By Angela Copeland
I hate to admit this. I have seen more people let go this holiday season than in years past. It’s a sad and stressful situation. As employers approach the end of the year, they reevaluated their priorities and made business decisions to reorganize. The shift in structure left many people without a job.
If this has happens to you, please know you’re not alone. Honestly, this trend disappoints me quite a bit. The holidays can be an especially difficult and uncertain time to be without a job. Expenses go up with travel and gifts. And, let’s face it. Job seeking over the holidays can be slow and discouraging, even in a good situation.
The first lesson is this. When it comes to your career, think of yourself as your own small business. Be honest. Have integrity. And, don’t forget – make choices that put you first. Very often, we make sacrifices for our company that we later regret. We stay too long, or we allow ourselves to slowly become outdated – for the sake of the team. Do what’s right, but don’t forget that the company will do what they need to do to survive – whether it impacts your job or not. With that in mind, you must also do what’s right for you.
Second, don’t wait to start searching. I know that it’s emotionally exhausting and you may want to take a break. But, when you’re first laid off can be the perfect time to reach out to others for help. A few years ago, my hometown in Oklahoma was hit by a massive tornado. Amazingly, people were extremely interested to help in the weeks right after it happened – giving money, time, and other helpful donations. A few months later, my hometown was still picking up the pieces from this devastation. But, naturally, most people had moved on to the next tragic news story. In other words, folks are more likely to help very soon after any difficult incident. If you can, push yourself to start quickly.
The holidays are a time when you will have a chance to see friends and colleagues at annual parties. It can be a time of renewal and reconnection. Take advantage of these free events. But, before attending, prepare yourself. You may be surprised at how many direct and sometimes inappropriate questions you may be asked about your former employer. Practice what you will say if someone asks why you were let go. Be brief, be concise, and do your best not to knock your former employer.
Beginning your job search now will leave you prepared to start strong in January. Update your LinkedIn profile, revise your resume, and have a draft cover letter ready to go. Be prepared to react quickly when someone lends you a hand.
I hope you don’t experience this type of loss during this season. But, if you do, know that there are many people who will step in to help. Be ready, so you can take full advantage.
Angela Copeland is a Career Coach and Founder of Copeland Coaching and can be reached at CopelandCoaching.com or on Twitter at @CopelandCoach.