When news came down last week of the layoffs occurring at General Motors, reality sank in that people were losing their jobs. The questions began to swirl for those who were let go. Questions like, “What now?” Or “How do I move on?” These questions are natural, and after you have spent a few days feeling the circumstances you find yourself in, you’ll need actionable steps to get you back. Back in the driver’s seat of your life and career and back ready to take on the challenges of your new opportunities.
If you find yourself in the number of thousands who were let go by GM this past week, or maybe you’re not associated with GM at all but still find yourself out of a job, it can be a scary time. Bills will begin to pile up, the whole unknown will be begin to loom large and you’ll wonder, “What can I do?” Here are six things you can do to prepare yourself for your next step. They will help get — and keep — your head in the right space during this time of uncertainty. Working these steps will help you use this new found freedom to take full control over where you land next.
Shift Your Mindset
First things first, you must shift the way you think about yourself and your circumstances. This shift begins when we realize that you are not defined by your job or the fact that you were just laid off. This is a matter of circumstances that happened to you, it doesn’t define you. If you allow it the power to define you, it’ll keep you down and continue to hold you back from who you truly are. Use this opportunity as a launching pad to tap into your inner greatness, which is defined by your value and unique abilities.
Write Out Your Value and Unique Abilities
There is an exceptional quality to all of us. Something that we bring to the table that will set us apart. Something that brought infinite value to the company we previously worked for and something we will bring to the company we will work for in the future. Many times, we do not realize what these abilities are because we have used them over and over, but sometimes the mundane can be the thing that sets us apart.
Begin by cataloguing one or two things that you are exceptional at and that brought the vast amount of value to your company. This catalogue should include all the ways you brought value to the company you worked for and how the next company will be very lucky to have you.
Write the Narrative of Your Ideal Next Career
This fresh start should not be seen as a slap in the face, but rather an opportunity. This opportunity is something that some people don’t always get, and the best part is: you get to control the narrative.
The best approach for this fresh opportunity is to envision what you truly want. Create your own narrative surrounding your new career, including what it feels like, what it smells like, what it looks like—including all the nuances of the culture of your new place of employment. Write it down and chase it. Then, when you’re online searching for new places to work, you’ll have a better idea of what it is you truly want. And when the headhunters start calling, you’ll be able to tell them exactly what you want, too.
Reach Out to Centers of Influence (COIs)
It is a good business practice to have a minimum of three mentors. I firmly believe this and practice it in my daily life. If you don’t have these people, get them! If you do have them, now is the time to reach out to them. Spend time creating a list of your top three, five, or even ten Centers of Influence who can make introductions for you. These references and referrals will be the tentacles of outreach that will be working for you as you work to find your next career.
Create Your Plan B and C
We all have an inner-entrepreneur. They may reside in a passive role now, but it is time we give them the permission to take control. While your time is free now, due to the circumstances surrounding your layoff, it is a great time to map out your dream business—the one you have always thought about.
Be specific and be measurable in your planning. You should continue to work Plans B and C, even after you’ve landed your next job. If you have a specific plan, you’ll be ready to use it when you need to.
Train Yourself to be Relevant
It is critical to be relevant in today’s job market. By being forward-thinking and relevant, you will bring immense value to your new company. Make sure to brush up on your use of technology, social media, and all other aspects of an ever-changing and fluid job space.
Today, it is easier than ever to brush up on these skills. By using available resources like YouTube, Khan Academy, Udemy, and podcasts to enhance your skills, you’ll be growing and learning skills that will set you apart. Taking advantage of available resources and even turning your car into a mobile university, of sorts, will give you a leg up on the competition and set you apart from others who may be interviewing for the same career.
It isn’t easy to lose a job and I would never want to minimize that. But, by seeing this as a way to take control of your narrative and brush up on skills you need to set yourself apart, you’ll be able to take the negative and move toward a more positive outcome, enjoying the ride the entire time. The most important thing is to always, Think Big!
Jon talks with Fox 2 News anchor Sherry Margolis about finding a new career after you've been laid off.