Unless you are working for yourself, being laid-off is a scenario that you might be confronted with at some point in your career. In periods of uncertainty and turmoil, lay-offs tend to be widespread and your probabilities of getting through that sour moment are higher. Today’s article is not going to make you forget about that painful conversation or any uncomfortable feelings that the situation generates, but rather try to give you an actionable “turnaround” plan to make the most out of this unwanted situation.
Unless you did something illegal or unethical, nothing to be ashamed of
Unless you have done something illegal or unethical, this is a normal thing that can happen to anyone working for a third party. And nothing to be ashamed of, or however you might call that feeling. Especially at times like this, many companies need to adjust the size of the teams.
First things first: deal with grief and get things off your chest (with those in your corner, not with your former boss)
Make it short, don’t pity yourself too much but also, don’t expect to be at full productivity one hour after having been let go by your now former boss. The important message here is go through a few, pre-determined steps to get back on your feet and have a clear mind as soon as possible (ie. Don’t go on a “Leaving las Vegas” type of alcohol journey).
A good suggestion we have for you: get things off the chest and not just talking to friends, family or partners: write your thoughts on the last job, what you liked and didn’t liked, what you did right and wrong, the next things you want to do and any other brainstorming ideas that come to your mind. Putting things on paper clears the mind for me; and it is useful to come back and pick for your formal action plan.
Find the right habits to get you back into a job quickly
- Exercise and be healthy: in line with not drinking yourself to death, and even though it is not the main topic of this page or blog, exercising and keeping your body healthy can be central to be centered and a strong candidate for when the time to shine comes. A few suggestions (mostly free) that don’t require spending money or getting into crazy new sports: 1) do cardio outside early in the mornings (ride your bike, go for a run or any other cardio option, with uplifting or inspiring music) 2) get into yoga (a great free yoga-for-beginners library here) 3) Work-out at your gym or, if you don’t like going to the gym do these body-weight workouts at home (you will only need a chair and little more), doing 2-3 cycles at a time.
- Routine: create your routing for work-days, in order to follow a pattern that a) does not lead you to go 24/7 on an job-search spree and b) gives you discipline to avoid binge-watching series on the streaming menu.
- Allow yourself to rest: schedule your routine such that you have proper night sleep and don’t do it over in the weekends
- Meditation: add a peaceful mind to a healthy body and a good routine and you will be fully centered and a candidate that more and more employers will be willing to hire. I have no interest in this company but just recommend a place for beginners at the Meditation game (click here for Headspace website). Although it may not be the best time to start meditating, the essence of mindfulness is really handy in this situations, as you need to be able to see the broader picture, contemplate your mind without getting into “fighting” each and every thought that comes with regards to your last job (if only I did this different or “why me” or “I am so unlucky”). Just try and get into the mood of letting the thoughts pass, acknowledge them and, with a calmer mind after meditating, start your day (or get back to your search process in case you are not doing it at the beginning of the day)
Do not wait until August is over
- Yes, you may take some days off, or even go on that holiday that was already planned and paid for but be back as soon as possible and try to be productive ahead of September 1st
- Be aware that as in any crisis, some firms over-did the reduction of teams, while other firms start getting the rush because they did not hire enough analysts/associates out of masters programs and even more, some other firms in “hot” sectors (like restructuring/turnaround shops) need to get work done and need to hire people (in industry parlance: “they need bodies” at the bottom of the pyramid).
This line of argumentation tries to get that edge for doing a bit of sacrifice: if you wait until it is September, you will be on the same level with everyone that decided to wait to look for a job until coming back to your home-town. If you get into your state of flow while everyone else is sunbathing, you will have an edge!
Time to “BIF-up” your candidacy
At this critical time for your career, the Breaking into Finance program can guide your effort through its 4 pillars:
- Review and reinforce your story: use this involuntary break to review and redefine your story as needed. Also, not the time to be especially picky on your next job but this can be an awakening to change to a different sub-sector
- Re-vamp your marketing materials: polish your CV, your elevator pitch and especially, be ready discuss openly and firmly your being laid off.
- Networking: get your action plan ready and start approaching people that maybe closer to you and that you know are working and not on holidays. For those you are not close enough and/or are positive they are on holidays, have everything ready to shoot those networking messages in September.
- Practice interviews: become that “very focused professional” (aka. Weirdo) rehearsing the interview skills at the beach or by the pool, as much as needed. Forget about what they may call you; better to be ready for when the next interview comes.
In many cases being fired or being denied that fair promotion leads people to thrive in the job that was actually right for them. I am not saying that you will become the cliché or movie story saying “this is the best thing that happened to me”; but sometimes a slap in the face helps us re-channel our energies.
As it is always the case from Breaking into Finance, we invite you to focus your energy in solving the problem (getting a job) while keeping a positive attitude that without doubt will show in your interview. In this, it is essential the piece on meditation.
Chin up! And remember one of our launching mottos: this too shall pass. Don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any comments on this or any other article; visit our Services to see how we can be of help; or just reach out at email@example.com.