getting fired en-US The Upside of Mass Layoffs <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-upside-of-mass-layoffs" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="Man with his belongings leaving a job" title="Man with his belongings leaving a job" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="152" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Getting fired sucks; there&rsquo;s no getting around that. But when you&rsquo;re fired along with a bunch of other people at once, it&rsquo;s a different story.</p> <p>In corporate speak, they&rsquo;re called reorganizations. We call them bloodbaths.</p> <p>Typically there are some high-level things in play when a mass layoff goes down. From a bad economy to a new CEO with a new direction, it doesn&rsquo;t always mean you&rsquo;ve done a bad job or done anything wrong. (See also: <a href="">You're Fired! 20 Signs That a Pink Slip Is Coming</a>)</p> <p>This makes it easier to find something positive out of the whole fiasco. Here are four positives to a mass layoff/bloodbath/reorganization.</p> <h3>An Expanded Network</h3> <p>A mass layoff is like poking an anthill with a stick: All those ants fleeing the hill are going to end up somewhere, and it&rsquo;s up to you to keep in touch with all those people who are being forced to go.</p> <p>You&rsquo;ve been working with these people every day for years, and they know you better than you think. Guess what&rsquo;s going to happen: They&rsquo;re all going to get jobs doing something else at some other company (or working for themselves). In a matter of months (more or less), your network is going to double or possibly triple, and you&rsquo;ll have that common ground of having gone through the &ldquo;reorganization&rdquo; together.</p> <p>Companies you didn&rsquo;t even know existed will now be &ldquo;infiltrated&rdquo; with the people that know you and your work the best.</p> <p>This is huge. For example:</p> <ul> <li>The designer you worked with to crank out that impossible project over the weekend that one time? He&rsquo;s now a senior designer over at company X.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>The project manager who took you under his wing because he saw some potential is now working at a tech startup that is growing fast.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>The copywriter that always came by to ask for you to proofread his copy is at an ad agency across town that needs freelancers&hellip;didn&rsquo;t you always want to work at an ad agency?</li> </ul> <p>A strong network is crucial to your long-term career prospects, and a mass layoff means the number of companies that know about you is going to grow fast.</p> <h3>A Fresh Start</h3> <p>When a friend of mine got fired a few years ago, I walked up to him and tried to find the right combination of words to comfort and console.</p> <p>Instead, he looked relieved: &ldquo;I can finally leave!&rdquo;</p> <p>It struck a chord with those of us that weren&rsquo;t fired, and for the rest of the day we wondered who the lucky ones really were.</p> <p>Getting fired is like getting a kick in the pants to go out and do what you really want to do.<strong> </strong>We all tend to complain about our jobs, but we rarely do anything about it.&nbsp;Once you get fired, you have no choice: It&rsquo;s time to get your ass in gear.</p> <p>My friend felt liberated because his job had become more and more tedious and restrictive. While he wanted to free himself from it, it&rsquo;s hard to leave a full-time job that pays the bills, especially when the economy sucks.</p> <p>Getting fired gave him a fresh start. He had the time to take a closer look at his life and his career and ask himself that eternal question: What do I <i>really </i>want to do with my life?</p> <p>Make sure you take advantage of this opportunity and don&rsquo;t waste it&hellip;it doesn&rsquo;t come around often (hopefully).</p> <h3>A Lesson in Skills</h3> <p>Who survived the bloodbath? Don&rsquo;t try to write everyone off as a brown-noser that simply &ldquo;knew the right people.&rdquo; Take an honest look at the people that were left behind.</p> <p>Sometimes it&rsquo;ll be as simple as &ldquo;all the engineers were kept&rdquo; or &ldquo;marketing wasn&rsquo;t impacted at all,&quot; which is still useful &mdash; maybe you should pick up some skills in fields that are widely considered untouchable.</p> <p>Other times it will be more nuanced. If the guy who always contributed new ideas without being asked for them was kept on, that&rsquo;s something to take into your next job.&nbsp;What about the person who started as a <a href="">terrible presenter but worked hard to get better</a>? Was that improvement valued enough that they kept him on?</p> <p>Pay close attention, and you should be able to find some common details that stick out, details that can help when you&rsquo;ve found a job you love and want to survive the next reorganization.</p> <h3>A Chance to Test Your Mettle</h3> <p>There is a great book out there called <a href="" target="_blank"><em>A Man&rsquo;s Search for Meaning</em></a>&nbsp;by Viktor Frankl. In it he describes his experiences in concentration camps during World War II.</p> <p>The interesting thing about Frankl is that<strong> </strong>he viewed these terrible conditions as an opportunity to see what he was made of.</p> <p>Think about that for a second: A man that was in one of the most horrible places and times in the history of the world thought to himself, &ldquo;Wow, how many people get to experience something this awful? It&rsquo;s a great chance to see what I&rsquo;m capable of in how I react to this.&rdquo;</p> <p>If Frankl can turn being in a concentration camp into something positive, we should have no problem taking a positive out of getting fired from a job.</p> <p>You have no job, and your previous employer just told you they don&rsquo;t want you anymore: What are you going to do about it?</p> <ul> <li>Are you going to pity yourself and complain that it&rsquo;s their loss?</li> <li>Are you going to blame your old boss because he was &ldquo;a jerk?&rdquo;</li> <li>Are you going to cop out and say that you were about to quit anyway?</li> </ul> <p>How about being honest with yourself and taking the time to learn a thing or two about yourself? Ask:</p> <ul> <li>What can I change to make myself a more worthwhile employee?