The stress and fear of being laid off or fired from my job? Things I can do while I still have a job and my worst past mistakes when I was laid off.

One in four American workers has filed for unemployment insurance.

Increased worry about losing your job has reported poorer physical health and more symptoms of depression than those who’d actually been laid off, a new study shows

It was sometime during the financial crisis, I remember sitting and crying in my car while a box of office supplies and certificates just stared back at me.

I was in the parking lot of the company and it was the day I was let go.

It was an emotional day. I cannot forget the rush of emotions. The stress of not knowing what may happen. Insecurities that creeped in thinking about what if I don’t get another job.

How did I not see the signs?

That evening my best friend and I had plans to go to the movies. I was shattered how my day turned out, but my best friend convinced me to get out and meet for dinner and drinks.

I did end up catching a movie as planned.

It was that conversation with my friend that changed my mood and mindset.

The next day I got up and I started my job hunt with a positive mindset and that changed everything.

When my friend and I sat for dinner when I was at my worst, she said to me that only my employment status had changed. The things about me – my creativity, grit, my friends, health were all the same. My friend reminded me that I was smart and this jog status was temporary. 

Before the lay off’s were announced, I can tell you that I was under a lot of stress of losing my job due to the performance of the company and the financial crisis indicators.

Today, during this pandemic there are so many who have lost their jobs and for the people who are employed under the stress of losing their jobs.

More than 40 million Americans have filed for first-time unemployment benefits since the coronavirus pandemic forced the US economy to shut down in March.  

So, after a wonderful evening with my friend I was looking forward to spending my next few days scouting the internet job sites. I started to notice there weren’t many jobs out there that fit my former role within the same industry.

I was super disappointed that I’m going to be unemployed for an extended period if I don’t see openings.

I finally landed a job after a few months and I was quite happy to start fresh and learn.

Here is what I learnt and adjusted during my job hunt period:

It’s not the job but the skills.

My resume and my interview conversations were focused on the job I fulfilled and what I did to accomplish it.

One day after getting several responses with thanks for applying but NO THANKS! I started to reflect on the process starting from my resume to the job interview answers.

I made a small tweak to my approach. I started looking at my work products and writing out the skills I have that helped me be successful in the job and the role. I did a re-write of my resume to reflect my skills and knowledge on tools and how that makes me a strong applicant for the role.

Cast a wide net

During crisis and a pandemic such as this

There are some industries that are hardest hit during this pandemic and are amongst the top sectors reporting layoffs and furloughs.

20.5 million people lost their jobs in April. Here are the 10 job types that were hardest hit.

If you lost your job recently because your sector was hardest hit, I would look at the sectors that are not on this list and research what type of jobs and skills are they looking for.

Knowledge-intensive industries such as financial services, Technology and cloud computing sectors, were some industries that were able to pivot to remote working and continue to survive this pandemic.

Identifying the skills needed and the competency levels expected will allow you to understand the gap.

The skills gap

Did you know for years doing the same job on rinse and repeat can create a skills gap of where you are and where the industry is at. Ok well, I didn’t know that and I was shocked when I learnt that some skills and tools that I thought I was good/ an expert, weren’t good enough for the top paying roles that I was looking for. Yup, rude awakening!

Most company’s don’t invest in creating and offering training on high-end/future skills to their employees.

If you have a job today but are stressing about the uncertainty the future holds, get out of your shell and identify where your knowledge is at and what others are looking for in the industry.

Think in the future where there will be talent shortages.

These Industries Will Face the Biggest Talent Shortages by 2030.  By 2030, the global talent shortage could reach 85.2 million people—costing companies trillions of dollars in lost economic opportunity.

Within the next 12 years, demand for highly skilled workers is going to skyrocket—especially across knowledge-intensive industries. But every industry will feel the ripple effects of the talent crunch, so it’s important to be prepared

Learn about what trainings and education you need to pursue to stay ahead.

In a report from LinkedIn and Capgemini, the report revealed more than half (54%) of organizations agree that a digital talent gap is hampering their digital transformation programs, and nearly a third of employees said that they’re worried that their skills are either already or soon to become redundant.

Moreover, more than half feel their company’s training programs lack what they need and desire to be successful when it comes to increasing their digital skills, describing the training as “useless and boring.”

As a solution, a majority of digital talent (60%) have taken training into their own hands and are investing their own time and money, most commonly to be on a par with their colleagues on the required digital skills.

Jobs will evolve overtime. Automation and bots will take over the repeatable tasks and this may replace some of the workforce. But the demand for critical thinking, complex problem solving, ability to create, innovate will accelerate and skyrocket.

Jobs will not be the same they’ll evolve. The future of work

while there are several effective methods I’ve utilized to upskill myself here are some I like to mention:

if there is a book for dummy’s on the skill I want to learn – I’ll read it.

Linkedin Learning with premium

is a great resource to learn On Demand Skills Training at all levels – beginners, intermediate and advance. I’ve found this very useful and easy to use.

Networking on Linkedin groups and joining a local chapter where professional network, share articles, webinars. If there is a conference or a breakout session or training, I sign up to attend and learn.

Such chapters and groups have not just helped me build on my skills but also learn the challenges that are unique to this profession and their specific industry.

I’ve continued to do this even when I had a job. Keeps me current and I have the opportunity to help others in need.

Relocate or not to relocate – Sure. Why not?

Well this can be such a personal choice and a decision that would involve the family or others.

But is always out there as an option to checkout as you casting a wide net. Don’t write it off yet. My big opportunity came by with a relocation package and was a sweet deal overall for my career and the location was a win for family.

Expand your boundaries, know which cities are hiring and if feasible don’t be afraid to make the move. Check out the Monthly US Workforce Report – provided by Linkedin, with insights from 146 million U.S. members, this monthly report offers unique insights into hiring, skills gaps, and migration trends to help you better navigate today’s labor market.

It is your mindset

At the end, how you view your situation makes a big impact on what you will do with this situation.

As @Susie Moore mentions in 5 Reasons You Shouldn’t Fear Losing Your Job “The only thing that has changed is your job status for a temporary time. So what? A job can be replaced.”

Take a deep breath

Take your time and devise a plan for the long term

Do your research on what skills are in demand

Take steps each day to close the skill gap – 1% at a time

Cast a wide net – look beyond your core industry if possible

Expand your boundaries – not all cities and towns are impacted by the crisis the same way.

Being selected to be laid off most often is just bad luck. Don’t take it personally, and don’t feel like YOU are a failure. The reality is that your employer has failed.

Life is too short to stress about the uncertainties or think about the failures and mope over the rejections. Life is about fulfilling our purpose and being of service for the greater good

Life is about planning and fulfilling the demands of today and the future. You just need to be ready for your next calling.

Erlin Kakkanad

Thank you for reading my article.

I am passionate about problem solving and helping people take ideation to the next level. I help out by offering a range of service channel, Some I’ve listed below:

Consulting services – Creative thinking, problem solving, leadership development.

Trainings in Lean and Six Sigma, Design thinking, creative problem solving and more

Speaking engagements at leadership events through live onsite or virtual – webinars, lunch and learns. and several other offerings.

Picture – Photo by Juan Pablo Serrano Arenas

Note: I am not affiliates with the sources cited in this article and i do not make an income from them.

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