Have you been retrenched? Maybe your position was the only position cut or maybe you were laid off with an entire department. The feelings caused by being retrenched are largely the same regardless of your circumstances.
But it is important to take your next steps based on rational thought, not emotions. To start on the path to career recovery, avoid making these five mistakes after being laid off.
Badmouthing the Employer Who Retrenched You
You worked hard for your old company, often sacrificing family and personal time. Being laid off can feel like denial or rejection of all that honest effort.
Do not let your hurt feelings provoke you into talking badly about your employer. Remember that everyone you speak with is a potential networking contact. You do not know what opportunities your neighbor or fellow school parent might open to you—and you will not find out if they think you are a loose cannon or disgruntled employee.
Try to remain respectful when asked about the layoff and your past employer, or just stay quiet. Remember the old saying: If you cannot say something nice, do not say anything at all.
Hiding the Retrenchment from Family
Losing your job can be traumatic. For many of us, our identity is tied to our work. We may not feel that we know who we are without our position.
As hard as it may be to talk about the layoff, it is important to do so with your spouse and close family. Do not try to hide it. You will need their love and support to get you back on your feet.
Do not feel rushed to explain the situation to your children, though. It is okay to take some time for the feelings to be less raw.
Jumping into a Job Search
Believe it or not, some people go straight from the layoff announcement to their computer to post a resume or update their LinkedIn profile.
Instead of jumping right into a job search rethink your career path. Use some quiet time to list all your accomplishments and highlight those that meant the most to you. What tasks did you enjoy? Which projects inspired and stimulated you?
You may find that you would be happier in a slightly different role or job. You will certainly come up with concrete achievements to put on your resume and cover letters.
Once you have thought through your next steps and goals, you will be more targeted—and effective—in your networking.
Dwelling on the Negative
Just as you should not badmouth your employer, do not talk negatively about yourself! Without thinking, many working women downplay their career contributions or prospects, especially in social conversations.
Your acquaintances will be uncomfortable hearing about retrenchments because it reminds them, they, too, are vulnerable. Give them the opportunity to help you by talking about the positive career steps you want to take.
If, for example, you’re at your kid’s cricket game and a fellow parent asks what you’re doing, make sure you have a career status update about your layoff and the next steps you want to take. For example:
- “Due to the Covid-19 epidemic my employer had to downsize and several positions, including mine were eliminated. I am taking the opportunity to make a career move from marketing to strategic communications. I’m a marketing and communications manager with over 10 years of experience working for private companies and nonprofit organizations.”
- “The recent reorganization of ABC company led to 120 job cuts, including mine. I am a human resources executive with 15 years of experience working closely with corporate leadership and implementing new systems. My objective is to find a position where I can continue to serve as a catalyst for orderly and profitable workforce change.”
- “Due to the struggling economy, XYZ company let go of a dozen employees, including me. I am currently exploring opportunities that would take advantage of my engineering and manufacturing background, and my successful record of boosting sales.”
Becoming Isolated or Web-Bound
You know there is lots of great information on the internet, and certainly, you can easily spend hours every day submitting your resume online.
But staying behind the computer and surfing will only take you so far. To land a new job, you must meet people in person and get out of your home. Most open positions are never even posted publicly.
If you talk to 25 hiring managers, you will most likely get a job offer. These conversations do not even need to be job interviews. If you line up informational interviews with organizations you admire, the next time a position becomes available the hiring manager will think of you.
You also need the support and positive feedback that comes from having coffee or lunch (when possible) with former colleagues familiar with your best work. Set a goal, such as having two networking calls a day and two or three in-person meetings a week. When you talk to people you used to work with, they will learn what you accomplished recently and where you want to go next.
So, whether you pick up the phone or send an email, reach out to the people who will lead you to your next great job.