Being laid off in the middle of an economic and public health crisis is probably one of the most difficult experiences one can go through. It’s understandable that after losing a job your primary focus shifts to finding another job. But, this process could be extremely daunting, leaving you frustrated and depressed, especially when many companies are either downsizing or are on recruitment hold. No doubt it’s hard, it’s uncertain and scary. But there’s always a silver lining in every difficult phase in life when we really want to see one! A layoff could be an opportunity to grow both professionally and personally.
When you are looking for another job, I recommend splitting your time and energy into finding a new job and personal development. Try to spend at least thirty percent of the time reflecting on your life and career, analyzing past failures and success, upgrading your skill sets, working on personal projects which you’ve always wanted to pursue but could never manage to do, or exploring different side hustle, entrepreneurship or passive income strategies. This has multiple benefits. In this post, I have highlighted a few reasons why a layoff could be an opportunity to grow.
Helps Counterbalance the Frustration and Negativity
The satisfaction and fulfillment in pursuing and achieving the small personal and professional milestones would counterbalance the frustration and negativity which build up after a prolonged unsuccessful job search. The journey of chasing your personal goals and passions could make you happier, along with adding a sense of purpose to your life amidst all the external chaos.
One of my ex-colleagues was really depressed after losing her job and having to move with her parents. She used to be a long-distance runner in college. After recovering from the initial shock and disappointment, she decided to start running and set a goal for herself to achieve in the next two months. Now one month after the layoff, she is still actively looking for a new opportunity and is stressed financially. But the financial stress and anxiety couldn’t keep her away from chasing her goal as a long-distance runner. She claims that without running, it would have been difficult to hold herself together in this difficult time.
Opens the Doors For New Opportunities
The skills and experiences gained in this process would expand your horizon, possibly opening up the doors for new opportunities, which you haven’t imagined before the layoff.
A couple of my self-employed friends started stock trading during the recent shelter-in-place and found it really interesting. They’ve started reading and learning about investing in the stock market, and have joined an online course on it. They are planning to continue investing in the share market even when their work situation improves.
Working on personal projects and networking could also potentially create new opportunities and new collaborations. Two years back, when I moved to the United States and was looking for a job, I attended a professional development program offered by the United Nations Association San Francisco Chapter(UNA SF). After graduating from the program, I joined the Board of Directors of the UNA SF. And after two years, now I’m the Director of the same program. This program provided me with an immense opportunity for my professional and personal growth. It has connected me with a lot of like-minded people who motivated me in my work as an activist.
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Makes You More Confident and Resilient
You will certainly be more confident and resilient as you upgrade yourself, accomplish multiple goals, and learn new things. These will for sure have a positive shift in your personality. These will also increase your chances of clearing interviews, or your ability to effectively deal with failures and rejection. Attending personal development programs, completing new certifications, analyzing past successes or failures, or learning new technologies are legitimate ways to boost our confidence and self-esteem level. A friend of mine was really struggling to deal with rejections during his job search. He said he could feel each rejection was shrinking his self-esteem. After a couple of months in this process, he lost all his self-confidence. His therapist suggested he attend a personal development program specifically designed to improve self-confidence and clear interviews. This program really helped him overcome his anxiety and stress, and immensely improved his confidence. He cracked an interview and joined a multinational company after a couple of months.
An Opportunity For A Career Transition
This process of personal development might equip and prepare you for a possible career transition that you’ve always wanted but never had the courage to start, leaving a stable career. Career transition is a long-term process and needs a lot of psychological and professional preparation. Many of us often feel stuck in an unfulfilling career but are afraid to take the risk. Leaving an existing job or career and starting something new, maybe from scratch, is often intimidating. We tend to prioritize stability over our passion. But, once laid off you’ve already been exposed to financial and professional uncertainties and insecurities. This could be an ideal time to start over with something you are genuinely passionate about.
Who knows, maybe five years from now you would look back on this phase of your life and would be grateful for the experience because of the time, opportunity, and hardship this layoff brought along which changed the course of your life?
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