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Reevaluating when you've been laid-off



With the national economy and world economy stretched to the
breaking point, some people are facing layoffs in record numbers. This means that individuals and families are being forced to reevaluate their priorities. If you are a recently laid off
employee, it may not feel like a layoff is your choice, but it
certainly is an opportunity to reevaluate your life direction.
Once you get past the shock, fear and anger of a layoff, you can
begin to think through what you are going to do next.

But getting past the shock, fear and anger is not easy.  Your
safety is being challenged, as are your illusions that you are
in control of your destiny.  The first step in dealing with the
crisis of a layoff is to get busy.  Engage in activities that you
do have control over and mastery of.  If you don't have a job
create one for yourself.  There are always long neglected house
projects that you can get into. Perhaps this is the time to spend
more time with the kids such as extra help with homework or
coaching them on a sport or musical skill.  If you have been
lagging behind in your community service, roll up your sleeves
and make yourself available to your favorite charity.  This is
also a time to catch up on much needed time to yourself.  Catch
up on your reading, sewing, crafts and hobbies. Teach yourself
to play the piano.  Build a Zen garden.  In other words use your
creativity to prove to yourself that you do have value.

It is not best to search for a new job while in the emotional
throes of shock, fear and anger.  You will come across in job
interviews as neurotic.   Better to give yourself a chance to
cool down and come to terms with this life change. The idea of
getting busy with projects is to prove to yourself that you do
have value. The layoff is an economic fact, not a demonstration
of your value as a worker or a human being.  Rarely are people
laid-off during these times because they are incompetent.  Hard
working, competent employees are hard to find, train and keep.
Just ask any employer. So the layoff is a result of economic
hardship or perhaps your employer's miscalculation, but it is
unlikely that it is a result of your innate value.  So give
yourself a couple of weeks to a month to come to grips with this
change in your life.

Once the sting of being rejected wears off, you can get down to
the serious work of re-evaluating your priorities and finding
the job that best uses your talents.  Even if you took a
voluntary layoff, you need time to adjust to the change in your
life.  Maybe you don't feel as rejected as the surprise layoff,
but you are still out of a job.  If you jump into a new job too
quickly you may find that you wish you would get laid off again.
Use this time to ask yourself some important questions about
where you want to go next in your life.  Here are some sample
questions to get you going:

1. When you were a kid what did you want to be when you grew up? 
Could you still pursue this goal realistically?

2. What aspect of your childhood dream could you pursue?
If it's not realistic financially or geographically could you
still pursue some of it on a volunteer basis to give you a
sense of following your destiny?

3. What have people always told you, you were good at?
How could this be fashioned into a new career?

4. If you really loved the job you lost, where else could you work that has a similar position? 
Don't be too quick to move geographically. There may actually be another employer who is hiring.

One mistake that recently laid-off people make is to hide away
from others.  This isn't the time to do that. In fact this is the time to ask others for help. Tell them what you are looking for.  Ask them for feedback about your goals.  Ask them to tell you what your strengths are.  Always ask them for names of people
who might be in a position to help you. When you reach out to
others like this you are sending the message that you are of value and expect to be appreciated and hired.  An added bonus is that people like to help.  Helping you makes others feels as if they are doing their part. It's nice to feel needed, especially by a competent individual has courage enough to ask for advice.

You may decide that you would benefit from professional
assistance with your career planning.  There are mental health
professionals that specialize in career goals.  There are also
career coaches available to assist you with a plan.


Kathy J. Marshack, Ph.D., is a licensed psychologist with over
twenty-five years of experience as a marriage & family therapist. Visit her website -, for more of her practical self-help advice. Sign up for her free ezine
for the latest self-help information and special discounts on
wellness products at


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