Suddenly... jobless. What to focus on during a down economy and job cuts

Suddenly……. Jobless

What do these companies have in common…

Google, Amazon, Alphabet, Beyond Meat, Microsoft, Salesforce, Meta, Twitter, Spotify…?

These are just a few of the companies announcing over 55,000 layoffs in the first few weeks of 2023.

Google employees woke up to find their company systems were cut off, then in their emails, learned they were made redundant. KPMG reported that 91% of CEO’s believe there will be a recession in the next 6 months so this may be the beginning of the wave. Many companies are defensively anticipating a downturn. Others are experiencing it. Publicly traded companies that are seeing a decline in revenue and profit are proactively cutting costs.

At the macro level, these numbers are leading indicators regarding the state of the economy.
At the micro level these numbers represent people, with families, mortgages, and debts.

And this will be a very difficult time for many. The first reaction is generally a loss of self-esteem, self-blame, loss of income, loss of social support and, in many cases, loss of identity. Yet the majority of layoffs are not performance-based, but rather represent a general cost-cutting.

The journey back begins with a plan, right away.

Action begets confidence.

Take stock of your strengths. Self-awareness is a beautiful thing… What are your “triggers” and motivators? Get insights into yourself: a Predictive Index assessment, an EQ assessment, a 360 from your past. When were you performing at your best? What kinds of working environments demotivated you? What was the style of the manager under whom you thrived?

Write out your strengths and the impact you’ve made in your career — put pen to paper. Visualize what you are seeking. Sharpen the saw. Keep “upskilling”. Under certain circumstances, re-tool if needed.

Your value is what you are as well as what you know. Keep improving skills in your core competency, and learn new skills outside your area of expertise. Make them your differentiator.

Use your network. Write down people in your sphere of influence.

They want to help you.

LinkedIn is your friend. Revisit your profile and make it compelling. Look at who your trusted contacts are connected to, and seek out introductions. Craft a list of ideal target companies and who can help you approach them.

And don’t forget that it’s a gig economy. Companies are reluctant to jump back into mass hiring but may be very willing to bring in project based work as a 1099. What skills could you offer, who do you know that needs a short term project? These keep you in the game, help bridge gaps on your resume, and often lead to full time employment.

Once you accept your situation, a plan of action is the key — and remember — your current environment is less a reflection of your skillset than of your [former] company’s lack of planning.

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