A large U.S. technology company, Ricoh, announced layoffs of over 1500 employees last week. They won't be the last to conduct major RIFs (reductions in force) this year. There's a new trend towards companies cutting more quickly (and, more deeply) than ever before. In fact, for some employers, it's now standard practice to layoff the lowest performing portion of their businesses every year. The good news is, the job market is solid and there are opportunities available. However, given the average hiring process takes 21-days and that the job search by the unemployed takes longer, here's what I always advise those affected by a layoff to do immediately:
1. Work through your emotions ASAP.
As painful as it may feel, this was a business decision. We all know corporations don't have feelings. This was not a personal attack or a reflection on you as a worker. It was simply a question of your role no longer being seen as a fit with the financial model of the company. While it's normal to be upset, not working through your feelings will cost you. Being overly public about your hatred for your employer won't serve any purpose either. In fact, it will make family and friends avoid recommending you for a job. Nobody will risk their professional reputation on someone who can't keep their emotions in check. If you are struggling to cope, seek the help of a career coach, mentor or counselor.
2. Don't put off your job search.
In addition to working through your feelings about the layoff privately, recognize that a prolonged grieving period will hurt your career. It can be easy to want to take time off and recover from the experience. But the longer you wait, the longer it will take for you to find a new job. Just like a house that sits on the market too long, if you fail to engage in a job search immediately, people will start to question your value.
3. Leverage the fact that it happened to a lot of people.
When 1500+ people get let go, it's clear there weren't performance issues on-the-job. That makes it easier for a recruiter to market you to employers or a hiring manager to see your worth. But, when you wait and time passes, suddenly they start to wonder why you aren't getting snapped up by employers. Don't be that person!
4. Know the money-making value you bring to potential employers.
The reason a job exists is because a company believes that someone doing the role will save or make them enough money to justify hiring them. You need to determine what problems you solve -- what pain you alleviate. Then, get out there and let employers who need you know your true value. It's the fastest way to get hired.
Getting laid off is a terrible experience. Don't go it alone. Get help if you need to. The sooner you can apply these four steps, the faster you can move forward and find a new job that makes you happy.