Being let go from a job is devastating for some and liberating for others. For those who have put their heart and soul into a company and thought they would retire there, being laid off can be a body blow to their self confidence and can make them question their employment prospects. For others, being laid off can be a blessing in disguise because it can force them to reassess their options and contemplate a different career path than they would have otherwise chosen had they not been let go.
But regardless of your initial reaction to a layoff, you can still learn lessons from it. You can turn a potentially bad situation into a positive one if you grow from it.
Here are five invaluable lessons that you can take away from a layoff:
1) Why were you let go? It may be that you were in an area that was vulnerable because what you do isn’t seen as critical to the bottom line. Or perhaps you didn’t get along with your boss, and that made it easier for management to eliminate your position. Analyzing why you were let go can provide valuable insights going forward.
2) Do you want to continue on the same career path? Being laid off gives you time for introspection. You might start to contemplate a different career path if you realize that the employment prospects in your industry are not very good. For example, some people in the real estate market have decided to apply their skills to new industries because it will probably be some time before the housing market recovers.
3) Can you do a better job next time around of demonstrating your worth to the organization? Even if you are not in sales, you should still be able to articulate how the work that you do is valuable to the company. As far as possible you should be able to quantify how much money you saved, what time-saving measures you instituted, and how you improved processes. Management tends to cut those positions that do not have a direct relationship to the bottom line.
I have heard several stories of people who were cut, and then it was only after they were let go that management discovered how valuable they were to the organization. Work in a particular area came to a near standstill because someone who was laid off basically ran the place. For the future, let management know of your contributions before they make that decision to cut you because they think you aren’t vital to the operation.
4) Are there ways that you can increase your marketability to keep you employable regardless of the job market? Staying abreast of what is current in your field positions you well as a valuable employee, and it also makes you marketable just in case your job is eliminated in spite of your best efforts.
You should invest in yourself whether the company that you work for invests in you or not. Read want ads to find out what skills or qualifications are mentioned as being preferred. Then take the required steps to obtain these skills and qualifications to keep yourself employable.
5) Is your network robust? Since most people land new positions through networking, it is natural to take inventory of your existing network and think through who is in the best position to help you find new employment. You may be dismayed to find that you have let your network languish by not keeping up with the people you know professionally. Going forward, you can make a conscious effort to stay in touch with your network so that you position yourself to hear about opportunities even when you are not actively job searching.
If you have been laid off and want professional assistance with your job search, call 877-743-9521 to speak to a career coach or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.