Which event caused a complete behavioural change in your life?
Being Laid Off
1. First Time
The first time I was laid off, I got dumped by my long-time girlfriend on the same day. Within 3 weeks I had a stage 0 malignant melanoma diagnosis. That third thing put the other disasters into perspective. I got it (and a good chunk of lymph nodes in my leg) removed, and did some solo hiking in Spain to clear my head. I can get anxious or depressed as much as the next person, but somehow, knowing I survived all that has made me less fearful about the kinds of things life throws at me.
2. Second Time
I thought I was going to take it in stride - it was only a job, after all, I had been through it before. I didn't realize how depressed and angry I was - there's definitely a feeling of rejection, and even if you say "it's only a job", you have to appreciate that your job and career take up a lot of time in your life, and no matter how diverse your interests, are still fundamental components of your identity.
3. Third Time
Blindsided again. I did see a pattern, however - every time it happened, I was ironically working harder than ever before, performing the work of 1.5-2 people. So now, I know not to ever overdo it at work - it's a bad sign for the health of the company, and the extra effort won't really save you or result in a reward. Consistent quality of work is better than frenzied activity. I also did a better job acknowledging my feelings while making the best of the new time I had on my hands - my wife was caring for her ailing father, and I took over with the kids.
4. Tip To Land On Your Feet #1
LinkedIn. Add contacts aggressively - it really is who you know, not what you know when it comes to job searching. If I apply for a job online, it's always a long shot, because the submission systems are really bad, but if I know someone at the company, asking them to make sure the resume gets on the right desk can make all the difference.
5. Tip To Land On Your Feet #2
Keep the resume up to date. Also have it be in sync with your LinkedIn profile, which has basically become the online version of a resume (CV) anyway.
6. Tip To Land On Your Feet #3
Talk to an employment lawyer. I can't say I got anything out of doing so the last time, but it's worth knowing what your former employer is trying to get away with, versus what the local law says their obligations are. When there is a big difference between these two, it may be a good idea to take action.
7. Tip To Land On Your Feet #4
Take inventory. What did you like about your job? What did you hate? You've had a change forced on you, but make sure that your next step is an improvement to your situation. Also, in retrospect could you have seen the lay-off coming? If you know the warning signs, you might have your next opportunity ready before you need it - having a new job while still riding out your severance is a sweet deal.