Downsizing of employees has become a common practice these days. However, someone can bounce back from a job loss following some simple tips.
In today’s VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous) world where doing any business is getting increasingly difficult, downsizing of employees has become a common practice, which is unfortunately a reality. True, losing one’s job is hard; it is a traumatic experience. It is damaging to one’s mental health and self-esteem and tends to disrupt one’s life. There is no way to overcome this unfortunate and tremendously stressful situation as it can happen to anyone any time. However, here are a few tips which might help you bounce back from a job loss:
1. Give yourself some time to accept the reality
Before jumping into another job, one must take some time to think and reassess. One needs to take out time to process what happened and understand how to deal with it. It is important not to indulge in self pity but instead course correct. One must introspect deeply and analyse what went wrong and why. At times one loses a job because of circumstances beyond one’s control like merger/ acquisition or even closing of the business which may be due to extraneous reasons. It is easier to accept and deal with such situations as reality is known. However, in other cases introspect and take feedback as unless you are aware of your mistakes, you cannot course correct. Take time to accept the reality.
2. Stay positive
It is very important to stay positive and not to think it to be the end of the world. Remember, you cannot get a positive outcome with a negative thought process. Therefore, think this is a speed breaker and in fact may even be a blessing in disguise as you may end up with an even better opportunity.
3. Identify the possible reasons
One must identify the situation from the other person’s perspective and introspect what went wrong. The perspective for doing this should be to ensure the mistakes of the past are not repeated. Failures are great teachers and as long as one learns from them, they are a stepping stone to success. As Colin Powell said, “There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.”
4. Reassess your Goals
It is prudent to re-evaluate one’s goal in life and career and strategize as to how one can attain the goals. One must reassess the goals as at times what seemed very important some time back may have lost its relevance today. It helps if we have clarity on the goals as it is very difficult to score a goal when the goal post is moving and is not clear to us. Therefore, it is prudent to seek a mentor or a coach and re-evaluate our goals. Often in a corporate life we are continuously running with not too much clarity on what is the big picture and what is a small one.
5. Evaluate your strengths and know your weaknesses
Everyone is endowed with strengths and weaknesses. It is, therefore, beneficial if we are aware of what we are good at and what we are not. In life it is important to gun for jobs that play to our strengths. Corporate world is performance-oriented and, therefore, performance is very important. If the job adequately leverages on your strengths, then you are likely to perform well and enjoy it more. Also, do a reality check on what you don’t do well. This is important from both a learning perspective as well as avoiding jobs that are not for you.
6. Make a good CV
Most of the CVs of candidates are badly made. In reality hardly 5% of the CVs are well made as generally we do not spend adequate time on this important matter. Remember your experience at the job is merely a qualifier. What you have achieved at the job is more important as employers today value talent and no one wants to hire an average resource. It will help if you take professional help to make your CV as it will enhance your chances of getting short listed. However, please do not get into temptation of fabricating anything on your CV as it can be very damaging.
7. Start tapping the network
Don’t hesitate to reach out for help. It does not make you small. Remember everyone needs help and has probably asked for it at times. Relationships help and if you have been wise enough to have maintained them then reach out and seek help. Your past bosses as well as colleagues and even subordinates can help. Your focus now should be on getting a good job, so do set aside your ego. You are a human being. So success as well as failure have to be taken in your stride.
8. Do your homework
It is very important to go fully prepared for an interview. Do your homework on the organization as well as the person who will be interviewing you. Lots of candidates lose great opportunities because of inadequate homework. It is important that you understand also what your value proposition is and will help if you can do a mock interview with someone you trust and look up to. Thinking hard on some of the tough questions that you will be asked helps as impressions are formed on the basis of what you state.
9. Take blame
It helps to be truthful and own up our mistakes. A strict no no is playing the blame game and blaming all but yourself for your current predicament. It is acceptable to have made some mistakes as long as you appear serious about learning from them. Blaming your previous organization or your bosses is not a prudent strategy as no one likes negativity or someone with a negative dent of mind.
10. Be Adaptable and Surround Yourself with Positive People
To bounce back after a job loss, it is important that you are flexible rather than fixed about things. If you can relocate, please be open as your choices increase. Also, it will help if you are adaptable as the eco system of every organization is different.
Moreover, the most important part for you is to ensure you remain positive. So surround yourself with positive people who will give you suggestions and feedback. Positive thinking will give positive reduce. So shun negativity. Evaluate all options and work towards having multiple options to consider.
Thus, think of the present problem as an opportunity to course correct. Work hard and smart towards achieving them. Remain positive and learn from the past. Every successful person has had failures and they have gone on to garner greater success as they have learnt well from their failures. Keeping your focus as well as remaining determined will get us success. However, do know your strengths as well as weaknesses as knowing yourself well will enable you to get the best from yourself. Do reach out to your well wishers and always be prudent to have a good mentor and a coach.
(By Ronesh Puri, MD, Executive Access, a leading executive search firm)