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Original article published on 10/4/2019. Due to the Covid-19/Coronavirus pandemic, it has been tailored and revamped to help those see that your opportunity awaits. During these uncertain times, this information is worth reading for anyone who has suffered job loss whether it is being laid off, let go, severed or furloughed. We are all working through this together. Now is the perfect time to reevaluate your passion when it comes to work. Many work at a job they are not happy in. Consider this quarantine and social distancing time to re-prioritize your wants and needs when it comes to work. This is your opportunity for a positive change in your life!
We all would like to think that everything happens for a reason. So, when it comes to being severed, laid off, let go or furloughed from your job, most people are devastated, negative, and miserable. Some are even caught off-guard. I am here to tell you to think positive and that it will be OK!
During these times, I have not been affected – lucky that I wasn’t working any contracts. However, in the past, it has happened to me twice! Let me tell you what happened to me and what I did to turn it to a positive experience!
Termination: Laid Off, Let Go, Severed
the act of terminating the fact of being terminated the place or part where anything terminates; bound or limit an end or extremity; close or conclusion an issue or result an ending of employment with a specific employer–www.dictionary.com
Unless there are unforeseen circumstances like the current crisis we are going through, there are several reasons for a company to let employees go: Job Elimination, Right-Sizing, Business Moving/Closing, etc. Sometimes they let go based on performance and/or forced retirement. This is in no way a positive, however, this is still the spot where your opportunity comes in.
This is your opportunity!
It is not the end of the world! It is time to reflect on your job history and ask yourself the following questions:
- Were you happy with what you were doing?
- Did you enjoy your position and everything that came with it?
- How was the company culture, amazing?
- Was your work and personal life balanced?
If you answered ‘no’ to most if not all of these questions – this is your opportunity to make a change! Let me explain how I did not ask myself these questions after the first time I was laid off.
First Time Laid Off/Let Go
I was an HR Generalist for a company that had several locations in remote areas. Each location was anywhere from 45-90 minutes one-way from home. I enjoyed the drive at times because it gave me time to relax and ponder life but, in the winter, it wasn’t fun. Being in human resources, I often get feelings that there are changes on the way – it is eerie sometimes, but my instinct has proven to be on par – most of the time.
An HR generalist left the organization and the company decided not to replace them. Instead, I was asked to report to that location a couple of times a week to ‘help out’. Actually, I had no choice. However, seeing that I love to train and travel to different locations to learn the culture, employees, etc., it as all good! Those opportunities prepare me in my HR roles to get those different experiences.
During the same time, I was preparing to go on medical leave for a surgery that was put off for a couple of months. Prior to going on leave, I was also asked to train a recruiter on the generalist-type responsibilities. This seemed normal, but I had a different feeling.
Since they weren’t replacing the generalist that left and wanted me to train someone (who only did recruitment) to do my job, where did that leave me? I had an inkling something was going to happen, was I about to get laid off? Concerned about my job when I returned from leave (FMLA-I was protected), I had a conversation with my boss who was adamant I had nothing to worry about. It still didn’t feel right. During my recovery, I was looking at job openings and started to apply-just in case. It is best to be prepared when feeling uneasy.
Three months went by and I was ready to return to work. When asked to come to the corporate office for an HR meeting with the entire team, I was happy that I would come back being informed! Little did I know; this was NOT an HR Team meeting.
When I Returned to Work…
I walked into the lobby and was led to a conference room nearby (used for interviews and terminations as to not disrupt the workforce in the back). That was it – a box of my personal belongings, my manager, and the HR Director.
Although I was semi-prepared, I was still dumbfounded, pissed off, angry, and frustrated. Yeah me! On my way home…I called my recruiter friend. She had left about a month prior and I had to give her the news I was laid off. With a mix of tears and anger, I asked her if there were any jobs available in HR that she was aware of. Thank goodness I had already been interviewing while I was out as my instincts were right.
I was lucky and within 2 weeks I had 2 job offers and had to choose between them. I was working a week later. But was I happy?
Second Time Laid Off/Let Go
Several jobs later, I interviewed at a company that mentioned upfront there was a possibility it would be acquired and/or merged with another. It had been talked about for the past couple of years, but it had not yet happened. I was excited about this because even though I had been at companies that had been acquired before I was hired, this would be different because I would be part of it!
Only weeks after I accepted the job, it was announced – the company I worked for was separating from their parent company along with another to form a brand-new one! This was going to be a huge transition and learning experience-super excited!
As with any merger and acquisition, change is inevitable and, in this company, it was often. While there, departments underwent many different reorganizations. Territories kept changing, leaders and employees kept moving – some on to bigger and better things.
It was my time…
After three and a half years, it was my time and I had a feeling about this one too! Prior to our HR Director retiring six months earlier, I asked what was going to happen to the territory. Since he was on the way out, he didn’t really say anything about it except that he was going to be replaced and didn’t foresee any changes. That just didn’t make sense to me with everything else going on. Was I about to be laid off again? I had a feeling.
