By John Krautzel (from Beyond.com)
If you have ever been laid off, you know how hard it is to handle a job loss. You might be tempted to spend weeks wondering if your work wasn’t up to snuff, but a better way to spend your time is to network with people in your industry and brush up on your skills. Here are several ways a layoff can help you choose the right career path.
Although job loss is often a painful experience, it might be just the thing you need to find a better job or figure out that you want to switch careers. If you were afraid to leave your job due to the generous salary or comprehensive benefits package, a layoff takes the decision out of your hands and forces you to consider other employers. If you find a job that makes you happier, your unexpected job loss may turn out to be a gift instead of a burden.
It’s difficult to focus on goals when you are constantly worried about meeting deadlines or keeping your boss happy. Being laid off gives you the time you to explore your interests and decide if you want to pursue a career change. Whether you want to start your own business or work your way up the corporate ladder, an unexpected job loss gives you time to set goals and do everything necessary to reach those goals.
If you aren’t entirely sure you want to continue on the career path you’ve established, a layoff can help you make new professional connections and learn skills relevant to another field. Instead of watching television or spending hours surfing the Web, use your time to attend networking meetings or take classes. Participating in these activities can help you strengthen your resume, giving you a better chance of landing interviews when you are ready to look for a new job.
Managers often take several factors into account when determining who should be let go during a layoff. One of those factors is your ability to stay up-to-date on developments in your field. If you were let go from a job you loved, your layoff might be a sign that you need to take additional classes or obtain a professional certification in your field. If you recently suffered a job loss, don’t let it keep you from developing new skills.
The weeks immediately following a layoff are ideal for self-reflection. If your manager said you were laid off because of mistakes you made on the job, think about ways to avoid those mistakes in the future. Remember that mistakes aren’t always a bad thing, especially if you view them as learning opportunities.
Almost no one enjoys being laid off, but a job loss doesn’t have to end your career.
Instead of focusing on your old job, take time to develop new skills, build your professional network and do everything you can to improve your career.
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