FINDING YOUR “MOJO” AFTER A LAYOFF

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NOTE: Job Action Day was initiated by Quintessential Careers. Look for other career-related blogs that display the above logo. Hope you enjoy my contribution.

Wonder where your MOJO went?

It seems like every day I pick up my phone to hear a job seeker cry, “Help! I feel so lost. The layoff crushed my self-esteem and I can’t find the energy to start looking for a new job. What can I do?” My first response is “Breathe!” Then, “Please tell me your story.”

Usually the layoff was not your fault. However, knowing that fact may not provide comfort if your identity is tied up in your career. Please try to remember that the layoff wasn’t personal – chances are you were doing a good job. The company just needed to cut back. To conduct an empowered job search, begin by accumulating baby-step wins to enhance your self-esteem. Don’t try to recover your “mojo” in one giant leap.

With unemployment hovering around 10%, we tend to forget that 90% of the country is still employed. Furthermore, the “10%” includes all occupations in all industries. Experienced workers with college degrees enjoy a lower unemployment rate. Many of us are looking at the glass as 10% empty instead of 90-95% full!

Panic and self-doubt can dominate a job search when fed by the media. So tune out and turn off the news! Beware of all the advice you get from well-meaning friends and family. Don’t let yourself be influenced by matters beyond your control. Yes, I said, “control.” There are still ways to control your job search and career.

Begin by taking inventory of your skills, talents, knowledge, interests, experience – and toss in a healthy dose of values, those things that are must-haves in your life. Do online and off line research to find the fields that ARE hiring. Determine how your “best stuff” can be a match for open job opportunities. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? Actually, it’s a lot of work – which is why you need to make looking for a job a full time job in itself. Scheduling job search tasks in a daily planner can help you stay on track – make appointments with yourself and keep them.

Surprisingly, the most difficult task is the research. (You thought I was going to say networking, didn’t you? Gotcha!) Research is where many job seekers get stuck. They try to stay with what they are familiar with instead of branching out. For example, if you’ve been part of the corporate scene all of your life, have you even considered exploring federal government work? Take a spin around www.usajobs.gov and see if anything there catches your eye. At last glance, this site had over 32,000 government jobs posted on it. Don’t let the government application process discourage you. It’s somewhat different from the process you’re familiar with, but it is doable.

As part of your research, try to find someone to talk to who is actually doing (or has done) what interests you. It helps to get the scoop first hand. LinkedIn, where you should already have a robust profile, is a good place to make these connections. (Did you know that this web site is where recruiters go first when looking for candidates?) LinkedIn is also best web site for online networking. (Yes, networking IS a critical part of the job search success equation.)

Finding “anything, just anything” isn’t the best solution to getting reemployed. While you may need to take on a temporary position for a little while, hold out for the permanent job that will challenge your mind and feed your soul. Yes, it’s a jungle out there, but it’s still possible to land on your feet when you trust your instincts and know you deserve the best.

Now, go get your MOJO back!

SPECIAL NOTE: I am honored to be a member of the Career Collective, a group of career experts who will each month share their advice and tips to enhance the management of your career. Please link to their blog posts below. And follow our hashtag #careercollective on Twitter:

Debra Wheatman: Plan B from outer space; or what do you have in case your first plan doesn't work out

Heather Mundell: Green Jobs – What They Are and How to Find Them

Erin Kennedy: Cutting Edge Job Search Blueprint

Gayle Howard: The Enlightened Jobseeker

Grace Kutney, Securing Your Career While Navigating the Winds of Change

Hannah Morgan: Career Sherpa Why Our Job Search Advice is the Same but Different

Heather R. Huhman: Take Action: 10 Steps for Landing an Entry-Level Job

Laurie Berenson: Making lemonade out of lemons: Turn unemployment into entrepreneurship

Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter: You Can Thrive In, Not Just Survive, an Economic Slogging

Rosalind Joffe: Preparedness: It's Not Just for Boyscouts

Rosa E. Vargas: Are You Evolving Into The In-Demand Professional of Tomorrow?

Dawn Bugni: Your network IS your net worth

Miriam Salpeter: Optimize your job hunt for today's economy

Barbara Safani: Where the Jobs Are: 2009 and Beyond

GL Hoffman: The Life of An Entrepreneur: Is It for You?

Katharine Hansen: Job Action Day 09: His Resume Savvy Helped New Career Rise from Layoff Ashes

9 thoughts on “FINDING YOUR “MOJO” AFTER A LAYOFF

  1. Terrific post Meg and so true. Research is so important and yet, it appears that so few people actually do it! Not just research into jobs, but doing the formative work–research into themselves. Really thinking about what they like, where their true talents lie, the types of environments and managers that bring out their best work, where they are going to sit in the hierarchy and more. When a jobseeker is clear on what and who they are, only then are they in the right place to start researching companies and how not to just get a job, but how to get work they love. Employees that have passion and are not just putting in the hours are the ones that are valued and in many cases, retained above all others when times are tough because they add value. Companies are still hiring; as you point out 90% of people are employed. What companies are now being are discerning in their recruitment selections; a situation that more than ever calls for jobseekers to do their research properly.

  2. Meg,
    You’re right. We forget to focus on the fact that 90% are employed. And job search is temporary…that 10% will be part of that 90% in time…and maybe they will even be in a better place professionally and financially.

  3. Meg,
    Good info. I like your positive take on the job search. I tell my clients the same thing, “people are getting hired every day!”
    Your empowering “take action” approach keeps job seekers upbeat and fights off depression, AND puts the job seeker back in the driver’s seat.
    Erin

  4. I like your “glass half full” reminder! I also appreciate your comments on the importance of research – I don’t think enough is written about both its importance and actual how-to’s on finding out what is happening in organizations. Very helpful post!

  5. We all need the reminder to think ‘Glass half full’ -especially those of us whose job it is to remind help others stay in the game. Great framework- it’s the obvious and also the often overlooked that we most need to be reminded about. Rosalnd Joffe

  6. Meg,
    As always, on point, direct and encouraging words!
    Finding one’s mojo is so apropos! You’re right, sometimes the first step is just breathing and regaining one’s calm. Easier said than done, but do-able. Sometimes we just need to “heart it” from a career coach like you! (That’s one of many reasons you’re good at what you do – you know what to say, and when.)
    As well, your guidance on how job seekers can find a salve for their pain includes the action steps of research (not just networking!). By being introspective and mapping out one’s talents and abilities to the researched opportunities, job seekers can begin feeling better as their possibilities begin expanding!
    Great, overall tips and strategies, Meg!
    Jacqui

  7. I love how you reminded us that 90% of the population is employed Meg – so true! So much of our ability to attract new work opportunities comes from our attitudes. Thanks for reminding us all that MOJO is a must!
    JT, Founder
    CAREEREALISM.com

  8. Meg –
    I’ve been telling clients since last year to turn off the TV and stop buying into the “everything is awful” scenario pontificated nightly. Things are difficult NOT impossible. And the 90% employed perspective is another of my personal favorites. A positive approach and gratitude go a long way in a search
    Company research, as you mentioned, is uber important as well. Knowledge and a positive approach is power in today’s market. Excellent advice. Wonderfully excellent! Thanks.

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