25 Jan 2010

Job loss survival strategies

It was supposed to be a good year but yesterday one of my friends called to share the news – he was just made redundant... Bugger! We met up for drinks – no fancy bars any more or cocktails. We headed straight to a pub for a beer “you know, better to cut spending now. Who knows how long it’s gonna take”...

There are several problems and at least one opportunity we might have to deal with when facing redundancy. So, let's have a closer look...

Financial implications

It does not really matter how much you were earning and how much you’ve managed to save – most of the time you will start re-considering your spending habits. There is a wealth of internet articles and books that suppose to help you dealing with finances in crisis. I don’t want to repeat their advice; you can read it up easily.

All those credit cards that need to be paid off, loans, mortgage – not much you can do about it in the short run. You may revisit your daily and monthly outgoings, cut one or another membership and eat out less ... 9 out of 10 it won;t make a big difference, but it makes you feel in control and being in control is a good thing when facing unpredictable future.

To cut it short – you get rid of everything that is not really worth keeping. And that brings us to the next problem you might be facing ...

Self-worth or lack of it

When hearing the news, most of us feel as if it was our fault. We’ve done something that brought this mess over our heads! It must be our fault, at least a little bit!

The truth is – if you have not come up with a reasonable explanation of "why me?!" within the first two minutes after finding it out – nine out of 10 – that was NOT your fault! Seriously! Bet, HR was given a target to cut 10% of the workforce of a particular grade, cost centre, position, etc.?
Chances are you were the number eight in the excel spreadsheet they’ve sorted by performance appraisal results, length of stay or simply by alphabet etc. And hey, they had to pick ten in your area ... It’s not really fair on you, but neither are the forces of nature fair – who cares?
Moaning about the lost of stability and security is good and healthy. But if after a short while you still think that it was your fault that you must’ve done something wrong then ...

...here is something that might help you to get to grip with it. Take a piece of paper and write down:
  • The good thing about feeling guilty is ... (finish this sentence in at least seven to ten different ways describing each time what this feeling helps you with)
  • Now write: If I would abandon the feeling of guilt, than ... (again complete with seven to ten endings)
  • At last, write: If I was not to feel guilty I would ... (minimum seven endings here as well)
It’s important that you try to write at least seven endings each time. It probably won’t come easy but soon you will find out that the last two or three endings are the most interesting and useful ones.
This exercise should help you to get a good idea about what is going on in your head. You also can use it on other occasions where you find yourself being a stumble block on your the way to better times.

Having a chance

It might not feel this way when it just happens but being laid off is like being set free.

You might find out that what you were doing actually did make you happy. But what if you conclude that with all the “ifs” and “buts” – it still was the right job. It is a great thing to find out, too! At least you KNOW

People are spending thousands on self-finding courses and books, paying for career coaching and a councillor to find out what it is they want. And here you go – you know that your next job will be similar to what you were doing already, only next time around you will know why you’ve decided to apply for the job (your inner motivation is now visible to you). Why not to mention it in your next interview, by the way?

But let’s assume you actually didn’t really enjoy the job. The best thing about your ex-job was that it paid the bills. Well, isn’t it great? They let you go and even gave you some money to get through the toughest times! The biggest favour they did was to bring you out of the false sense of security. This sense of security is something that “clever people don’t give up”.

But did not exactly this common sense made you feel limited and frustrated? Not being able to do something else because it “wouldn’t make sense”?

Guess what – whatever you do now it will be the right thing to do!

Most of us would agree that not doing anything after loosing a job is a bad thing. So, you have everyone’s blessing to change your life, if you so wish!
Now is the time to try things out, to follow your gut feeling, to dare and learn through trying – not guessing!

image by pagedooley
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