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Tuesday, January 23, 2007
Surviving layoffs
Yesterday, Pfizer announced layoffs of over 10,000 employees. With the economy expected to slow down this year, chances are many more companies will be announcing such layoffs.

Having been through layoffs thrice as well as having my spouse also go through layoff, I know it's quite a traumatic experience to find out that you been laid off, especially if you have been a good and hard worker. However, one thing both I and my spouse have found out it is that despite some challenging times due to loss of a job, things turn out for good in the long run. Thing to realize is that every body goes through ups and downs in life but if a person has the right attitude and is willing to persist and work hard, those periods help one become a stronger person.

In case of layoffs, one of the main things to do is to accept the situation and move on quickly with the job search. Rather than wasting time blaming the company, manager etc, I think it's better to assess the situation and don't spend too much time grieving about the lost job. Yes, it's a traumatic situation and is bad thing, but spending time on blaming others will do no good except waste precious time that could be better spent on finding job and getting ready for interviews. However, it's important to realize that there will always be some days of depression, anger and sadness as one looks for job but the key is not to remain engulfed in such moments constantly. Instead, it's better to accept the challenge and do your best to find a better job.

If there were any mistakes in the previous job, accept the mistakes and decide to overcome them. In addition, rather than being angry at your boss, it also helps to leave the company on good terms and stay in touch in with previous managers and coworkers if possible. Reason being that often times firms do get back to hiring mode and openings do come up again – which is what happened to me. In my case, I got hired by one of my former companyies, two years after I was laidoff due to the company's financial situation. So it's better to leave on good terms. In addition, even if one does not intend to go back to working for the same employer, the ex-managers/co-workers can prove to be a valuable resource for references.

One of the mistakes I made when I was laid off for the first time is that I didn't know that most states provide temporary unemployment assistance. As a result, while I was searching for a full time job, I registered with several temping agencies and worked as an administrative assistant. I was making under $10 an hour and that too only on days when the temping agencies were able to get me an assignment. However, on the days I got work, it was good to get out of house and meet with other people. And on the days I didn't find work, I kept looking at job sites and tried to arrange interviews.

However, at the time of second layoff, my company arranged for officials to come from the state unemployment agency and through them I found out about unemployment benefits. So one of things I did when I was laid off the second time was to apply for the unemployment benefits. In most states, as long as a person keeps actively looking for job and maintains record of job applications and interviews, he/she can get 4-6 months of assistance based on his/her prior salary history. The benefits may not be large but at least they do provide some financial assistance as one is looking for a job. So one of things I think a person should do is to make sure to contact the unemployment benefits agency and see if he/she is qualified for the assistance.

In addition, it helps to keep plugging and sending resumes. Earlier, I used to send resumes indiscriminately but that approach just wasted my time as well as the recruiters'. So after my second layoff, I mainly sent resumes to the firm that better fit my qualifications and at the same time, they were the firms that were appealing to me. This meant weeding out the job postings that required relocation or extensive travel as I didn't want to relocate nor was willing to travel extensively.

Also, if there's free time, it always help to start prepping for the interviews while one is applying for a job because some times such calls come at a short notice and may not give a person enough time to prep.

Last but not the least, it helps to maintain a positive outlook and to have a good dose of faith as they help one better cope with the life's challenges. During my second layoff, I was without job for almost five months. However, I had just gotten married at that point and those five months gave me and my spouse time to spend time with each other, without worrying about getting up early, meetings, etc.

The layoff period is a trying period but if one looks at it positively and is willing to accept the challenge, sooner or later, he/she will find a job. It may not be the best job or pay comparable to the previous job, but in most cases, it will help one become a stronger and better person. So it's important to realize that with faith, hard work, determination and persistence, like every thing else, periods of layoffs or other trials in life too shall pass.....
posted by Ruby @ 7:40 AM  
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