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Surviving COVID after a Layoff or Furlough-Reboot with these Tips

If you've been furloughed or let go during COVID, it's time to reboot! Read on to receive some tips to find work and get your career back on track.
covid furlough or layoff

COVID happened (and is still happening) and some of you are stuck in a purgatory of being furloughed and not knowing if you will be asked back or you were laid off and trying to figure out where to go next. Time for some tips to get through this time and reboot!

My coaching clients have been affected by these circumstances and I’ve found they are similar in experiencing grief and uncertainty in this crazy time.  Losing a job can feel like a huge blow.  Especially if you were in a position for a long time, received a recent promotion, or are still in shock at the unexpected news.  These things affect our emotional wellbeing and our financial wellbeing, it’s a lot. 

So I’ve decided to dedicate this blog post to help you reboot with some tips to get back on your feet and look to the future with a positive outlook. What we certainly don’t need is depressed pessimism right now.  Let’s get to it…

Tip 1: It’s not you, it’s them

The first thing we ask is, “Why me?” and of course we all want answers, but the likelihood of you receiving a real one is slim to none.  This has nothing to do with you. 

Legally, your company may not be able to tell you why.  Oftentimes I see companies let the highest-paid employees go or if you’d like to imagine monkeys throwing darts that land on your name that’s fine (and sometimes closer to the truth).  Some clients have been told in general, “It’s a pandemic and I don’t have an explanation for you” and honestly they might not.  The smaller the company, the less capital they have so that is most likely the reason in itself. 

Some companies may not qualify for the government assistance that’s out there right now or it could just be sheer panic to lay people off just to keep the company afloat without paying salaries.  There are lots of reasons and I bet 95% of them have nothing to do with you or your job performance. 

So don’t discount yourself or repeat “I suck” or “I was fired” in your head.  You don’t suck and you were laid off during a pandemic.  If a friend came to you after a layoff would you tell them they must’ve sucked because they got fired?  I don’t think so….so be nice to yourself!

Right now, companies are highly pressured with budgets and are finding it hard to prioritize fairness and work ethic into their layoff and furlough considerations.  They are trying to manage their cash flow right now to stay in business and are probably hoping to rehire all their employees for a stellar comeback!

Overall, all ethical and moral decision making has gone out of the window right now due to the circumstances. It’s not you, it’s them. 

Tip 2: Feel the feels and reboot

During this time, allow yourself time to feel.  Feel the feels, get them out, and recognize it’s normal to feel whatever you are feeling. You can feel betrayed.  You can feel angry.  You can feel depressed.  Hell, throw yourself a pity party with Ben & Jerry, Netflix, and some friends on Zoom, whatever. 

Allow yourself space to just be and get through the emotions this unfortunate experience has brought you, but keep it limited.  I’d say maybe 1-3 days of this MAX. 

After day 3, it’s time to make a plan for yourself to gain back your confidence and get that career back on track.

Time to reboot! We have to drive the action forward and leave the pity party behind.

Tip 3: Strut the stuff!

The first step to rebooting is looking at this moment as a chance to redefine and refocus your life by asking yourself the following questions:

  • Do I want to reinvent myself right now or do I want to go back to my previous job?
  • What does my ideal day look like?
  • What are the top 3 priorities in my life right now?

Answering these questions will give you somewhere to start and figure out your next move.  It may lead you to take a course online, working with a coach, touching up your resume, etc.

Try to look at this as an opportunity to decide if you want things to be the way they used to be or you want something different. 

Once you know what you are looking for, get out there and network online, go through your contacts in your phone, join Facebook groups of like-minded people, update your LinkedIn profile, your website, etc.

Tip 4: Do something now, don’t wait!

If you are waiting to see if your previous company is going to take you back, you don’t have to sit still and wait. 

 

Here’s a list of what you can do right now…

If you were furloughed:

  • Let your employer know you are dedicated to your old position and hope to return. 
  • See if you can volunteer a couple of hours a week to your previous company or another one you are interested in with the possibility it may turn into employment later on.
  • If you have a skill where you can freelance or consult, you can try that online through a freelance site like Upwork to get started.
  • Take online courses or look for certifications to add to your resume. Look at related job postings for keywords and ideas. 
 

If you were laid off:

  • Let your network know you are looking.  There is no shame.  We are living in a pandemic and you are not alone.  Don’t let your ego get in the way of connecting and reaching out to people.  Focus on letting people know where you want to be and what you have to offer instead of laying out the pessimism of losing your job. 
  • If it’s been a while, review your resume.  Use a Life Coach to help you review your resume and prepare for your next steps.
  • Remember to focus on your leadership and relational skills.  Those are more important to a prospective employer than your technical skills.  They already know what you can do from your resume, an interview is to learn more about who you are as a person, and if you’ll be a fit for company culture.  
  • Use this gift of time as a way to re-evaluate your life and lifestyle.  Are you open to moving? Are you looking to change careers?  Start a side-hustle?  Now’s a good time to keep your options open and see where you can open paths to a new beginning. 

I understand it’s not easy right now.  I’ve had clients have to minimize sessions with me due to the circumstances and I’ve had my limits due to childcare/schools being closed, I get it.  

What’s important right now is that we keep our minds open to the possibilities that will become available to us as the world recovers and renews.  Keeping driving forward and creating opportunities for yourself.

You got this!

If you know someone who’s been let go or furloughed recently due to COVID, please share this post with them.  Include a supportive note that you are thinking of them and things will get better.

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