By Piyush Mahajan *
When my father was about to retire in March 2010, one of my aunts called and asked my parents to throw a grand party commemorating the event. My sister and I were full of curiosity about why this "job-losing" event of one's life was worthy of any celebration. This is when our mother shared a piece of her wisdom with us, "Retiring respectfully denotes that a person has worked dedicatedly, and has successfully accomplished their duties. It is one of the ultimate goals of life."
This made me wonder about the times when people lose their jobs for some reason or the other. Often, these people are looked down upon as "failures". So, does a layoff mean that they haven't worked hard or were not sincere? Not necessarily. Sometimes people work really hard, but the job market conditions or a slowdown of the company's business itself may lead to downsizing.
Consider this a time to regroup, reassess, reinvent and reframe yourself. It will help you look at your life and career with a new perspective.
For such people, losing a job is hard. But that doesn't mean that they can't rise above it. Layoffs are an emotional setback for both the employee and the employer, but if you are prepared to face and handle the situation, you will soon be back on track.
Expect the best, be prepared for the worst, leverage the present!
Layoffs are becoming the new normal
According to the Economic Times, "While investments in start-ups dropped to $1.4 billion in 2016 from a high of $2 billion in the previous year, according to data aggregator Venture Intelligence, the downturn has affected sectors such as banking, infrastructure and information technology as well." Thus lay-offs are going to be a way of corporate life now, but one must attain a positive outlook, and plan for eventualities. There are a lot of people who stay in the same job for too long just because they don't want to step out of their comfort zone. They get stuck in the comfort of the current organisation and can't move on. They don't learn new technologies and miss exploring their own passions.
Consider a layoff as an opportunity for a fresh start and keep these dos and don'ts in mind! The Dos
1. Ask for required information
Rejection can be painful and shocking. But don't forget to ask for and get all the relevant information from the employer. Negotiate on your compensation, unemployment and other benefits packages that you get to leave with. Ask for recommendations. Take a backup of your personal data and contacts. Get clarity on the money that the employer owes you. Enquire about the possibility of the company helping you find a new job.
2. Reinvent and reframe yourself
Psychologists recommend a technique called "reframing". To reframe something is to change its meaning by putting it in a different setting, context or frame. Consider this a time to regroup, reassess, reinvent and reframe yourself. It will help you look at your life and career with a new perspective. Understand the current career path, evaluate the gaps and plan the way ahead.
3. Upgrade your skillset
Adding to your skillset will keep you engaged and help you position yourself better in your current domain or explore other domains of your interest and expertise. Since hiring and firing is expected to be a regular event in today's job market, you may look into creating a backup plan for yourself.
1. Do not blame yourself
If you've been handed a pink slip, it doesn't mean that you were underperforming. It might've been due to business conditions. So, do not blame your abilities, experience or skills. Instead of falling into the self-pity trap, prepare yourself for the future. Accept the fact that your time in the organisation is done, and move on.
Corporate jobs bring both bloom and wither. The responsibility lies on us to explore the possibilities and opportunities even in tough times.
2. Tap into your network, but don't look desperate
Do not appear desperate to your network, but gradually tap into virtual networking platforms, like Facebook and LinkedIn, to get an update on the available opportunities. Get in touch with previous employers to check about some short-term or long-term assignments.
Reach out to your alumni network; such groups readily extend help out of respect, a sense of affection, and concern. Keep an eye out for networking events, and build new professional connections.
3. Do not lose patience
Do not let your disappointment turn into a depressive episode. Instead, build an optimistic outlook on your life and career. This event can be a financial setback and the unemployment may stretch long, but you will surely benefit from being positive and making consistent efforts for a fresh start.
Corporate jobs bring both bloom and wither. The responsibility lies on us to explore the possibilities and opportunities even in tough times. And believe me when I say, "This too shall pass."
* Piyush Mahajan is a certified life coach and an expert at YourDOST. She's also a corporate facilitator, blogger and a toastmaster with more than 11 years of corporate experience. She works with clients to help them achieve goals, overcome obstacles and make forward movement towards fulfillment.