by Brenda L. Peterson, The Layoff Lady
Don't Go It Alone
Life is challenging when nothing in particular is happening. When you're going through a job change (especially one you didn't plan), it's even harder. While I'm a fan of self-reliance, I also know the value of finding people who want to support you and letting them do it. You're not weak for needing people. You are smart for planning ahead for what you will need.
You Need Help Because This is Hard
I have been through a post-layoff job transition 7 times, and it is difficult each and every time. There is the fear that it will just never end and you'll be drifting for eternity trying to find paid work where you can pay your bills--much less in a job you want. You worry that you'll have to settle for something that may be even worse than the worst job you've ever had. You also worry that you'll run out of money and not be able to pay your bills and lose everything you own and everyone you've ever loved. While your rational mind knows this is all pretty unlikely, there will be moments when it all seems hopeless. That's where your support network comes in.
No matter how resilient and downright badass you are, doing this alone makes it way harder.
People Want to Help You: Make Sure to Let Them
As an extra added bonus, people want to help you!
I'm always inspired by people who come out of the woodwork to check on me, tell me about an open position, thank me for helping them once upon a time, or offer to refer me for a role. Everyone has struggled with something at one time or another, and someone has helped them. Let other people help you.
Building Your Team
It also takes a village to get you through a career transition. Relying on one person for everything is all kinds of stressful. Know that people want to help, and it's a matter of figuring out what you need, letting people know, and reaching out to people when you need it. Going through a job search is challenging even in the best of circumstances. If you're starting from a layoff (especially the part where someone else got to make a big, uninvited life decision for you) it can be even more challenging.
Types of Help You Need
Here's a starter list of the types of help you may need during your job transition. More specifically, here is some of what I needed. Use this as a starting point and add details as it helps you:
Who Can Help
When it comes to help, I start with my inner circle--close friends and family. I'm also sure to widen my support team beyond them, too.
I also move beyond that immediate group. I interact with my LinkedIn connections. I tap into online groups including job search groups, The White Box Club, and even LinkedIn groups focusing on networking or a content area (like sales enablement).
I interact with in-person membership groups like ATD or the Omaha OD Network. Or I seek out non-work connections through social Meetup groups or activities. Sometimes, I just spend time in coffee shops to indirectly interact with other people. It's a matter of figuring out what you need and finding a person to help.
Asking for Help
Know, too, that there will be times when you need to straight up reach out to someone because you need help. Each person will have their areas of interest and expertise, so be sure to keep that in mind when asking for help.
It's helpful to consider who you might contact for different needs. Here are a few cases where I reach out to different people to ask for help:
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7-time layoff survivor Brenda L. Peterson, The Layoff Lady, waxes poetic on layoffs, job transitions, & career resilience.