Yet Another Reorganization
The new HR Director came to visit me and my territories. I always ask questions, and in this case, I did just that – what is going to happen with my role, and will things be changing? I was assured there were no plans to reorganize. That was about 6 months before the conversation that I had been waiting for, happened.
And just like that, I was asked to move to another state – this was a territory I was already working with and it was a very challenging environment. I wasn’t going to move to a place I had no connections. My husband worked in the state I was already in and as a government employee, you don’t just leave when you are so close to a fabulous retirement. I was laid off and spent that summer re-focusing on my career, life goals and asking myself some heavy questions.
- Q: Why do I keep getting these jobs that have a
heavy focus on Employee Relations?
- A: Because I was very good at that
- Q: How do I keep getting roles at companies
going through transitions that ultimately affect me?
- A: Luck?
- Q: Am I ever going to find a job that I love and
a company with an awesome culture?
- A: Maybe?
Positive Change #1
I shifted my focus to what I love to do and what type of company I want to work for, with, etc. I needed to job hunt differently. When looking for a job, my focus and interest were geared towards 3 factors:
The job description was number one for me because if most of the responsibilities, education, and experience requirements were in my wheelhouse, I would apply.
After working with a local company on how to change your Career Mindset and taking advantage of a career coach, my focus on work changed. Company culture is very important. The better the culture, the fewer employee relations issues – too many of those makes for a miserable me. I outline how HR life changed my personal life in a 3-part series: Positively, Negatively, The Result.
My Focus Shifted
I started to focus on what I liked in human resources – this can be different based on the companies you worked for and your experiences. However, I have always enjoyed software transitions, mergers, and acquisitions, and swooping in to help HR when there is an issue or problem, or just need advice/expertise.
Several months went by and I had my first opportunity as a temporary HR Manager/Director and that turned into a key player in the pre-work and post-work of an acquisition – that was my sweet spot and I loved working in those roles – HR Pro to Go – that was my new focus.
Positive Change #2
Changes bring thoughts. I started to write them down – work, personal, stories, etc. One day while perusing social media, I came across a FREE course that caught my attention: Start a Blogging Business – FREE 5-day Crash Course. I was interested of course…because it was FREE!
It has been almost 2 years since I took that course. I have learned and made great strides on monetizing it. Am I there yet? Well, when I started working as a consultant almost full time, my blog suffered. However, I needed to reorganize and refocus. I wouldn’t change anything and encourage anyone who likes to write, tell stories, make recipes, etc. to check out blogging – it is FREE, and it can give you some information that can help in your future endeavors. You might actually be able to make a career out of it and not have to work for anyone but yourself!
Positive Change #3
During previous job searches and well before I was laid off for the 2nd time, I joined a job board that is geared towards work-life balance/flexible work environments. When I first subscribed, it was because work was stressful and if there was more of an opportunity to work from home, I think I would take it if the time was right. When I started my blog, I thought if I was going to do this gig full time, then I needed to be aware of flexible job opportunities
About six months after I was let go, I was contacted about an opportunity through flexjobs.com. The business that reached out focuses on employee job relocation both domestic and international for companies. They were looking for area experts with human resources experience to settle in employees new to the area with a variety of services. As a consultant/independent contractor, you choose which programs you want to work depending on your schedule and there was no minimum or set hours. Truly flexible! I am still a consultant today almost 2 years later!
Everything Happens for a Reason
I believe that everything happens for a reason even though I lost my job twice! It has been almost 3 years since I worked full-time for a company as an employee. Many of my friends joke about my ‘retirement’. That is not what it is!
It is about truly enjoying what you do and working at something different that brings joy. I have been lucky to work from home almost every day – when I am blogging of course. In addition, I am helping bring new people to the area often as I work with them to get settled in.
Many ask, are you making the same salary that you were working full time? I can honestly answer that as ‘no’. When part-time consulting and blogging, I am comfortable. Blogging is a work in progress and takes time to build and grow. However, I believe that it isn’t always about money. It is about truly enjoying what you do and working differently. I have a very flexible schedule and chose the programs I want to work. I also can work from anywhere when I am writing, posting, and sharing content.
Being laid off, let go, severed has afforded me an opportunity to explore many other options and actually take advantage! My schedule is open and I have been able to take advantage of every appointment, social gathering, running event, meeting, etc. That kind of flexibility is something that will always remain important to me….and I am very happy with my current work-life balance.
During this crisis, I am the lucky one to be able to continue working from home. I didn’t have to adjust to working from home because it was already the case. The final two things I’d like to share that are important to re-think at this time.
- If you have been laid off, severed, let go, or furloughed, think of it as a positive opportunity and ask your self what would be your ideal situation? More than likely you will find this situation may (in time) bring you more happiness that you ever though it would!
- If you are adjusting to your new work-at-home situation, do you like it? Is this something that you would like to continue after everyone goes back to work? This may also be your opportunity to re-evaluate your happiness when it comes to work!
So during this crisis, please remain calm, positive, and know that things happen for a reason. Your opportunity awaits…take it!
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All the best… *judean*