Surviving Layoff in the 21st Century

Appetizer:
It was one year yesterday since I started my new job!  It went by fairly fast, if you ask me.  It was a major career change that I was somewhat forced to do which initially made it a little harder for me.  When I first started I felt overwhelmed because everything they did was different from what I had done in previous working environments.  I honestly didn’t think that I was going to make it BUT I’m happy to say that I’m still there, things are going exceptionally well, and I’m exceeding in all areas.  It took a little time though.  I basically had to grab a hold of  how they processed their work and adapt to new changes.  Change can sometimes be difficult but I’m a very fast learner so that’s always a plus!  Happy Work Anniversary to me!!!!!
Now…………..What some of you may or may not know is that I’ve worked in the insurance industry for 10 years (now banking) and in 2014 I was laid off due to the company outsourcing overseas. The company I was working for had been doing

layoffs for a few years but you never really expected to be the chosen candidate although you knew it was a possibility.  When you hear of rumors that a layoff may be happening soon or on a particular day, you just hope that you’re not one of the employee’s getting the dreaded email to meet in HR.  It had happened several times before so we all were aware of the routine. 

Main Course:

On this particular summer day, I was one of the chosen ones.  This time it was about 12 of us.  Countless others had left the company during the months and years prior.  Where we once had a 1st and 2nd shift now we only had a 1st shift.  There were empty desk throughout all of the three floors of the building.  Everyone knew what was going on.  It was definitely not a secret. 

When you’re the ONE, a ton of emotions run through your mind and you feel like everything you’ve ever known is now gone.  People are coming to your desk to see how you are doing or what your next moves will be.  I really had no clue.  It was frightening to say the least, because I was comfortable.  I knew what I was doing.  I worked from home two days a week.  I came and went as I pleased.  Everyone knew me and I knew everyone else.  I was on committee’s and task forces and overall I enjoyed my job.  But suddenly, I was unemployed. 

I felt betrayed by the company that I had given 10 years to.  It was like I had been immediately thrown to the wolves.  Except this pack of wolves had a new name which was title “unemployed.”  I had to join the other hundreds and thousands of people within my city who would be on the hunt for a J O B.
 
Let me be clear, there were good things that came out of being laid off.  I got the notice at the end of June, I can’t recall the exact day, but whatever day it was that was my last day.  However, the company still paid me until the end of July.  I was able to get a severance package.  Plus I got unemployment on top of that.  I had just had my 10 year anniversary a week before I was laid off (which was a blessing in itself especially when it came to the severance; the more years the better) and as an anniversary present from the company I got a Tiffany & Co. necklace.  I had vacation schedule for that July going to New Orleans to the Essence Festival and I was still able to go.  I didn’t work for 8 month!  Believe it or not, I had more money not working then I did when I was working.  But of course all good things do not last forever. 
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After a few weeks of all rest and no play -literally- It was time to start putting in application after application after application.  I will not lie and say it was all fun and games.  After a while of getting rejected you start to feel like you’re under qualified and over qualified for every hiring job you run across.  I had a college degree, ten years of working experience, ten years of solid work, and no job was looking my direction.  I had to even chop some of it up as racism because (1) I’m BLACK and (2) I’m a WOMAN.  This is when I saw racism towards me in the workplace.  It was evident, it was clear, it was sad.
There were times when I would leave an interview and literally cry in my car because the pay wasn’t what I was use to making.  There were times when I felt defeated.  I had interviews for the same exact job months a part.  I have had to give presentations on why I thought I should be hired for a job.  I’ve done so well on an interview to where they would immediately have me sit with current employee’s on the floor to shadow them and still did not get the job.
 
Things had changed from 10 years prior.  Applying for a job wasn’t an easy task.  Long gone were the days of riding around looking for a job worthy of applying for.  You had to spend hours and hours on the computer looking for a job.  You had to register on the site.  You had to take assessments. You had to play the waiting game.  There was no one to call to see what the status of your application was.  Eventually you may or may not hear back from them.  Then, IF you were a possible candidate you may have to do a phone interview before the actual interview.  It all depended on the employer and what they were requiring.  Has anyone else ever felt like applying for a job was a job?  I surely did.
It took me more than a few months to finally realize a few things:
 
 
  1. Once my application was submitted it had to go through various channels before ever getting into the hiring managers hands. 

    This is why it’s important to have KEY WORDS on your resume because a computer is doing the initial selections.  You may even have to tweak your resume to correspond to the job you are applying for.  Sometimes a generic resume just doesn’t cut it.

  2. There were hundreds of other people applying for the same job that I was. 

    I have been on interviews where the interviewer stressed that I was one of the 50 that were chosen that made it through to be interviewed.  (Let’s say 300 applications were received for one position).  When I submit my resume online, the computer will select so many applications from those submitted. (Let say out of the 300 they chose 50). Then from there another party may select so many from the recent selected group.  (Let say out of the 50 chosen, 20 are now selected).  Then out of those 20 the hiring manager may select 8 to interview. So now you’re up against the top 8.  It’s a process.

  3. Another thing to keep in mind is that once you have an interview….that doesn’t mean to stop applying for other jobs. 

    Until you get an offer email/letter and you accept it…continue to apply, apply, apply!

  4. Don’t be afraid of Temporary Jobs. 

    After my 8 months of being unemployed, I took a Temp job.  It was in the Insurance industry and I was doing Insurance quotes for affluent and premier customers.  Like rich people RICH!  I’ve seen the inside of celebrities homes and all the cars they have plus more!  This was suppose to had been a 3 month assignment but it ended up being 22 months.  I was even promoted, I guess you could say, while I was there.  When I left it was because I started the job I have now, a full time position with benefits. So take the temporary position if you have to.  It’s solid money and a lot of temp places pay more than full time employment places.

  5. Don’t be afraid to turn down jobs. 

    If it’s not what you want and especially if you’re working a solid temp job that has some stability within it, don’t be afraid to say no.  Do not be afraid to negotiate salary.

  6. Don’t feel pressured to become an entrepreneur.

    I heard a millions times I should become an entrepreneur during this time.  Entrepreneurship is fantastic, however, being an entrepreneur is NOT for everyone.  I know specifically, that it is not for me.  Don’t be pressured.

  7. Finally, I learned that if I didn’t get the job I wanted….there were plenty of others.  That this ONE job must not have been for me. 

    I had to remain positive and faithful to the process.  You have to water a plant in order for it to grow; therefore in order to get a job you must put in the work and be diligent.  The seed will eventually sprout!75889

Dessert:

Jobs no longer look at longevity, and how long you’ve held one position.  They now look at your experience and what you know.  With work and technology moving at a much faster pace, they want to be sure you can do the same.  To them, working the same job for 10 years limits you and puts you in a box.  Now resources state that you should switch jobs about every 3-4 years.  This puts you in a position to continuously learn new strategies, gain new experiences, and techniques. You’re adapting much quicker and learning to work with different people more frequently.  Resources also state that those who switch jobs every 3-4 years tend to be overachievers.  You’ll able to market and brand yourself better while also being able to perform at a higher learning curve.  

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