Whether you call it a lay-off, down sizing or cost cutting, the entire process can be quite traumatic for the laid off employee. Although it is acceptable for him/her to experience different emotions, it is more important to move beyond the emotion and utilise the available time, constructively, to kick-start the beginning of a new phase in one’s life; one that is optimistic and enriching.
‘Downsize’, ‘Workforce Optimization’, “Layoff” are no longer terms that sound strange to the average Indian employee. Although this corporate phenomenon hitherto has only been associated with the West, Indians are slowly coming to terms with its harsh reality albeit in a different way.
As an individual nothing in life shakes you up as much as a sudden loss of job. One can equate the trauma of being laid off, to that of losing parent or a limb. A bank employee can fear losing his job each working hour. Some say that the unfortunate event of being laid off can turn out to be a golden opportunity in disguise. It is a chance to stop, catch your breath and figure out what you want to do with your life However in India, only a handful of the working population is blessed with the financial power to tide through this unexpected vacation and devote time and energy in self exploration. For a majority, it is thought of how to get the next pay cheque and the nightmare of how to pay the next home loan installment which looms large.
Even if it takes a little while, you can still bounce back. Industry experts suggest utilising this time to figure out your priorities while also being positive and goal oriented, for you may never know how it will turn out to be a golden opportunity in disguise.
View a pink slip as a temporary hiccup in your career. It’s a good time to get introspective by asking yourself questions that will help influence your long-term decisions like what kind of a job do I want, where do I want to work, where do my strengths lie, should I change my area of specialisation, etc.
A pink slip can also be viewed as an opportunity to explore other career avenues as well. This period offers you an opportunity to study, research and explore new industries, markets, job roles, etc. Utilise this time for self evaluation, fine tune your skills by enrolling for training/refresher courses, pursue temp jobs or freelance projects as you need to even look at earning as well, during this period.
Reflecting on what one has – like good health, supportive spouse, parents or friends, etc, compared to others helps creating the much required positive attitude.
Always keep an updated resume handy that is accessible to friends and recruiters. Also, networking through social networks plays a big role towards fetching a job that suits your qualifications.
Also, a person must be a little flexible during such times about compensation structures as companies wouldn’t be able to offer you pay packages, as per your expectations.
For a downsized employee this tumultuous time can actually offer an array of career enhancing opportunities. All you need is an optimistic approach and a willingness to learn.
Prepare an updated resume and send it to organisations you believe would hire someone with your qualifications and work experience. Even if you get only one response, use that as an opportunity to explore further.
Be well networked with colleagues, head hunters and executive search firms and do a regular follow up even though there are no immediate openings.
Update your skills by investing in short-term training courses.
Try to get a mentor who could advice and guide you, during times of distress.
Analyze your financial situation and prepare for hard days, in advance.