3 Reasons Why a Layoff Can Be a Blessing in Disguise

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Last week, we discussed 3 signs you’re at risk for a layoff. This week, we look at why a layoff could actually turn into something positive.

field-of-flowersRecently, I had the pleasure of meeting “Sam.” Sam and I met upon being introduced by a strategic partner. She was seeking a career change after being laid off.

I’ve never met someone so sad, anxious and excited for the future. The first thing that she said to me was, “This layoff is a blessing.” She had spent her entire career climbing the corporate ladder and was recently let go as a senior insurance underwriter. As she and I spoke, she passionately hated her job. Yet, she felt trapped by the salary and benefits that accompany a position with a large corporation and the need to take care of family responsibilities.

She went to school for anthropology and wondered how she had gotten so far off track. As the saying implies, “If I had a dime for every time…” In this case, if I had a dime for every time I met an employee caught up in a reduction in force or downsizing who can relate to Sam’s story… You know the rest.  She would never have left the comfort of her position had she not been forced out.

Here are my top 3 reasons why layoffs can be viewed as a blessing:

  1. Would you ever have left without being pushed? Most job seekers are extremely afraid of change and value security and stability. You’ve thought about trying something new but were afraid of the risk and the impact on your family and lifestyle. Use this time to explore what your “ideal” career might be and what it would take to proactively pursue a different career path. Use your outplacement career coach to realistically discuss different options.
  2. You have wasted too many years in the wrong position. A colleague uses a personal story that every Sunday evening she would feel physically ill thinking about Monday morning at work. According to a recent Gallup Study, 103 million U.S. civilian workers reported being unhappy, disengaged and unproductive at work (that’s 2/3 of the workforce).
    Use the time after you’ve been laid off to find or bring back the passion in your career. Your choice doesn’t have to be as challenging as saying, “I want to cure cancer” but could be as simple as saying, “I love to help people.” Let’s find a role that allows you to do this every day.
  3. Perspective on Life. Many times, layoffs allow us the opportunity to attend to other aspects of our lives. Perhaps you can financially afford to take a few weeks or even months, to spend time with your young children, take the summer to travel with your husband/wife or care for an ailing family member. Use this time to recalibrate what is important in your life. It can only serve you in your pursuit for a new position.

Tell us about your layoff experience. Was it a blessing in disguise?

Shawna Simcik, M.S., CMP, Managing Partner, OI Global Partners – Innovative Career Consulting

Working in partnership with clients, Shawna designs custom career transition and leadership development for individuals, teams and corporations to address and attain sustainable, business results. Shawna is an active member and Board Director with the Colorado Human Resources Association and a 2011 and 2012 “40 Under 40” Nominee. Shawna holds a BA in psychology from the University of Colorado at Denver and a Master’s degree in Industrial-Organizational Psychology from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. She is certified as a Career Management Practitioner through the Institute of Career Certification International. She can be contacted at ssimcik@oipartners.net.

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