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. While it’s understandable that after losing a job the entire focus of a person shifts to finding another job. But, this process could be extremely daunting, leaving one 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. This challenging time could actually be your opportunity to grow professionally and personally.
If you have been laid off recently and are looking for a new opportunity, I recommend splitting your time and energy into finding a new job and in personal development.
Try to spend at least forty percent of the time in –
- Reflecting on your life and career
- Analyzing past failures and success
- Self- affirmation
- Upgrading your skill sets
- Working on personal projects or goals or
- Exploring different side hustles, entrepreneurship or passive income strategies
- Career transition goals, if you have any
- This has more than one benefits
This is how investing in these activities would help you grow and evolve –
Helps Counterbalance the Frustration and Negativity
The joy and fulfillment in pursuing and achieving the small personal and professional milestones would counterbalance the frustration and negativity which build up after prolonged unsuccessful job search. The journey of chasing your personal goals and passions could make you happier, along with adding a sense of purpose in your life amidst all the external chaos.
One of my ex-colleagues was really depressed after losing her job and had to move to her parents. She used to be a long-distance runner in college. After recovering from the initial shock and disappointment of being laid off, she started running and set a goal for the next two months. Now one month after the layoff, she is still actively looking for a new opportunity and is under a lot of financial stress. 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 have 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 in 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 collaboration. 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 an immense opportunity for my professional and personal growth. It helped me connect with a lot of like-minded people related to my work as a gender equality activist.
Makes You More Confident and Resilient
You will certainly be more confident and resilient as you continue to upgrade yourself and learn new skills. There 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. There are many different ways you could transform the frustration and helplessness to opportunities to grow and evolve!
Attending personal development programs, completing new certifications, analyzing past successes or failures, or learning new technologies are legitimate ways to boost your profile. A friend of mine was really struggling to deal with rejections during his job search, after being laid off. He said he could feel each rejection was shrinking his self-esteem. After a couple of months in this process, he completely lost his self-confidence. His therapist suggested he attend a personal development program specifically designed to improve self-confidence while facing interviews. This program immensely helped him overcome his anxiety, stress, and immensely improved his confidence. He cracked an interview and joined a multinational company after a couple of months of enrolling in the program!
An Opportunity For A Career Transition
This process of personal development might equip and prepare you for a possible career transition. 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 the financial and professional uncertainties and insecurities. This could be an ideal time to start over something you are genuinely passionate about.
Who knows, maybe in five years from now you would look back to this phase of your life and would be grateful to the COVID 19 crisis because of the time, opportunity as well as the hardship it brought along which changed the course of your life?
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