Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Laid Off? Start Telling Your Story.

The Bad News: There’s a Stigma

One of the things about being made redundant is that there’s a very real stigma to overcome. I’ve worked for CEOs and very senior people who would not hire people who had been made redundant, no matter what the circumstance. It makes no difference whether they were laid off because they were underperforming, or due to the organization no longer requiring their function.

And they’re pretty black and white about it. I’ve tried to challenge it on several occasions, but their attitude is that “if they’re part of a failing business, they’re part of a failing business.”

So the stigma is a very real thing people who have been made redundant have to overcome, on top of their emotions about the economic and personal consequences of no longer being employed, the stress that comes from that, and the stress of looking for a new job.

The Good News: You Can Get Over It

The antidote to all this stress, short of actually having a new job in hand, is having the confidence to reflect upon their achievements and accomplishments in their career as a whole – and not just what’s happened in a short period of time. When it comes down to it, it’s about seeing your career as a story, and having the ability and confidence to tell that story in a compelling way.

And when you can do that, you start to understand that being laid off is just something that happened along the way. It doesn’t define you or your story.

You, You Story, and Your Next Step

There are a few steps to it:

  1. Understand your strengths and weaknesses. You have to understand where you’re starting out before you know how to move forward. Take assessments, ask for honest feedback, reflect on your achievements as well as your failures. Take honest and detailed stock of your story so far, and you’ll get a good sense of what direction you want it to go. 
  2. Be organized and tactical. There are some really great tools you can use to do your research, track your activity, and network. Use them – it’s so important to be strategic and organized, especially when you’re still feeling the stress and the stigma of being laid off. 
  3. Network, network, network! The best way to get your story heard is to get other people to tell it. If you have people out there talking about you and how wonderful you are, the stigma will go away. 

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