Laid Off? Turn Unexpected Unemployment Into Re-Invention

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Sometimes it's no surprise. Other times it comes out of left field and reduces you to a state of shock. The Lay-Off! Whenever or however it happens, it's a blow. To your existence and to your ego. As hard as
it can be especially at first, do not look at being laid off as a personal failure. Because it is not. There usually is no logic involved. Just management needing to save money. Usually because of bad choices they made in the first place. Although this doesn't help you feel any better.

There will be a grieving process. Take a day or week to grieve. Cry, rant and rave at the unfairness of it all. The absolute first thing you should do is get a "laid-off" letter from your employer. On company letterhead it should state you were laid-off. You don't need prospective employers thinking you were fired. Take this letter to all interviews.

Make sure you've taken advantage of severance packages and any unemployment insurance available to you. When in doubt, check it out. Take advantage of all agencies in your area that can help. So often we feel as if we are all alone in the world with our situation. Then we take a look around and are pleasantly surprised to find what help is just waiting for us to make use of them.

Do not bad-mouth your past employer! Do not burn any bridges. You never know who could be in your corner ready to help you and then they find out you've trashed them. Be civil to everyone. This should
go without saying. Unfortunately, when upset, we may be curt to a secretary or surly to a stranger we bump into in a lobby. Then we find out the stranger is the one interviewing us for a job! The "golden rule" may seem outdated to many. But, time will never cause good old-fashioned respect for the rest of humanity to go out of style.

If you haven't read "What Color Is Your Parachute" by Richard Bolles, get to the bookstore or library and get yourself a copy. This book should be required reading in all schools. From an early age, we
should be taught the principles of this classic book. It is known as the Job Hunter's Bible. For good reason.

Becoming unemployed should be looked at as a gift. (don't shoot the messenger) This can be a time to re-evaluate and explore what you really want to do with your life. Many of us stay in jobs we no longer enjoy because of inertia. It's just easier to stay in our rut. Being suddenly laid-off and kicked out of the nest, forces us to get out of our comfort zones.

Someday you will look back on this time as a turning point and be grateful it happened. After all, these things can't be changed. If you adopt this attitude, you WILL find yourself in a position of a better job, more money and happiness.

(c) Karen Cook
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