Between Jobs? How to Make the Most of Your Time

Layoffs have been in the news lately, and it’s clear that many impacted people were caught by surprise. The takeaway: No job is ever entirely secure, and even the most established company or organization can suffer financial hardship. Being “in-between” jobs can bring up many feelings, from anger to uncertainty, to discombobulation. This article provides ideas for navigating this time, keeping negativity at bay, and rebooting. 

Take a Breath and a Moment to Regain Your Footing 

Give yourself a moment if losing your job was a punch you didn’t see coming. Work plays a significant part in our lives; in a layoff situation, the loss of a job, the security it provides, the framework of people, and how we move through the day are suddenly and irrevocably changed. Grief is natural.  

 Holly Ojalvo, who wrote this article published in the New York Times, says it can be particularly hard for people who suffer from imposter syndrome, who tend to see the layoff as a confirmation of their worst fears. Ojalvo points to the work of Dr. Laura Huang, whose book Edge: Turning Adversity into Advantage provides a framework for tuning into emotions to gain insights about yourself while not allowing them to spiral downward. 

Make Peace with It, and Write Your Narrative 

Maybe you feel that trust was broken; you brought passion and enthusiasm to your job and connected with the company’s mission.  Nataly Kelly, in her article Rebound: Motivating Yourself After Tech Layoffs, said, “Your company might have felt like the world to you, but in reality, it’s not the be-all-end-all. It only really operates in a tiny corner of the much bigger, broader picture of technology.” Kelly says, yes, the abrupt pivot may hurt, but if you zoom out to see the big picture, you realize that if you want to move on, the world is moving on, too. There are opportunities ahead, and they are out there now. 

Writing your narrative means setting the definition of who you are, why you are here, what you believe, what you want to do, and where you want to go. Establishing clarity about where you’re headed sets energy in motion, putting you in the position of moving forward, not looking back. That momentum helps free you from being stuck in anger or resentment.  

Reach out and Connect or Reconnect with Others 

So, you’ve given yourself time to check in with your “inner wise one” and feel more like yourself. Maybe you’ve found a new groove to your day that includes exercise, meditation, journaling, music, art, reading, and reflection. You’ve updated your resume and created a narrative that reminds you of your great potential. This is an excellent time to bring others into your circle because you’re not pulling the “woe is me” card; you’re letting them know that you’ve got big plans and are exploring possibilities.  

In her How to Bounce Back After Getting Laid Off article published in Harvard Business Review, Rebecca Knight said that surrounding yourself with a positive posse can help. She recommends reaching out to friends, family, former colleagues, and other professional connections and explaining that “I am going to need your help, cheerleading, and support.” 

If your circle includes former colleagues also “in-between,” regular check-ins with each other can be a great way to expand your knowledge of the market. Recruiters often ask for referrals, as many projects require teams of people with similar or complementary skills.   

If you still need a “reset,” Do the Work Gary John Bishop released his book Do the Work in 2019 after a successful run with his first book on a similar topic.  Both books are built on taking responsibility for your life and embracing uncertainty with an “I am wired to win” attitude. While his first book is peppered with profanity, the strong language is part of Bishop’s tough-love-from-yourself approach.  

Bishop says, “You must first accept that while there are things that have happened in your life that you had no say in, you are 100% responsible for what you do with your life in the aftermath of those events. Always, every time, no excuses.” 

 In Between Is What You Make It 

Give yourself some grace but be accountable to yourself. Reflect, revamp, reach out, and reset. How you spend this time is up to you. Ready to chat about opportunities? Our recruiting teams are available to chat and consult with you. 

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