Monday, December 31, 2018

Thoughts From My Lay Off

I was laid off in mid-January 2018, and it took me about a month and a half to find another job. It was a harrowing start to the year, but instructive nonetheless. I think about it now because I'm nearing both the one year anniversary of that event, and the one year anniversary of my current job.

I have been laid off two other times in my career. The two previous times that I've been let go was voluntary. I was offered transitional roles in both situations: the first one for 3-6 months and the second one for almost 9 months. In my first lay off in 2001, I completed the full transitional period and received the severance/bonus. In my second lay off in 2011, I found a job during the transitional period and it felt like a normal job change.

In these past situations, I was well aware of impending job loss, and ramped up my job search accordingly. This year, the lay off was unexpected, though of course, with hindsight, the signs were there. I was let go in the morning ("gather yourself"), and after a few hours of shock, I had to crank up my job searching machine, which in this analogy was gathering dust in my basement.

I think it's easy to be caught unawares, or to ignore possible signs for impending doom. We just want to get through our day, and collect our paycheck every two weeks. Keeping track of the bigger picture is reserved for water-cooler talk, or the occasional work lunch. There's nothing like an invigorating, unplanned job search to remind you not to take things for granted and to be prepared. At my age (nifty fifty), even more so.

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