With some friends and former co-workers recently laid off, and another 589,000 jobs reported lost for January 2009, I wanted to pause and offer up the same support and advice I have given them, and that has helped me through the past 9 months…going on 10:
- Take some time to decompress. Give yourself a week or two and just decompress. Spend more time with family, go for long walks, do the fun things you have been putting off, space out in front of the TV, anything not related to work or finding another job. Whether or not you saw the lay off coming, it is still a shock to the system, and your system needs time to adjust.
- Organize your finances, if you haven’t already.
- Apply for unemployment, even if you don’t want to or think you won’t qualify.
- Network. Get involved in community activities, groups, associations, something that will put you in the company of like-minded people. Join social networks like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Facebook offers escapes in various games, groups and other mindless fun while also connecting with people. LinkedIn is a helpful professional network, people post advice, suggestions, questions, etc. And Twitter has spawned something called TweetUps, or gatherings of other Twitter users in places like New York, Chicago, Boise…all over. If gives you some common ground, and you feel like you know the people already from following their Tweets.
- Lean on family and close friends. They may not completely understand what you are going through, but they provide a support system and another network. And sometimes, they surprise you.
- Talk it out. Be it to a really good friend, a family member, a therapist, mentor…someone you trust. Being laid off is a huge blow, and you’ll go through a grieving process. You’ll be shocked, in denial, sad and really pissed off. Talking it out with someone will smooth the process a little, and make it easier to answer questions about your situation, and stay professional, during an interview.
- Ponder your previous job(s), what you liked and didn’t like about them, what you liked or didn’t like the company(ies) and slowly start to think what you want your next job to be. You may want to do the same thing, you may want to try something different. Think about it.
- When you do start job hunting again, be sure to take a break. Take a couple days off from job hunting and do something completely unrelated. It will lessen the feelings of burn out, inadequacy and frustration. Job hunting is no easy task, and takes a its own toll.
- Be patient. With the job hunt. With other people, friends, neighbors, family. With yourself.
- Talk it out. I can’t stress this enough. Or if you’re not much of a talker, or don’t feel comfortable opening up to anyone, start a journal. Start a blog. Some how, get it all out.
- Exercise. Go for a walk, go to the gym, WiiFit, something that gets your heart rate up and your blood pumping. It helps.
The world isn’t coming to an end, though it may seem like it. There will be some dark days, days you don’t want to get out of bed, days you want to left alone. It is OK. It won’t always feel that way. It took me about four months to feel like I could function “normally” again. Some of my classmates noticed a different when the fall semester started, a more positive difference than what they noticed during summer semester.
Things do get better. Remember: Decompress. Be Patient. Talk/Write/Get it Out.