Whether expected or not, a job loss can be a hit.
- It can bruise the wallet, the ego and the ideas we had about the future.
- It can scramble us, throw us off and disturb our sense of safety and security.
- It can feel incredibly personal, private and painful.
But getting laid off can also be a forced change for the better.
Here are a few steps I’ve coached clients through when they’ve experienced a job loss – something most, if not all, of us go through at some point in our professional lives.
STEP ONE: Pause to process
Give yourself time to process the context and circumstances. In many cases (like in the present moment), layoffs are due to bad planning or forecasting by business leaders as well as macroeconomic forces and people at all levels of the talent spectrum are getting laid off.
STEP TWO: Give yourself space
You might feel incredible pressure to find something right this second, but – if your financial situation allows it – try not to jump into making a decision right away. Panic, desperation or even resentment don’t translate well. Take a few weeks to settle and land in a creative space where you can start to craft what you’ll do next.
STEP THREE: Take some notes
It sounds cliche, but what did you learn from this? Dig around, look for clues, really reflect, and try to truly look past your own narrative here. What else was at play? What blindspots were you unaware of? What questions are you afraid to ask? Find out more so you can take a more neutral stance.
STEP FOUR: Notice the opportunity
Lick your wounds, but don’t let it end there. Opportunity abounds, so start reassessing what you want out of your work life. Where is your career arc taking you? Have you been stuck into the weeds too long? Looking to change industries? What challenge excites you? Head in that direction.
STEP FIVE: Ask around
Line up as many conversations as possible to better inform, gather insights and ignite yourself in unexpected ways. Get out there and ask about their why, their positions, their companies, their challenges, their goals – everything. Create a cycle out of it – talk, reflect, repeat.
STEP SIX: Shake some hands
You might be out of practice or out of your comfort zone, but interviewing is the only way to shake the stiffness off and start pushing momentum in a new direction. While you do, keep your eyes open for what you need when it comes to culture, role, balance, salary and expectations. Assess it from a holistic place, so you’re making a good move and not a sudden one.
There is no perfect step-by-step way to navigate change, but I’m confident that these markers along the way will help you get to somewhere even better than you were before.