</li> <li>Who can I talk to about giving me an honest assessment about my work?</li> <li>What am I going to do differently in the future?</li> </ul> <p>It&rsquo;s all about learning and growing. If you just got fired and are facing a terrible economy, a monthly mortgage payment, and <a href="">high-interest credit-card debt</a>, what are you going to do about it?</p> <p>This is a rare chance to test yourself and see what you&rsquo;re made of.</p> <p>What you find may surprise you.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="">Carlos Portocarrero</a> of <a href="">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">7 Things You Should Never Do on LinkedIn</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">Don&#039;t Go to College to Learn</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">15 Career Advice Sites You Should Know About</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">15 Simple Networking Tricks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">Networking Basics for Regular People</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career Building getting fired layoffs networking Fri, 18 Feb 2011 12:36:13 +0000 Carlos Portocarrero 490913 at When Your Employer Dumps You <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-emotional-turmoil-of-unemployment" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="Man dealing with bad news" title="Man dealing with bad news" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In the summer of 2009, I was laid off from the worst job ever. My boss simply took me aside and let me know that the company had decided to let go of 18 people, and that I was one of them. Also, as a helpful side note, he let me know that he had never liked me, been consistently disappointed in my work, and had felt that the job was never a good fit.</p> <p>He was right, the job and I were a terrible fit. From day one, it was clear that the company should never have hired me.</p> <p>I'm not exaggerating when I say that this was the worst job I could imagine. My supervisors were cranky and irrational. Products were unreliable and had hundreds of versions. Hard work and good results were not rewarded, but brown-nosing certainly was. Obvious favoritism was rampant, with some employees barely working at all from remote locations, and others slaving away for hours in a large room with spotty air conditioning. Contractors were hired and fired seemingly at random, and the head honcho &mdash; well, he was a little odd, let&rsquo;s just leave it at that. (See also: <a href="">How to Survive (and Thrive!) in a Job You Hate)</a></p> <p>I was certainly not at my best at this job. Truth be told, I stopped trying after a while.</p> <p>Still, being laid off really felt like a punch to the solar plexus.</p> <h3>You Can't Fire Me Because I Quit!</h3> <p>I had never been let go of before. I always leave a job first. Sometimes I get bored, sometimes things aren&rsquo;t working out, sometimes a contract is winding down or I can see that a company is struggling financially, and I put in my two weeks&rsquo; notice without any fuss.</p> <p>And just like my career, in the world of dating, I'm always the one who ends a romantic relationship. I don't like to draw out failing romantic entanglements. When I see a relationship faltering, I usually call it like it is, severe the ties, and move on. This isn't to say that I'm not friendly with exes &mdash; I usually am. It's just that I usually initiate the process of breaking up when I realize that things are not what they should be.</p> <p>Usually, honesty is the best policy. But then again, I&rsquo;m usually the one who gets to be honest first.</p> <p>Basically, my company dumped me. They broke up with me before I had a chance to break up with them, and it sucked. It was completely humiliating, made worse by the fact that the job had been so terrible. It was like dating a really awful, smelly guy and being publically dumped by him.</p> <p>And once I was dumped, I behaved... well, pretty much the way I did the last time I was dumped, which was in college.</p> <h3>In a Divorce, One Side Gets the Friends</h3> <p>There were people at the company that I considered to be good friends &mdash; people I spent time with outside of the office, people who were friends with me on Facebook, people that I had traveled to visit, people I chatted with regularly. I didn't hear a peep from anyone once I was laid off. It was like I was dead.</p> <p>When not a single coworker emailed or called to check on me after I was laid off, I unfriended all of them on Facebook. I fantasized about flattening the old boss's tires or egging the office windows. Unfortunately (or fortunately), my old office was on the fourth floor, and I can't throw anything that high. I stalked the company obsessively on LinkedIn, trying to find out who was hired to replace me, wondering <em>what she had that I didn't</em>. I snottily commented to friends that the new writer was, in fact, TOO GOOD for the company, and that she would surely see the error of her ways and soon depart for greener pastures. All of this while I was starting a new job, with new coworkers, at a company that I actually adore.</p> <p>The thing is, a job is very much like a romantic relationship. There are complex emotional ties to everything that you do, and you have to work hard to maintain open, honest communication with your coworkers, supervisors, and charges. If you work eight hours a day like I do in an office, you spend more time with your coworkers than you do with your significant other. And just like romantic relationships, your relationship with your job can be abusive and horrible, hard to extract yourself from, and mentally and emotionally draining.</p> <h3>Personal Identity</h3> <p>It&rsquo;s also very easy to define ourselves by our work. I spend a third of my waking hours during the week at the office, so of course my job is a big part of me. Some people don't see their careers as an integral part of their person, but I do, and that puts me in a vulnerable position when I am out of work.</p> <p>Romantic relationships can be similar. When you date someone for a long time, you come to see yourself as a part of a unit, as a couple, and your own identity can get swallowed up. Friends might make up cute, &ldquo;Bennifer&rdquo;-style monikers to refer to you. If that relationship ends, you find yourself suddenly alone, it might feel like half of your being has disappeared.