Guest blog from a client of mine who was laid off recently but stayed open-minded and found something wonderful!
Experience, exposure, expertise. These are some of the benefits in joining a large, well-known company. Budgets, regions and rewards tend to be bigger than, say, those of a smaller company. Of course, with a potential for big gains, comes big risk – like getting laid off. Mass layoffs tend to be just as common as rapid hiring.
Of course, I knew all of this going in.
Yet it didn’t stop me from joining a large company almost a decade ago. And I had a great run. Working with several business units and regions around the world, I expanded my portfolio, beefed up my resume and worked with some brilliant people. Then, like so often in the business world, there were talks of mergers, acquisitions and more. Several individuals whom I adored were laid off. I knew it would hit my department eventually. And then I heard those five little words: “Your job has been eliminated.”
So what did I do? What anyone who was just laid off would do. . . I went to a movie, drank multiple glasses of wine, wallowed in self-pity. . .
And then I suited up.
Putting my feelers out there, I canvassed my networks to see if anyone was hiring. Did anyone need a seasoned professional? What about pro-bono help? I volunteered at the local Junior Achievement –speaking to 5th graders, which was incredibly fulfilling. I met up with former co-workers for coffee. I balanced searching for a job with truly LIVING my life. I hiked and played local tourist, which I hadn’t done in years.
Instead of being humiliated, I was liberated.
And then an interesting thing happened. I was chatting with a CMO that I had worked with previously. We had had a great working relationship, and their team had heard about our layoffs.
“Hey! Have you ever considered consulting?” the CMO asked.
Consulting? Me? No. I’m not a consultant, I thought. I’m the nine-to-five-weekend-as-needed type. I’m motivated by a consistent paycheck, 401k, security of a full time job. . . or so I thought.
But I replied (and this is important): “Not really, but tell me more. . .”
“Tell me more” is a solid conversation starter. They say that everyone you meet can teach you something new. In this situation, we started a simple discussion and I got my questions answered. We agreed to a 30-day contract which evolved into a long term partnership. A year later I’ve got the work-life I’d dreamed of but didn’t know was possible. My hours are flexible, the pay is good and I’m fulfilled.
My advice? Sometimes getting laid off is the best thing that can happen to you. And when the next opportunity presents itself, simply say, ‘tell me more’ and see where it goes. Good luck!
Amy Wolfgang is a career coach who founded Wolfgang Career Coaching and co-founded Coaching 4 Good. She brings over 15 years of corporate and coaching experience to help organizations boost employee engagement while simultaneously helping her clients excel in their careers. She is a certified PCM (Professional Career Manager) and has a Master’s degree in Educational Psychology from The University of Texas at Austin.
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