did not feel this way.
  2. 2
    Begin to process these emotions and regain control. A cathartic activity is to write down your feelings. Put together a letter to the company detailing how you feel about it and the managers approach to laying off staff. Once it is all down on paper, burn or shred the letters. Keep doing this till you feel the anger subsiding. Keeping a journal is another way of doing this. Try to avoid sitting around and talking about it endlessly with mates, family or other colleagues. This can make the situation a lot worse as you either feed off one another and build a great ball of negativity together, or you frighten those around you with your vehemence and anger.
  3. 3
    Be proactive immediately. This is not a time to wallow in self-pity. Update your resume and build a portfolio of accomplishments. Remind yourself of two things constantly - you have skills and you will find another job. List all the experience and skills you have. Highlight your strengths and accomplishments. Rework your resume to reflect these.
  4. 4
    Get really good references and letters of recommendation from the company. Look at it this way; they owe you big time to provide quality statements about your work with them. Select relevant work samples that demonstrate your abilities such as proposals and reports. Develop a portfolio that focuses on the value you can bring to a prospective employer. If you were a tradesperson, take photos of things you did to add to a document outlining your building, baking, sewing etc. skills. If your bosses have a hard time trying to write references owing to large numbers of layoffs, or their own woes, help them out by writing one for yourself and getting their sign off on it on company letterhead. Demand at least a few minutes of their time to sit down and do this together.
  5. 5
    Start networking. Be open about your layoff and inform every relevant person that you are currently in the job market. It is not a shameful thing; it is simply a reality of companies failing in good money management or being overly optimistic. Develop a concise but clear summary of what you are looking for and what skills you have to offer. Have business cards ready to hand out at the right moment. Ask for business cards of people you network with to follow up.
  6. 6
    Stick to a daily action plan. Develop a structure for your day that involves scheduled activities. Set aside time slots for different activities - networking, job search, researching prospective employers, writing cover letters and sending out resumes. Also include important activities such as exercise, healthy eating and some time spent on hobbies or activities that help you relax. It is important to get out of the house so visit the library to do some job research or simply take a walk through the park. All of this will keep you in top work shape and prevents you from wallowing in misery.

edit Tips

  • Get good financial advice from your bank and financial adviser as to tiding you through the layoff period before you get a new job.
  • Sometimes you need to practice inverse promotion and take a job lower than your previous level. If this is what it takes to get your foot back on the door and the mortgage paid, do not be too proud. You will show what you're made of in no time and start climbing the ladder again.
  • Stay connected with friends in the same boat; meet weekly to exchange ideas and possibilities. Share your tales of woe but don't get bogged down in these; try to keep a good sense of humor about your situations and be grateful for one another's friendship through the hard times.


edit Sources and Citations

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