This is what I get in my email every day… a Google Alert on the work “layoffs”:
I wonder about those 2,000 employees for the Royal Bank of Scott (RBS), or the 130 employees of USA Today… did they see the writing on the wall?
Did they ignore it, like I did?
Or were they busy working hard, plunking on their keyboard trying to prove their value so their name wouldn’t end up on the list?
Were they hiding in the corner, ignoring reality, or were they out doing stuff in preparation for a termination?
If you came to me and said “Jason, I’m getting laid off in 6 months,” or “I have a six month severance package, WHAT DO I DO??”, here’s what I would recommend:
- Figure out your finances. How much time do you have before you have zero dollars in the bank? This goes FAST. All of my meager savings went away because of automobile problems … in the first week of unemployment! Oops. Figuring out your finances helps you understand where you are at, how helpful unemployment insurance would be and what you need to make ends meet. You can start to think about Plan B (asking family for help) and Plan C (asking your church for help), etc. You can also figure out if a McDonalds job would even be helpful… working 40 hours a week at minimum wage – would that really solve your financial gap? I’m not sure – you have to do the math on that one.
- Start networking. Brainstorm your contact list. Write every name down – even people you don’t like. This is not a discriminatory exercise, this is a lifeline. Just because you don’t like them doesn’t mean they can’t be immensely helpful in your transition. Maybe they like you and don’t realize you don’t like them :p Networking is a continual process… it’s not a one-time communication. Read at least one good networking book to put you in the right frame of mind.
- Figure out what your value proposition and pitch is. Read Peggy Klaus’ book Brag. Be ready to answer the question “how’s your job search going?” Be ready to stand up and give a 10 – 30 second elevator pitch. Fix up your LinkedIn Profile so it communicates your expertise and value prop. Google your name and see what comes up (and then resolve to get the right results when someone else google’s your name).
- Name 3 target companies you are interested in working at. These aren’t the only companies you’ll look at but it gives you a place to start, and when someone asks how they can help (they disguise that question by asking “how’s the job search going?”) you can respond with a request to help network into any of those three companies. Change the companies every day if you want, but be able to state at least 1 or 2 companies in every conversation you have with someone who can help you.
- Get ready for a long process. My dad said “You’ll be out of work for at least 6 months.” I thought he was mistaken but he was absolutely right. This can be a fun, although frustrating, time. Spend more time on stuff you’ve been neglecting (books, family, working out, hobbies, etc.). Don’t beat yourself up for being a casualty – it’s usually not your fault you are on the street looking (along with millions of others). Get your head in the game, and have the right attitude, or else your bad attitude will get in the way of your networking and other efforts.
Those are the strategies I’d advise you to do as you prepare for a transition – whether it is in a crummy economy (like now) or a great economy (like when I was unemployed… but still couldn’t land).
Here are the tools I recommend you get on right away:
- JibberJobber.com. You need to organize your job search and networking efforts. Where did you send which version of what resume? Who do you follow up with when? This is very difficult to keep track of with any non-database system – especially as your job search goes on and on.
- LinkedIn.com. This is where professional networking is done and recruiters are here in droves. Get on LinkedIn and do all the right stuff. If you need help get my LinkedIn DVD. Bundle it with the JibberJobber premium account and get significant savings.
There are more but that’s all I’d recommend for now – I don’t want to overwhelm you with were you could be… get started RIGHT NOW.
You may have heard of the concept of digging a well before you are thirsty, right?
That means RIGHT NOW.