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Career Survival Week 1/5: What To Do When You Lose Your Job

This post is the first of five in a series on this blog called "Career Survival Week." See the end of this post for links to the others.

Every day it seems a new company has layoffs and friends around me in my social network that were previously in totally secure jobs are now finding themselves looking for new work and even rethinking their careers. I've been in this situation before, living through two dotcom booms and busts – one in the US and one in Australia. I have been thinking about what I can do to help – and I decided that I'm going to devote my posts this week to "career survival." So this week I'm going to write a new post each day with some point of advice or tip for anyone who has recently be laid off, downsized, or otherwise needs to find a new and better job.

Today's post is about the first five things to do if you find yourself in a situation where you have lost your job. Though my advice is definitely influenced by the type of job that I work in, I hope this week to offer ideas that are broad enough that they could work for people in a variety of situations and industries and not just marketing professionals like myself.

  1. Give yourself a reason and accept it. No matter how confident you are, losing a job always causes you to question yourself. Generally the two reactions are to doubt yourself and your ability, or to blame your situation or your people at your old company. Neither is worth doing. The best thing you can do is find a believable reason why this happened and then actually believe it. It's the first step to moving on.
  2. Decide on two things to do. It's a cliche to tell you that you should try to discover what you want to do with your life now that you've lost your job. The better advice is to decide two things to do. The first is what you would do to bring in the money you'll need to support yourself or your family. The second is what you really want to do for a career. By separating the two, you can think more clearly about your future in the short and long term. That way, if you need to take a job for money that isn't perfect, you can keep your eye on preparing for the better job at the same time.
  3. Map your social graph. Chances are, your next opportunity will come from somewhere or someone you already know – so the most important thing you can do at this point is to create a "graph" of your social imprint online. What sites do you belong to? Where do you have a concentration of your friends or previous work colleagues? What sites are you not a part of that you may want to join? Whether you consider yourself "technical" or not is besides the point. If you're going to get another job, you're going to need to network and unless you happen to have a social calendar filled with perfect networking opportunities every evening, you'll need the Internet.
  4. Identify your influencers. Within your social graph will be people who are in a position to have a disproportionate effect on your getting a new job. Contrary to what you may think, these are not necessary the people with the highest titles or the most fame. Often the person hiring or who knows the person hiring is the one working at a mid level. So spend time with the sites that you belong to and start to make connections. Not to "sell" yourself to college friends you haven't spoken to in years, but to understand who you really need to convince and build a plan for them and others like them.
  5. Get some face time. Now that you have identified your influencers, see if there are any common places where they will be. Don't underestimate the value of having some real face time to remind them who you are, and to show them that you're not retreating into your home office in the basement and sending out LinkedIn messages in your pajamas. Face time sends a message that you're there and ready – and has the side benefit of giving you the chance to expand your network to meet more people.

Career Survival Week On Influential Marketing Blog (links to every post below):
What To Do When You Lose Your Job
| Using Social Media To Keep Your Job | Job Seeking 2.0 | How To Rock An Interview
  |  Find Your Inner Entrepreneur

10 thoughts on “Career Survival Week 1/5: What To Do When You Lose Your Job”

  1. Eagerly waiting to see your upcoming posts. Although I decided to forego a corporate life to pursue the life of an artist, but then you never know when situation arise that forces me to get back into the rat-race. And I’ve been laid-off enough times so I feel for those who are recently facing that situation.

    BTW, I’m really learning a lot from your blog posts and find that they are most useful in marketing my art business. THANKS!

  2. Do you think it is possible?

    This guy Anthony claims to have a formula
    to turn…

    $1000 into $1 million in roughly 5 years.
    Or $2000 into $1.7 million in just 1.9 years!

    I’m not sure…

    But this guy shows you a video where
    he is actually doing it.

    And he does it so effortlessly and explains
    it all, as he goes along.

    Watch this video and decide yourself…

    This type of quick cash injection…

    Should be ILLEGAL!

  3. You need to think positive – if you lose your job you have time and could spend it on projects you always wanted to do but couldn’t because you had a job.

    This is the time to read up on internet marketing and ways how to earn a living online, to create your own business.

    It can be an opportunity. Maybe build this webpage you always wanted to build but never had time to do it.

    Seo and Online Marketing

  4. Point 3 is a good one and something which I should have paid more attention to befiore I was made redundant in January. One thing I would say is that whatever plans you have when you first find yourself out of work, they will undoubtably change over the coming weeks and months as you take on more advice and develop new ideas.

  5. Good solid advice, particularly the realistic point about deciding 2 things – what you are going to do for money in the here and now, and what you want to do with your career from here. I’d add one more tip – eliminate the words “I was made redundant” from your vocabulary. It was the position that was made redundant – not you. In today’s climate it’s usually nothing to do with the candidate and all about the market. Removing those words from your vocabulary will help to reinforce this to you and others.

  6. I love your article, as someone who has lost their job twice in the last year- being the new girl makes you the first one to get cut. I love all your advice.
    I am working part time and taking the time to focus on me and what I want for myself- I plan on starting my own business, it will take time – but I know that it was I will really enjoy.
    In the mean time I came across a fantastic business opportunity in marketing that I am really excited about and know I can make the funds I need to start my own business. I would love to share it with you all, because I believe it really works, please email me and we’ll work together and help each other.
    Looking forward to hearing from you,


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