Being laid off is one of the most challenging things that can happen in life. It may make you feel disposable, shafted, slighted, angry, and depressed. After my fifth layoff I remember the stages for me were shock, questioning, anger, and finally acceptance. Before you begin to look for your next position, if there’s any hint of negativity, resentment, anger, etc. about your situation, you’ll want to “get the chip off your shoulder.”
For most, employers/interviewers may pick up on the fact that you are negative, bitter, or holding a grudge against your former employer. Don’t come across like a wounded animal. HR professionals and hiring managers will most likely sense this. Don’t succumb to the thought that unemployment is going to be forever or that you’re blacklisted by all companies in your industry.
I think the weight of what we bear as a result of a layoff is too much of a burden for a friend to hear over and over. It’s also embarrassing–even to talk with your closest friends–about how you feel. You need to be honest about your feelings in order to work through them and come out the other side stronger and ready to pound the pavement. I recommend talking to a psychiatrist, your pastor, or a Stephen Minister (an unbiased confidential lay person who’s trained to listen and provide care and support at no cost to those in crisis or difficult life situations.)
Google “Stephen Ministers” + your city to find churches that can get you in touch with one. It was such a support and encouragement to have Wynn, my Stephen Minister, to listen and give advice. He was actually a supervisor at his job and had great perspective. Don’t be ashamed to seek out support or apprehensive to talk to someone new (Stephen Minister or other) about your feelings and situation. Having a shoulder to lean on and someone to listen will help you get back on your feet faster than going it alone.
If you know someone who has recently lost their job, please share this blog with them.
Being a student fresh out of college in this day and age is more challenging than ever. I worked summers and during Christmas break during college because I needed the money as I’m sure all students do. And I coveted my study and free time during the semesters and never did an internship.
Although most are unpaid, an internship is one of the best ways to meet, work and network with movers and shakers in your field of study…not to mention giving hiring managers a taste of the great work you do and your reliability, creativity, and work ethic. Side note, at least here in Nashville, I know frequently that there are actually more companies wanting interns than there are students wanting to intern! Go supply and demand!
Students should do an internship at one of their top target companies if they can afford the opportunity cost. If you need to work a paying job during college, try doing the internship the summer before your final year. Or better, consider interning during your last semester. Make sure to contact the companies you’re considering in late summer to check if a Spring-only internship is an option, since some may only offer a Fall+Spring option. This way you won’t be blindsided and miss the boat on a great opportunity.
You’ll get firsthand real world knowledge at a company ideally in the department in which you’ll be working once you graduate. This could help you have an advantage over those applicants unknown to the company and earn you a full time job after graduation. Even if you are not hired on after, a reference from your manager as well as opportunities to network during the internship can be valuable tools in efforts toward a solid first job. You could meet someone at another company that may end up hiring you down the road. At worst, you will be able to start building your network.
You seasoned folks, what other advice do you have for forward-thinking college students on preparing for a career? Please comment.
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