“Being fired from a show - being fired in any way, in any instance, any business - is just hard.” – Kathleen Rose Perkins
"Did you hear? They let her go. She's not coming back," read the text. And that was how I found out that a friend had lost her job. After a somber phone call, filled with tears, confusion, and a little anger, (all totally normal) we are embarking on a journey I have taken many times before with people, of all ages, genders, and career stages, that find themselves at best without a job and at worst bereft of part of their identity. It was time to find a new job.
"Some experts say that 70 percent of people ended up in their current position thanks to networking. Others say it's more like 80 percent or even 85 percent." – Payscale
That Won't Happen To Me
I don't want to be a fear monger, but the going will eventually get tough. Today, your job may be amazing. Congratulations! However, a year from now, perhaps two or even ten, there will come a time you will have to make a move, whether it's your choice or somebody else's choice. "Money magazine reports 61% of people have lost a job for longer than a year by the time they reach age 70. Losing a job is more common than you might think ... as nearly a quarter of people have experienced four or more of these shocks in a lifetime." You should be thinking about how to keep your skills fresh, relevant, and in parallel with your peers or individuals who may be rising in your field. Maybe start with just reading a book on a subject that interests you and is relevant to your domain. Maybe take a free online class (try Edx or Skillshare or Lynda) or join a group. Watch YouTube videos on the topic; just do something that will increase your knowledge. I appreciate that time is a scarcity for many of us and as our career matures (and personal life is filled with more and more responsibility), time management becomes a real issue for many of us. However, the best advice I would give you is: make the time. You see, while you're stagnant and not developing your skills and knowledge base, other people in your industry, your peers, up and comers, are making the time to learn and to grow. If you're not keeping up, you're behind. And, when you are in a situation where you're going to have to find a new job, you'll be behind the curve.
You're Going to Grieve
"Tell me what you're feeling." That's usually my first question. I don't ask "how" someone is feeling, I ask "what" they are feeling. It's an important distinction. What you're feeling puts a label on an emotion; how you are feeling tells me about the intensity of the emotion. I always start here because what many people don't realize is that they are grieving, yes grieving, about the loss of their job and income but more about their community (friends and colleagues) and purpose and status. The emotional roller coaster that many people feel is entirely normal and, in fact, people go through the five stages of grief when they lose their job, regardless of the circumstances. Denial: "Is this really happening to me?" "I'm in shock." Anger: "How could they do this to me? I've worked my ass off for this company!" Bargaining (and it's best friend Guilt): "If only I'd worked harder." "If only I hadn't said anything in that meeting, everything would be fine today." Depression: "I'm never going to find another job that pays like that." "I'm too [old, young, inexperienced]." "Obviously, I don't have what it takes." Acceptance: When you can talk about what happened without getting a lump in your throat or feeling like your stomach is tying itself in knots.
Real Friends Walk The “How Can I Help?” Talk
The most reliable channel to connect you to your next job? Your friends. According to PayScale, "70 percent of people ended up in their current position thanks to networking. Others say it's more like 80 percent or even 85 percent." Whatever the number, your friends (aka network) matter. We've written about networking before, but I want to point out that your network isn't just your LinkedIn contacts. Maybe you belong to a lunch club, or a wine club, book club, knitting circle, or Tough Mudder crew. Social networks are just as powerful as professional ones. Payscale notes that "there is something of a hidden job market out there. Some estimate that as much as 80 percent of new jobs are never listed but are instead filled internally or via networking. In fact, getting a referral for a job opening from someone who's already working with the company could give you pretty impressive odds. Only 7 percent of job applicants get this kind of referral, yet referrals make up 40 percent of new hires." And if you struggle with asking for help, start with asking for someone's advice. You'd be surprised how far friends, and acquaintances, will go to help.
Look, everyone has been shown the door. Yes, even me. When all is said and done, the story you want to tell is not about why you were let go; it's about how you found your way back.
If you have a story or job-seeking advice to share about your experience with losing, and finding, a job, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org