Layoffs are a painful aspect of business. For many people, receiving a pink slip comes as an unwelcome and unexpected shock. If it’s a total surprise, it may be one of the worst experiences of your career. One moment you are at the top of your game and the next you’re in a meeting about the company restructuring. Though you may feel singled out, you are not alone. As of January 2019, job layoffs were at a decade level high.
Though that statistic may seem disheartening, it’s imperative that negative emotions don’t become your focus as you cope with this life change. Instead, follow these steps to get yourself AND your career back on track.
Take Sufficient Time to Process
Executive leaders thrive in environments with busy schedules and full agendas. The challenge in unemployment is having more unstructured time. Attempting to fill it up with an immediate search for a new job is far from wise. You may wind up accepting a job that isn’t right for you out of fear, rather than seeking a position that leads to positive and sustainable career growth.
Give yourself a designated amount of time to grieve the loss of your position. It will allow you to express your emotions and get them under control before beginning a structured job search. Acknowledging any feelings early on will help you move past them fully. Being let go individually or as part of a company’s efforts to cut costs does not reflect your job performance, skill set or value as an executive employee.
Create an Action Plan
There is a lot at stake following this professional separation. The biggest concern to you and your family is financial well-being. Make the time to properly evaluate your finances; create a realistic budget to get you through a couple of months. This will prevent overspending and will ensure that your bills get paid on time.
The next step is to evaluate your career goals; this might be the ideal time to switch to another industry or embark on a different career path. Though you may not have initiated the change, you can set the course of action for a fresh start.
Enlist the Help of Others
Executive careers offer the opportunity for abundant connections and networking. Use those connections to accelerate your job search. An executive recruiter is an asset for executives; they have access to many private openings that might not have gone public. They can use their resources, associations, and network to connect you to the ideal position. Enlisting the help of a recruiter streamlines the application process so you can get into your new executive role faster and with less stress.
As challenging as it may be, try not to dwell on the fear of uncertainty or anger you have about the situation. It is disheartening to lose a job. Do not give in to the temptation to feel sorry for yourself after your set grieving time. As you apply for new opportunities, it is essential that you show any potential employer that you have not let that lay-off define you. Create an answer to the inevitable question about why you left your previous position without stretching the truth. Take an upbeat stance and it will shine positively on you. Family and friends are a great asset during this time to help keep your morale uplifted.
Getting laid off is a speed bump on the road of life. It doesn’t define you as a person or your qualities as a leader. Take time to process the change and gain control over your emotions. Make an action plan, create a budget, and plot your job hunt strategy. Use personal connections and enlist the help of recruiters to find openings. Keep positive throughout the process and know that this phase is only temporary.