Written by Daniel Tetrick
Losing a job can cause a person to feel a number of immediate emotions: anger, sadness, confusion, embarrassment. After the initial shock, some deeper questioning can occur: What did I do wrong? What skills do I lack? Should I have asked permission to do something? What’s wrong with me? In short, confidence is shaken. You may even question your value to another employer. But the reality is that you are the same competent professional as before the layoff. Your knowledge and accomplishments will always be yours, and your positive attitude and confidence in your skills and capabilities is the foundation to land the next position.
You’ve Got This! Real, No-Nonsense Ideas for Mentally Regrouping after a Layoff
New jobseekers frequently get help to update their resumes, navigate LinkedIn, and polish their interviewing skills. But a jobseeker who carries self-doubt into a job search may remain unmotivated and stagnant indefinitely. Mentally regrouping and reestablishing confidence after losing a job is one of the most important yet least regarded aspects of recovery after a layoff. Bridgett McGowen-Hawkins is a published author and owner of public speaking firm BMcHAWK TALKS who reminds jobseekers to recognize their value and display self-confidence with 15 tips.
Make a Statement of Your Worth
Unemployment may cause an individual to question his or her worth, making it hard for a jobseeker to articulate the value he or she brings to a potential employer. Bridgett provided a formula for jobseekers to create a meaningful statement of value to use whenever socializing, networking, interviewing, or otherwise talking to others about a career search: AND + BUT + THEREFORE.
It works like this:(Statement or observation) AND (additional statement or observation) BUT (there’s a problem) THEREFORE (my unique solution).
For example: Technology continues to drive our economy, and math and science courses are critical to careers in technology. But many high school students are intimidated by math and science and too often avoid those types of classes. Therefore, I provide math and science tutoring and testing services to high school students through a website and app that helps them understand challenging concepts in a fun and interactive way.
Bridgett gave the attendees a few minutes to write their own statements and encouraged them to refine and then use the statements daily.
Get Comfortable with Displaying Awesomeness
Too often people are humble or shy to their detriment. Understandably, most people don’t want to be considered conceited or as braggarts. Bridgett encouraged her audience not to hide behind modesty but to speak up and be proud of accomplishments and victories. Show excitement in yourself, your value, and what you bring to your next employer.
Do Something That Excites or Scares You
The freedom following a layoff permits for time to try new things. End the procrastination about something you’ve wanted to do and go do it. Find a new passion. Overcome a challenge or fear. In the context of a career search, Bridgett suggested returning to school, starting a blog, collaborating on a project, selling a service on thumbtack.com or fiverr.com, or starting a business. Get out of your comfort zone and see what happens.
Get (More) Uncomfortable
Once you’ve done something that excites or scares you, push your boundaries even more. The more you challenge yourself, the more you will learn, grow, and ultimately change your mental state. Knowing you have the courage to take on a new challenge, overcome fear, and pursue your passions is key to regaining lost confidence.
Be Ready With a Response
Concerned family, friends, and personal acquaintances may ask about a layoff and subsequent career search. In addition, former colleagues, clients, and business associates may learn of a layoff and inquire how the career search is going. It’s well documented that most people find their next jobs through networking, so a jobseeker will eventually need to utilize his or her professional network. If a jobseeker is not yet in an emotional state to have effective networking meetings, he or she will still need to have an answer ready should someone ask. Bridgett provided an example: “The company did some reorganizing. I am actively looking and networking. I am not ready to talk about my search at length but will keep you updated. I appreciate your concern.” Having a rehearsed statement can prevent an emotional outburst or streak of negativity from infiltrating the response. Remember, stay positive.
Mark the Past
Following a layoff an individual frequently experiences a sense of loss. It’s the end of an era. Bridgett advised for anyone laid off to take a brief moment to celebrate the past. Note the contributions and achievements at the previous employer. Give thanks for opportunities and learning new skills. And then be done with it. The past is over. Look only to the possibilities ahead. Bridgett gave an example with conquistador Hernan Cortes. Upon landing on the Yucatan peninsula, many of his men were unsure about proceeding with his mission. Cortes’ response was to burn his ships. Cortes marked the past. There was no turning back for him or his men.
Respect the Past
Bridgett advised not to denigrate former companies, positions, bosses, or colleagues. Confident people do not let such negativity invade their being.
Avoid Burning Bridges
Telling off a former coworker or writing a scathing criticism about a former company on Facebook may feel good in the moment but can backfire irrevocably. People change jobs frequently, and the likelihood that someone who has been laid off will reencounter an individual he or she has defamed is not improbable, especially if he or she stays in the same industry. Moreover, companies can ask an employee who has been laid off to return. Publicly bashing the company or its executives likely eliminates any chance of being asked to rejoin.
