In March 2013, I was laid off. It was the first time since graduation from the Academy, I was without a job.
After over 30 years (does this mean I’m old?) of continuous employment, I was forced to enter the new and unexplored territory of unemployment. While I won’t say it was the best thing that could have happen to me – I will say I was humbled and grew tremendously from the experience.
Prior to experiencing unemployment, I looked at anyone who was laid off with a suspicious eye. After all, I reasoned if you were a good employee you wouldn’t be laid off – right?
During my time of unemployment, I met and networked with a lot of good people who like yours truly were simply a victim of a business downturn – they weren’t damaged goods after all.
Continuing her series, “Turn Four of Life’s Lemons into Lemonade” writer Kara Masterson addresses the lemon of job loss.
How To Turn A Lost Job Into An Opportunity For Success
The feeling of losing your job is nearly indescribable. It might be layoffs due to hard times, or your job becoming obsolete as a result of technology changes.
Whatever the cause, it’s a discouraging feeling that can leave you with a bleak and negative outlook. If you ever find yourself in this situation it’s important to remember not to lose hope and stay positive.
Remember and believe you have marketable skills which make you a highly sought after employee. With determination, research and leg work, you will quickly find your way back into the workforce.
Show Me the Money
The first thing on your plate is money. You need to figure out how to make your finances work while you’re looking for a new job.
Bear in mind it doesn’t need to be a long-term fix. Your solution should simply allow you and your family to live while hunting for your next job.
Receiving a severance and filing for unemployment will help, but you’ll need to make it last over an undetermined period of time. Also the amount will probably not completely replace your employment income.
You should take a look at your monthly expenses and develop a budget if you don’t already have one to help you limit your spending. This could include passing up on eating out or getting coffee at the Mom & Pop shop instead of Starbucks.
You may want to temporarily cancel some of your monthly subscriptions. Hopefully, for unexpected events like job loss, you have already established an emergency fund.
Financial advisers recommend setting aside at least three to six months worth of expenses. The actual size of your emergency fund will vary depending on your lifestyle, monthly expenses, income and family members.
Consider the Cause
The reason behind your job loss can have a significant impact on your ability to find temporary funds. For example, If you were fired without apparent cause you may be able to sue your old company.
Don’t expect to become a millionaire, just to get financial help finding a new job. The court can order your former employer to pay a percentage of your salary while you look.
If your job loss was due to an accident that left you unable to work, you have even more options. Maybe the injury happened during a car accident where the other party was at fault.
In that case, you can try to seek compensation from the other party. If you were injured on the job then you might be eligible for worker’s compensation.
Whatever the cause, if you were involved in an accident of some sort leading you to not being able to work you should consider contacting an attorney like Oxner + Permar, LLC or someone similar to see what options you have.
Remember these solutions only serve to help you while you find new employment. None of them are designed to be a permanent fix.
Start the Search
As soon as you have your finances figured out, you should begin looking for a new job. This is where you can really start turning this metaphorical lemon into lemonade.
Treat it like you’re looking for a promotion and target jobs that will stretch your skills, abilities as well as your salary. You should also target positions with a higher base salary than what you earned before.
If a potential employer knows you been laid off for a while they may try to give you a low ball salary offer. The employer is thinking you’ll accept it out of desperation and relief your job search is over.
Go into the interview prepared and confident of your worth. Carefully evaluate the first offer you’ll almost always leave money on the table in this situation.
If there’s a part of the country you’ve always wanted to live, focus your job search there.
Just because you’ve always worked in a certain field doesn’t mean you couldn’t succeed in a different one. Make a list of your dream jobs and companies you’ve always wanted to work for.
Once made, develop a strategy of research and networking to get hired. Just because a job isn’t listed as available doesn’t mean you can’t get hired for it or better yet a job is created just for you.
You can always send a cover letter and your resume to the head of the department your interested in working for letting them know you’re available.
If you plan to do this, make sure to thoroughly research the company and the position. This will help you show them you are a star candidate.
Job loss can be devastating, but it doesn’t have to be. Do your investigation, approach your job search like a full-time job and most importantly keep a positive attitude.
You can take one of the sourest lemons life can give you, and turn it into lemonade. Remember the process of finding a new job can take time.
If you haven’t done it for a while, you may need to make some major updates to your resume and interview tactics to really stand out. Stay focused and don’t give up, and you’re sure to find something exceeding your expectations.
If there was only a single thing I could do during a job search it would be to help others in the same situation. I’m not sure what it is but helping others in their job search just seems to open the door for you to receive opportunities.
Is there a single thing you can share? Please write it in the Comments below. Thanks.