A company I worked for has just had another layoff and it made me realize how many great people they have laid off over the years, and how successful they have been. I’d like to blog a bit about what some of these people did and perhaps provide some ideas to the newbies.
Start Your Own Business
At least two people have started their own businesses, one as a consultant in a hot but unrelated field and the other is doing the same thing in his own successful agency. I remember that both of these people had a self confidence that would definitely make them far more successful as independents than in a corporate environment.
Upgrade Your Education
One of our technical writers was out of work for quite some time, but he spent that time learning new software tools and upgrading his knowledge by studying and taking exams to get a certificate in a new type of network. He lives in a very competitive area where there are a lot of startups, and although he has had several jobs, he has not been unemployed for more than a few days since he got that certificate.
Keep Working on Contract
A friend of mine was laid off early on, and what she did was take any small contract she could get in the days when NJ unemployment was only 26 weeks. To my astonishment, she managed to stretch her unemployment to 52 weeks with all her small contracts and keep her skills fresh. She is also someone who always has practical advice to share, and she now has a full-time job – and I am not surprised.
Exploit Your Knowledge of Hot New Areas
I worked with someone in product marketing who was very smart and very hardworking, but was grossly undervalued. We finished a white paper on a hot new topic, and predictably she went back and rechecked all her sources. Her “extra mile” research revealed that a local company was getting into this area, so she applied and had a new job within weeks. She joked later that the company would have hired anyone who knew what the acronym meant, but I know better.
Return to a Past Success
I worked for someone when I started who was an excellent manager because she was very objective and fair-minded, but who decided to stay in the same company using her other skills but leave management. When she was laid off, she applied to a company in a completely different field and got a job on the strength of her excellent skill set. I was not surprised when this company asked her to return to management, and she now manages far more people than in her original job – and is appreciated for her excellent management skills.
Approach Companies Directly
I had a engineering friend who had been working on the same product that was ported to a lot of different operating systems. To my surprise, she got on the websites of all the major companies who developed these operating systems and applied to them directly online. She got a great job at one of them and is still with them.
Network and Share
I know a lot of technically adept people, but only one who is always willing to answer my technical questions, no matter how dumb. I think he does this for everyone, and when he decided to change jobs recently, he got a new job within weeks. I suspect there are dozens (maybe hundreds) of us who are always ready to return his many favors.
Believe in Yourself
I knew of two great people who were constrained, one by the general company situation and the other by her direct manager. The first person left while the other was not offered a position during a transition. Both are smart and hard-working, and both are now Vice Presidents at great companies. I am not surprised.