Burn Some Bridges
Selectively burning some bridges, however, is an effective way to move on from people who may impede progression to a new career. Bridgett stated there are a minimum of three types of people necessary in a personal network:
- Someone with wisdom – a senior type with knowledge and perspective
- Someone who will uplift your spirits – gives you support and encouragement
- Someone who will kick your butt- talks to you straight and holds you accountable
Bridgett asked the audience members to write a list of people, things, ideas, and behaviors to be tossed and to be kept.
Use Power Words, Not Wimpy Words
Use strong, decisive words when speaking and writing. When referring to desired outcomes, words like hope, try, believe, might, and if convey a sense of unease and a lack of assurance. Such words permit something not to happen- hey, at least I tried. Confident people use strong words that plainly state what will happen, not what might happen.
|I hope this will work.||I know this will work.|
|If we can meet, then we can share more ideas.||When we meet, then we can discuss more ideas.|
|I might be able to do that.||I can do that.|
|I believe I can make that happen.||I am confident I can make that happen.|
|Let’s review this problem.||Let’s review this challenge.|
|I will try to follow-up with you in a few days.||I will follow-up with you in a few days.|
Give Great Eye Contact
When talking to others, eye contact signifies confidence, conviction, and trust. Bridgett’s technique for maintaining eye contact without appearing overly intensive, aggressive, or creepy is to form an inverted triangle on the counterpart’s face. While making conversation, follow this pattern: look to the left eye for a few moments, casually shift focus to the right eye for a few moments, casually shift focus to the mouth for a few moments, casually return focus to the left eye for a few moments, and repeat.
Avoid Giving Reasons for Actions or Decisions
Being confident means having the courage to make a decision and take action. Such courage rarely requires a reason or excuse.
Respond to Criticism Only If/When Necessary
A confident person with solid values and judgement can easily disregard unwarranted criticism. Being defensive is a waste of time. People often criticize because of envy or because they do not understand. Bridgett gave an example of a body builder criticized for being too weak. Only the body builder knows how hard she trained, how strictly she dieted, and how strong she really is. She has confidence in her program, her work ethic, and her ability. The criticism of others is irrelevant.
Aim for Your Target and Do It
Bridgett said she recently attended a conference where the keynote speaker started his speech by explaining everything he was going to do and accomplish throughout the speech. As he continued his descriptions and expectations, Bridgett began to wonder why he was talking about his speech rather than simply giving the speech. Bridgett’s message to the keynote speaker is the same to jobseekers: There is no need to announce intention. Just take action! Don’t talk about it; be about it.
Uplift Other People
Helping others helps yourself. The gratification from helping someone in need inspires confidence.
Bridgett concluded her presentation by asking the audience to find a partner and perform a simple task with incrementally added complexities. The point of the exercise was to demonstrate that not everyone was comfortable with all of the added complexities. Similarly, jobseekers can decide for themselves which of Bridgett’s 15 ideas work for them and which ones may not. Bridgett said she too has been laid off, and she used these very tools to regain her confidence and keep moving forward.
Pam Goux, Talent Acquisition
Medtronic is a global healthcare solutions company committed to improving the lives of people through medical technologies, services, and solutions. With over 88,000 employees in over 160 countries around the world, Medtronic’s therapies improve the lives of over two people every second. Medtronic’s Tempe location is one of its three Centers of Excellence. Open positions in Tempe include Senior Manufacturing Supervisor, Senior HR Generalist, Senior Test Engineer, and Finance Analyst. See all positions and apply directly at jobs.medtronic.com.
Health Net, a subsidiary of Centene
Bonnie Taylor, Sr. Staffing Consultant & Certified Diversity Recruiter
Centene acquired Health Net in the spring of 2016, creating one of the largest providers of Medicaid, Medicare Advantage, and other government-sponsored and commercial health programs. Its brand pillars are Focus on Individuals, Whole Health, and Active Local Involvement. With four offices in the Tempe area, Centene has open positions in healthcare roles (including behavior health, nursing, and pharmacy) and business roles (including analysis, IT, finance, and customer service.) Get further information and see all open positions at centene.com/careers.
Linda Luman, VP Human Resources
Freedom Financial Network helps people with some of the most trying financial circumstances by negotiating with its clients’ banks and other creditors to ease the burden of repayment. With its Arizona location in Tempe, Freedom Financial Network has been recognized multiple times by the Phoenix Business Journal as an area “Best Place to Work.” Open positions include sales, customer service, negotiations, loan servicing representative, QA engineer, and PHP/Java developers. See all open positions and apply online here.
Jessica Pierce concluded the event with some final thoughts and reminders:
- Check out Career Connectors’ Career Advice Blog for insight and suggestions to empower and energize your career search
- Take a free DISC assessment courtesy of Career Connectors and Top Talent Consulting
- Utilize the available resources offered by Career Connectors at each event: resume review, career coaching, LinkedIn coaching, financial/insurance coaching, and business portraits
Next event is Wednesday August 2nd, 9:00 am in Phoenix: “Get the Job Fast – Find a Great New Job in Half the Time!”