n a lean and mean economy, receiving a pink slip may no longer be a social stigma but can nevertheless be an emotionally scarring and psychologically demeaning experience for employees. Most employees link their personal identities with their companies and derive self worth from their professional profiles. The sudden termination can plummet the employee's self-esteem and trigger self destructive depression, rage, righteous indignation, boundless anxiety, a tendency to rail against former employers, a desire to endlessly justify oneself or, negative emotions which are counter-productive and hamper chances of work rehabilitation.
A recent study conducted by the Wall Street Journal reveals that following a job loss, a majority of employees go through the DABDA cycle, denial anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance Denial is the sense that this cannot be happening to me. This does not alter reality so pain or anger may be triggered: "You can't do this to me." Since this has already happened employees tend to bargain: "Let's make a deal, I'll take a cut." When this fails, a period of depression sets in. Finally, the psyche's self-healing powers take over leading to the acceptance or accommodation stage. Psychologists aver that many employees get locked in a certain stage of the Dabda cycle and take longer to emerge from its negative grphp. Recruitment managers attuned to reading minds of prospective employer's sense negative emotions and decide against favour of the candidate. The rejection serves to strengthen the vicious grphp of the Dabda cycle and laid-off employees thus become their worst enemies. Martin Yates, New York career guidance author, claims that employed people succeed in getting jobs over laid-off workers because they rate better on eight critical success behaviours: goal orientation, positive expectancy, ability to take smart decisions, personal influence, organisational action, informed risk taking, flexible thinking and inner openness. Most laid-off employees scored poorly on inner openness and flexible thinking, thus, conferring the advantage to competitors.
For the terminated employee, the hard thing is not to obtain an interview call but to bounce back from the shock and convince the recruiter that his or her skill sets will benefit the company. The interviewer is bound to probe the circumstances that led to the termination and the specific reason for a laid-off worker to receive a pink slip. If the candidate was one of the few victims of a downsizing operation, he or she must be prepared for a thorough inquest and must have a marketing plan in place to hard sell professional skills. AssureConsulting.com tells you how bounce back into the professional arena:
Network Agressively: Do not retreat into a shell if you have received a pink slip. The new economy has evolved rather unique ways of coping with job loss. Join discussion boards on sites like fuckedcompany.com and netslaves.com. to avoid feeling that you were singled out or were in some way responsible for your situation. If you are in the US, become a pink slip partygoer. Participants swear it's a great way to network. Sites like www.hiredgun.com organise pink slip parties and keep members informed on who's hiring.
Apart from this, attend professional seminars become a member of organisations associated with your trade. Establish a relationship with a niche recruiter in your industry. Draw a list of friends who can provide job leads. More people land jobs through networking rather than scouring the classifieds.
Adopt the right attitude: When you receive a pink slip instead of moping and letting negative feelings establish a stranglehold tell yourself, "I didn't expect to spend the rest of my career with the same company". After breaking the news to your family, steel yourself and adopt a proactive approach towards the job hunt. Instead of feeling powerless update your resume, write two or three standard cover letters and do he rounds of two or three companies who you fell could be interested. Keep yourself busy by pursuing a hobby or joining a course that you always wanted to pursue but could not; as forced idleness is an ideal breeding ground for pessimism. Set aside the nagging doubts about your professional ability and remind yourself those economic realities rather than individual performance necessitated the job loss. It may sound amateurish but make a list of professional milestones and review them at frequent intervals. This will help you reflect a more confident and positive attitude during the interview.
Introspect on your skills: Organisations assess individuals in terms of their skill sets. Make a candid examination of your professional profile. You may have been a skilled, dependable employee but your skill sets may have become redundant or their value may have depreciated in the job market. Sign up for a professional course immediately to update your skills and expertise. The proactive approach will stand you in good stead and also impress future employers.
Be prepared for the toughies: A laid-off candidate is most likely to encounter hard questions but must remember had the organisation been not interested, he or she would not have received the interview call. Therefore, use the opportunity to sell your skills. When an interviewer asks you obvious questions about the layoff, don't break into a sweat. Be psychologically prepared to speak about the circumstances in a collected and calm manner. Think of a possible list of ten questions which prospective recruiters could ask and come up with smart answers. The plausible questions are:
What were the circumstances that led to the loss of a job?
Why should we be hiring you?
According to you, what was the reason for being laid-off?
Where did the organisation flounder?
Did your employer err in handing you the pink slip?
Do you feel your skills were redundant in your former work place?
How will this organisation gain by hiring you compared to some that has an unblemished record?
Carefully think of the responses to these questions and ask your friends to go through them and plug the gaps in explanations. Emphasise that the job loss was initially traumatic but in retrospect it was a learning experience which will helped you be amore more aware and savvy employee in the future.
Do not badmouth the employer: You may be seething against your former employer for showing you the door, but do not wreck your chances of finding another job by criticising the former employer. Remember the interview is also a test of personality and outward emotional equanimity will help in projecting a psychologically mature and buoyant personality determined to turn the tide. Companies favour professionals who are resilient and dependable employees and badmouthing former employers will send a signal that you are lacking in these qualities.
Keep references hand : A number of laid-off employees do not part from the organisation on good terms. Many organisations follow the practice of making discrete inquiries about the candidate's background and if you know that your previous employer harbours a negative impression, think one step ahead. Contact other employers you have worked with to provide letters of recommendation and positive references. The willingness of others to vouch for you will convince interviewers of your abilities.
Assure's Final Word: A lay-off is not an everlasting ignominy but a temporary setback in a twenty to thirty year work life. Therefore, retain your sense of humour, keep the faith and soon you'll be in back in the grinding action.
Laid off techies can write
to Assure for advice.
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