In 2015, after more than ten years at my company, I was laid off from my job as a VP of Marketing & Communications. I gave a lot to the company and felt like what I got back, from the new management that came in a year earlier, was a kick in the ass.
I am sure this is how a lot of people feel in a layoff, especially later in their careers. Job transitions can be stressful and emotional —whether they’re due to layoff, a new job or working extra hours because others were laid off. I speak both from experience and as a coach: if you are facing a job transition, consider the following:
1. Take an honest look at yourself. What are your strengths, weaknesses, and skills? How did those influence—positively or negatively—your transition? What parts of your job did you enjoy and what did you dread? Were you actually happy before the transition? I can honestly say that I was not and realizing that was a big first step toward my moving forward.
2. Step up your self-care. Major changes are physically and emotionally taxing. You need self-care now more than ever. One thing I did right post-layoff, was increase my attendance at the gym. I used to feel annoyed that I could only attend the gym on Saturday and Sunday and yet, paid for the whole week. Well, I didn’t have that excuse anymore and the gym was something I could count on to make me feel good about myself, where I felt productive with my time. What is that for you?
3. Engage your curiosity. What have you been missing while you were working in your job/career? Is there another path you want to explore or an industry you are wondering about? What about hobbies that you have pushed to the side? You never know where curiosity might take you so take the opportunity for some exploration.
4. Find support. Since your transition affects your family as well, it may be better to seek the outside support of friends or professionals. Are there networking groups in your community where you can connect with others? I found that networking both with people in transition, as well is more broadly, reconnected me with a sense of community. It got me out of the house, meeting people and engaging in professional conversations. If you don’t know where to start, try meetup.com – where you will find groups for everyone and everything.
5. Work on your thoughts. Calm your fears and reinforce your sense of hope and happiness. If you are harboring negative feelings such as anger, think about how to let that go. It is the only way you can truly move forward. Have you tried meditation? It’s not hard to get started and doesn’t require a huge amount of time, yet the benefits are extensive. Learn more information on that here.
6. Let go of how things were “supposed to be” and accept “how things are.” Find appreciation for what is. What can you be grateful for – big or small? What is good right now? If you are struggling to see the good, try keeping a gratitude journal. At the end of each day, write down just 3 things that you are thankful for. It could be as simple as a sunny day, but it is helpful to remember and go to sleep with gratitude on your mind.
7. Keep things in perspective. Or try on a new perspective. Don’t get stuck. Remember, the only constant is change.
If you are going through a career transition (or want to) and are looking for more support, check out my group coaching program, starting October 18th, Jumping Off The Ladder: Group Coaching for Women Who Need to Unstick Their Careers & Reboot Their Lives