Being laid off feels like the end of the world, but it’s not. Learn how you can best prepare yourself for this situation and how to view this overwhelming experience as an opportunity to do what you want to do.
Why layoff is a great opportunity to do what you want
Have you ever thought about your career path but never leaped?
Your case could be that of someone who feels good and is stable in their job. Or on the contrary, it could be someone who, for fear of failure, tends to look for obstacles that prevent them from achieving what they want.
In any case, both types of people tend to stay in their comfort zone until it is no longer their decision. When layoffs come, uncertainty comes too.
In 2020, 37% of U.S. workers found themselves in this situation. It is a significant figure, as the number was double the rate of past years. According to the statistics, 26% got a new job, while 11% became unemployed.
Although the figure for obtaining jobs was higher and brings relief, becoming unemployed is still a very tough experience for any worker, whether they find a job fast or not. That is why, to overcome this difficult moment, it is essential to change the approach to it. Layoffs can be the perfect opportunity to build a business or make a much-needed or desired change.
Looking at layoff with a different lens
Based on a LinkedIn survey of 2,000 workers at the end of 2022, 27% of people felt that the layoff allowed them to rediscover themselves and their true purpose, with many pursuing new careers or starting a business of their own. According to respondents, the layoff was the best thing that could have happened to them.
But this is only the post-layoff attitude; what happens before and during is what we need to work on. The “problem” lies in the fact that our minds tend to perceive this situation as the end of the world due to the negative connotations associated (financial destabilization, uncertainty, recession, etc). Because of this, it is logical to expect it to be an overwhelming experience; it is part of our defense mechanism.
Let’s take the data collected by 360 Data Science as an example. They state that mass layoffs in the IT industry increased to over 150,000 in 2022 and aim to continue to rise during 2023, which represents a challenge because the more massive layoffs there are, the more saturated the market will be.
This news could be a significant concern for professionals who fear layoffs or are going through the process. However, the study also reveals that laid-off professionals are getting jobs faster and faster, even more than in the pre-pandemic era, at an increasing rate across all sectors.
Another interesting fact is that most of these new jobs are in non-technology professions, such as consulting, financial services and others. Also, most laid-off IT professionals were in HR, recruiting, UX design, data science or customer service, positions in demand in other industries.
The point here is that we will always find a way to reinvent ourselves and find a solution. We should start thinking about layoffs as the best opportunity to get out of our comfort zone, rethink our goals, reorient our objectives and get better job benefits, and we should start doing it now.
How to prepare for a layoff
Typically, when you are at your best, you don’t even think about being fired. But the reality is that you don’t always have total control over your professional life. Sometimes things don’t go as well as expected, and a third party decides for you. That’s why you shouldn’t let these employee cutbacks catch you off guard, so having a plan b is the solution to maintain your financial and mental stability.
You can start by being clear about what you want. You may be the type of professional looking for a similar job, a promotion in another company, or the one who always wanted to change careers, do something different, or be an entrepreneur. Whatever you choose, the important thing is that you feel you are taking the right step toward your goal when the time comes.
And what is that goal? Well, you have to identify where you want to go, research and find those companies you would love to work with or the field you would like to enter.
The next step is to recognize your hard and soft skills and ask yourself: which abilities will help me in my next challenge, which skills can I take to another level, and what knowledge do I not have today, but can I work to obtain them? Preparation also requires acquiring knowledge and building a new profile little by little. Even in your current job, you can start to include hidden skills and show other facets of yourself.
Another relevant factor is networking. Creating connections is very important to make yourself known in your current area and the one you want to enter. If you wish to venture into a new function, look for related colleagues, find professionals in common, and tell them about your aspirations and what you do in your job. It will help you a lot.
As you can see, changing careers or looking for a new job is a job in itself, you will prepare yourself if you start making small changes in your real life. Ideally, begin to do it now, no matter how good you feel in your job. Remember that it is not a change you need to make immediately, but it is a plan b or future project; you decide what to call it.
Don’t let a company or a recession drive your future. Need support creating a career change plan? I have helped many women transition to a career more aligned with their purpose and own their professional life. Take the next step. Let’s talk!
The original version of this publication appeared in Brainz Magazine