Monday, February 16, 2009

Manager to COO via Layoff

It was a little over a year ago that my boss called me into her office at 9am to deliver the news "your job has been eliminated." Since then, the number of layoffs across the country has steadily increased to the point where no one is truly safe at their company.

My goal in writing this blog is to focus on the positive aspects of a layoff. As it turned out, mine was one of the most transforming experiences of my life. When I started my search, I was an underutilized mid-level project manager. By the end of my search, I was the chief operating officer of a growing non-profit.

Simply put, it would have been impossible for me to get from point A to point B without the layoff in between. A layoff provides a number of job search tools that most people don't have access to while working, including:

Networking: Access to contacts and recommendations from bosses and colleagues who it would have been awkward to ask while still employed.

Time: Finding a job is a job. And you've just been promoted from freelancer to professional. It's your job to meet interesting people for coffee, lunch and drinks; brainstorm dream jobs; and search the Internet in your pajamas all day...

Money: It's the one and only time you will be paid to search for a new job. Between the severance check, unemployment, and savings, most people have some time before they need to consider supplementing with part time work or consulting.

Urgency: Employed people can waste years searching for a new job while clinging tightly to the one they've got. As a new member of the "unemployed", you *must* find a new job and that means you'll find one sooner than your employed counterpart.

For these reasons and more, being laid off can be a once in a lifetime opportunity for personal growth, renewal and promotion. So, if you're newly unemployed, congratulations! This is your first step to getting the job you've always wanted.

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