</p> <h3>The Grieving Process</h3> <p>When a romantic relationship comes to an unexpected and sudden end, we usually allow ourselves a certain amount of grieving. Complaining to friends, listening to sad or angry music, burning pictures, and moping are all a tolerated part of the mourning process.</p> <p>But we don't allow ourselves the same kind of grieving process when we are laid off or fired, even though the pain of separation might be just as acute. The shock can be nearly overwhelming, and the time it can take to feel normal again might be longer than you'd expect. It took me almost a year to feel confident and whole after being laid off, and I still can't bring myself to fill my workspace with personal objects, just in case I am once again given a cardboard box and an hour to clear out.</p> <p>However, just like being dumped by a complete loser, being dismissed from a terrible job was one of the best things that ever happened to me. I immediately found a job with amazing supervisors and a fulfilling role at a great company. I learned a great deal about work relationships and how to keep a healthy distance from coworkers while still enjoying friendship with the people I work with.</p> <p>What got me through it? Here are a few tips for getting over being dumped by an employer.</p> <h3>Things to Deal With Right Away</h3> <ul> <li>Go ahead and admit that your feelings are hurt. You don't have to tell the world, but admit to yourself that it stings.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Don't try to figure out what you could have done differently, unless you are doing so as a part of an interview question for your next job. If you take your mistakes from the last job and learn from them, great. If you are replaying that badly received presentation to the Chicago group over and over in your head, you're probably not getting anywhere. You will need to move on.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Acknowledge that the situation feels totally unfair. After all, they didn't fire that doofus Jeb in Accounting, and he sleeps at his desk for hours every day. Layoffs are not always about the most valuable employees being kept and the complete idiots being dropped; layoffs are about saving money, about petty politics, and about your vindictive boss replacing you with his niece.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>You can allow yourself to wallow in ice cream and late-night TV for 48 hours, max.</li> </ul> <h3>Things to Not Waste Your Time On</h3> <ul> <li>Assigning blame; it doesn't matter that it was Sue's fault for not getting those reports to you on time. The relationship is over, and it can&rsquo;t be changed.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>There are a hundred reasons why former coworkers aren't calling to commiserate. Don't bother trying to find out why Mary Beth never phoned. Wait a few months, unfriend people from Facebook if you have to, and spend time on the people who matter to you.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Don't spend hours discussing your misery with friends and family. You can only talk about it with them so much before they tune you out.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Keep written rants to yourself. There are lots of websites out there now that allow you to anonymously complain about how badly you were treated by a former employer. While it can be tempting to jump on the &quot;This company was so BAD&quot; bandwagon, it's really easy to accidentally identify yourself through that forum. If you want to compose angry poetry about your stupid former boss and how bad he looked with that mustache, do it by hand, in pen, and feel free to burn it when you're ready to get over the pain.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>In the same vein, don't post &quot;I HATE COMPANY XYZ, INC. THEY SUXXORS&quot; all over Facebook or LinkedIn &mdash; you think new employers won't be trying to check out your online profiles? They will. Public dignity with the split is the key here. When you let people know that you are looking for work, it's OK to admit that you are bummed, but keep the crying to yourself and try to come across as upbeat as possible.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Stay away from daytime television.</li> </ul> <h3>Ways to Cope</h3> <ul> <li>Find the music that helps you express your rage and pain and listen to it at home or while out on a jog. For me, Rancid was really helpful.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Instead of a personal makeover, consider a resume makeover. Hey, if you're willing to spend a couple hundred bucks on a new suit or highlights, it can help to get a professional resume writer to give your resume a facelift of sorts.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Remember that the longer you allow yourself to be controlled by your pain, the more power you are giving to your former employer. The best revenge is success, but it probably won't happen immediately.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>There are two things you can do at no cost to yourself that will help you feel better: Read as much as you can get your hands on (free books and magazines at the library) and <a href="">exercise</a> (even if you just walk around your city for hours, with no particular destination in mind). Read and exercise, read and exercise, and you will find yourself smarter and fitter and all around happier.</li> </ul> <p><em>How did you cope emotionally with being laid off? Did you feel like your heart had been stomped on?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="">Andrea Karim</a> of <a href="">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">Should I Take a Job That Pays Less Than Unemployment?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">The Upside of Mass Layoffs</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">8 Career Mistakes to Stop Making by 30</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">5 Things Never to Bring Up in a Job Interview</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">6 Bad Habits That Are Ruining Your Career</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career Building boss sucks getting fired lost job terrible jobs unemployment work and relationships Fri, 11 Jun 2010 13:00:05 +0000 Andrea Karim 67260 at