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July 5, 2012

A friend of mine, let’s call him Bob, recently was laid off from a nonprofit organization with virtually no notice.  The board of the nonprofit decided to restructure the organization one day and the next day was Bob’s last day. Quite shocking to be sure. It got me thinking a lot about how best to prepare yourself after losing your job.

Today I want to point you to an excellent webinar by J.T. O’Donnell, career coach and founder of the career blog, CAREEREALISM entitled, 5 Ways to Leverage a Layoff. In this informative webinar, Ms. O’Donnell provides some very helpful information to keep in mind as you begin to focus on the job search ahead. She explains how when you lose your job unexpectedly you can often go through many of the same emotional stages as if you lost a loved one. Think about it, our identity is very often closely linked to our job. If you don’t have time to view the lengthy webinar, check out this short article by the same author entitled, Layoff Advice: 4 Steps to Take Right After the Axe Falls.

What about severance?  Will you or won’t you get any severance pay? Here is a handy article by Alison Doyle with lots of tips about what to expect when it comes to severance packages from About.com. The general rule of thumb is one week of pay per year of continuous service to the company. However, it is not always the case and you should not count on it.

In the aftermath of a lay off it is good to remember that “this too shall pass” and try to be open to new opportunities. You may be surprised to discover you could end up in a better situation. Stranger things have happened.

September 2, 2011

It’s actually September and everyone is heading Back to School. In the spirit of new beginnings, I want to share a couple of resources that could prove quite useful for your job search.  The first is a link from ResumeBear’s 50 Best Books for the Unemployed.  This is an extensive list of books that vary from the practical to the motivational. Even if you are not currently unemployed, you may want to check out the list as there are a number of useful titles worth reading on topics such as Job Hunting, and Networking too.

Second, I wanted to share a link to Steve Job’s commencement speech made in 2005 at Stanford University. Since he announced his decision to step down from his leadership role as CEO of Apple, this speech has been making the rounds on twitter, facebook, etc. I found it to be very interesting and thought provoking. It is good advice to keep in mind as you pursue a job search and consider your options.

August 6, 2011

I recently watched a relatively new movie called “The Company Men.”  It is an interesting story that chronicles the lives of three men who all work at the same logistics company in relatively senior level positions who all get laid off due to downsizing. At one point the main character, Bobby, played by Ben Affleck, finds himself in the outplacement services center listening to the career coach who starts encouraging the folks in the group to recite “the Tiger” as it is affectionately known: “I will win. Why?  Because I have faith, courage and enthusiasm.”  This line becomes a sort of mantra for the laid off workers who have been looking for work for a very long time in a very competitive market where there are many more qualified applicants than jobs available. Bobby has a hard time adjusting to being unemployed and while his brother-in-law offers him some construction work, he wants to stay on the MBA track to which he is accustomed.

The national unemployment news continues to be grim.  According to About.com, “The unemployment rate dropped slightly in July – to 9.1%.”  While this number seems to be going in the right direction, what is more worriesome are the numbers of the long-term unemployed.  “The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks and over), is at 6.2 million – 44.4% of the unemployed – along with the fact that, unless there is new unemployment legislation, extended benefits program will expire at the end of 2011 many unemployed workers will be facing a situation where they have no unemployment compensation at all.”

So, if you find yourself unemployed, what’s next?  Assuming you know the type of work you are interested in pursuing, then strategic networking certainly becomes your best bet when the going gets tough. Tap into your extended network. Consider real time friends and facebook friends, past colleagues, high school/college/grad school buddies, your children’s friends’ parents, fellow sports league teammates, your coffee barista — leave no stone unturned. The people who know you will be the ones to go to bat for you. While many people feel embarrassed to be unemployed and don’t really want to spread the word far and wide, it’s important to remember that most people like to help others. If you don’t let them know you need a job, how can they be helpful?

Perhaps now is the time to pursue your hidden passion. Have you always dreamed of changing careers but didn’t have the time/energy/resources to do it?  Maybe finding yourself unemployed may be a blessing in disguise. It could be the time that you can explore launching your own business? Go back to school to gain a critical skill set? Try out some new things?

There are lots of resources available through places like the Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center which provides training to individuals hoping to start their own businesses, the Small Business Administration or pick up a copy of The Small Business Start Up Kit for California.  Have an idea for a novel nonprofit organization? Attend the Craigslist Foundation’s Nonprofit Bootcamp to learn how to develop your own nonprofit organization. Carpe Diem.