Are you dealing with the reality of job elimination in 2020? Furlough is one thing, but to lose your job because the organization no longer sees its value can cut you to the core, and frankly, all too common. Worse yet, if you were in an executive role, you are now facing the brutal reality that those positions are not easy to find, let alone in midst of a pandemic.
My friend and former colleague, Angie Santrock guest authored this blog post. We worked together when I was the Vice President of Store Operations for Justice and she was a District Manager. She was promoted to a Regional AVP position at Maurices and excelled as a results driven leader. I hope her story will inspire you. We have also provided some tips on navigating through this situation.
One of the reasons I continue to share stories of people who have lost their job is I think it is important to hear stories of other successful people, just like you, who have lost their job, through no fault of their own. We can tell ourselves stories during these challenging times, that we weren’t good enough or smart enough. It just isn’t true. This isn’t a “happily ever after” story, YET. But she will find an amazing company who will realize how lucky they are to have her, as will you. Hang in there, the best is yet to come.
16 Words you Don’t Want to Hear
“Due to unforeseen circumstances, we have had to make the tough decision to eliminate your position.” WHAT?!? These are words that no employee ever wants to hear. I had to hear them a month and a half ago and it was a surreal moment. How could this be? I did all the right things; ran great stores, empowered my team, focused on executing company directives, drove results, yet my job was eliminated.
“I am fine, I understand, I am not angry” are a few statements made to coworkers and friends. As a leader, I understood that leaders must make difficult decisions (I’ve had to make them myself over the years) and with COVID-19 things were compounded. There was no time to waste with emotions. I was going to jump right into the job market and find my next home. Having worked in retail for many years, I know lots of people and began immediately reaching out to all my contacts. With my resume’ updated and my LinkedIn page perfected, I was ready to conquer the job world and boy, was I wrong.
Ready or Not, Here I Come
I landed an interview within the first week and the conversation was a flop to say the least. When you interview with a company in which there is no real interest and isn’t a fit, you realize it quickly. Even my son asked me why I was interviewing with “that company” because he didn’t think I would like it there. The next chapter of my life was a blur because I hadn’t closed the current chapter of my life. I hadn’t taken one moment to mourn the loss of my work family or deal with the range of emotions that I was feeling.
I was angry, sad, disappointed, and frightened! My heart and soul had been poured into the success of the company for years and it was taken away from me. Just making that statement out loud allowed me to start the process of healing and beginning to look towards my future. I needed to take some time to deal with my emotions and invest into my own self-care.
Time Off is a Gift
This time off has truly been a gift. I have been able to read so many great books and invest in my own development. Every closet in my house is organized, which makes me very happy. My yard is full of beautiful plants that I never enjoyed before. I have the time to just sit and watch the birds play. Sleeping in my own bed every single night for a few months now has been amazing. (those that travel understand this). I have a vision of what I want for the next chapter of my “work” life.
So here I am today, a month and a half into this new reality of being unemployed. I still have those moments of sadness, and am continuing to work through the stages of grief. The vision of what I want for the next chapter of my “work” life is becoming clear. I am a better version of myself.
Professional Advice (from Angie and Rachel)
No one ever wants to lose their job but unfortunately many of us have or will in the coming months. I want to share some tips that I have learned in the hopes that it helps.
- Update your LinkedIn profile. This will continue to be the #1 callout we have for you. Why? Because the professional world revolves around LinkedIn. Having an effective profile is one of the most important steps you can take. Angie looked at other profiles for inspiration. She found pages she liked and then asked them to review her page. Some additional LinkedIn call outs:
- Recommendations and endorsements – the more the merrier!
- Create a positive LinkedIn post letting people know what you are looking for. The LinkedIn community is so willing to help. Just remember, no negativity in the post. Stay forward looking!
- Update your Resume. If you received outplacement services as part of your departure package, use it! They will help you create a fresh resume. Even if you think you have a great resume, take the time to talk to the experts.
- I created a great resume in Canva and it turns out that it isn’t compatible with the HR systems used to collect resumes online. This means no matter how fancy and fun your resume looks, you will never get a call for an interview using those pretty resumes! You can have a pretty resume to use if you are emailing it to someone but you need the other version for online uploading.
- If you don’t have free resources, and you don’t want to hire someone, try using trusted colleagues and friends as a sounding board on your resume.
- Allow yourself to receive their feedback and not take it personal. Their fresh eyes will help you create a better final version.
3. Review Job Boards daily. It just takes a few minutes and you might just catch a new listing allowing you to be an early applicant.
Personal Advice (from Angie and Rachel)
- Be ok with the emotions and let them work for you, not against you. I love the book by Jon Gordon, Coffee Bean and highly recommend it. It is all about how you handle difficult times.
- Take the time to understand what your next step is and what you want for your future. I have been able to become a better version of myself with this gift of time. I encourage you to do the same.
- Be Positive. It is easy to get discouraged. The things that help me most are: surrounding myself with positive people, reading to develop my skills, listening to podcasts that motivate and encourage and lastly, exercise self care!
It’s Your Turn
I hope that this helps you get through your current situation. Once a new job finds you and this time is behind you, make sure you can look back on it with pride about how you handled it and what you learned. It will inspire others who might go through the same situation.
In your Corner,
P.s. if you know someone who can benefit from this post, please share it with them! I encourage you to join the RGS mailing list too. I send one newsletter each week filled with helpful retail content.
Thank you for joining me here today, xoxo