Monday, December 1, 2008

Are You Going Through A Layoff?

According to some sources, as many as 750,000 people have loss their jobs this year with more on the way. This past year has all the markings of a run-up to another 1930's style of economic calamity. I can say with absolute certainty that things will generally get much worse before they will get better. History may not repeat itself, but it often imitates.

Being a student of history, I've learned that the Civil War and the period leading up to World War I mirror the Cold War as empires fought for supremacy of the Earth. The 1850's and the Jazz Age bear many parallels to the 1990's.

The Great Depression of the 1930's parallel our current times or at least the very early stages of it.
Let's not think our modern technologies will protect us. You can't change human nature.

I just wonder when a Gulf of Tonkin type of incident will be used to trigger a war with China and India. Has it happened already? After all, they are the United State's largest competitors for the world's natural resources. But I digress.

Now what does this have to do with being laid off? Well, by studying history, we can learn how we got from there to here, perhaps draw inspiration and eventually although not likely to learn from our ancestor's errors.

One former TV anchor whom I've been a fan of for a long time, Daryn Kagan blogged about her own experiences and what to do about it.

As for my own thoughts on dealing with being laid-off, generally, while it is a bad experience, it is not the end of the world. After being laid off from Scripps Networks where I did part-time work as a free-lance worker and then as a media services specialist from August 1999 through November 2001, I realized within a month or so that it wasn't going to be as simple as just looking for another similar job and submitting my resume like it had been during those wonderful bubble days. In any event, like a car wreck, cancer or a near death experience would be for many people, this was my wake up call. I have grown from being one who was a bit naive about the world around me to a bit of a realist with idealistic intentions, but a realist nonetheless.

So, what practical steps can you take after being laid off aside from knowing it is not the end of the world? First and foremost, don't take this experience too personally. It is easy to think you are the only person this is happening to when in fact many people are experiencing the same thing or have in the past and will in the future.

Hopefully, while you were working, you managed to save up at least some money to tide you over for at least a few months. It may help to secure even a part-time job so at least you can cover gas and food for the week while you job-search.

Starting or joining a support network could be a good idea perhaps through your professional contacts or members of your church who are going through the same thing. Always keep your contacts handy. After all, it is who you know, not what you do that gets you the best work.

Inspire to start a new career. The biggest mistake I made after being laid-off in 2001 was thinking this economic downturn was temporary or that I would be able to find a similar job somewhere. Once the job is deleted, it is likely not coming back anytime soon. I thought the usual routine of just submitting my resume 1990's style would do it. You have to update your methods and your resume. But I've also learned that a resume (and a college degree!) are not a cure-all. Over the past seven years, while I've worked jobs I wouldn't care to make a career out of, I have also decided to focus on my future and most importantly I'm following my heart this time around. I've read a story about a Chief Financial Officer who had to take a job as a cashier at Home Depot after being out of work for six months because he couldn't find anything similar to what he was doing before. It can be a blow to one's self-esteem to do this, but nothing stays the same. But I've also watched a program once where a lady in her mid 50's after being in corporate America for most of her life, was laid off and then decided to start her own cookie baking business and says she is happy doing what she always wanted to do: running her own business.

I've learned that often times it is your own attitude and your view on being laid off that really counts. If it wasn't that, then it would be not getting admitted to college, getting divorced, a child dying from cancer, etc... It is a matter of perspective.

So while you are job-hunting, take up a new hobby like creative writing or rock climbing. Take that vacation you've been wanting to take for years now that you have time and hopefully money from your old job. Join a local social group on or get back in touch with classmates on
You never know where your contacts will lead you.

I know times are bad and will get worse. But, I'm focusing on the future. I've now learned to follow my heart and that is why I've embarked on working towards several new careers at once. I'm no longer cut out for the run of the mill 9-5 job pushing papers on a desk.

I also would love to be a football coach or teacher. I was too small in high school to play, but I've continued to follow the game and study the nuances of it. I'm attempting to at least work towards obtaining a position somewhere, but only time will tell. My relative lack of experience doesn't help, but you have to start somewhere right? At least I'm motivated, flexible with my options and willing to do what it takes including being on the road constantly recruiting players. I feel more at home with high school kids than I do with professional athletes anyways, but wherever there is an opportunity, I will go.

So, get out there and get it done!


Anonymous said...

I agree totally...find something to hold you over...hopefully something you ENJOY a little, too!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful sentiments, thank you for sharing! I plan to share this with my co-workers who have survived 4 rounds of layoffs in the last 12 months where we work. We all know we are not immune to the possibility but each time we're (luckily) passed up to be laid off, there seems to be an increase in entitlement. Should it end up happening to one of us, this article will certainly help me or my co-workers cope. Thanks agin!