In my career, I have lost my job twice without knowing it was coming. One very poorly timed layoff just days before I closed on my first home. The other was in 2008. I worked at a startup that ran out of funding. I was the lowest paid and last person on the team to be let go.
Each week, we would shed a few more team members. More of my friends. I still remember my last day, sitting in the giant room that was once filled with desks and laughter. Instead, the room was bare – wires, windows, and dark offices. The ugly brown carpet stood out more than ever. I still remember the echo every time I made a noise. I spent most days spinning in a chair without a desk to even put my laptop on.
None of my experiences begin to compare to what’s happening right now.
I know the panic. The fear. The feeling of knowing nothing and everything all at once. But that was happening in my silo. Seven times more people lost their jobs the week of March 23rd than any week of 2008 [Citation], and that number just keeps rising.
After A Layoff Lessons: Four Questions To Ask
I stand with the majority of people when I say I’m tired of the productivity pom-poms; being productive right now is hard. However, I don’t want you to feel stuck in the mud. It’s hard not to right now. Then add losing your job.
After a layoff, I found myself craving small steps forward while things transform into some version of our lives again.
This worked for me. I’m the kind of person that needs priorities, or I’ll putz (thanks, ADHD). I can’t focus when there’s so much chaos in the world. So instead of putting on the pressure to pretend everything is normal (which clearly, it is not), I asked myself these four questions.
- What do you want to create or do in 6 months that you’re not doing now?
- What can you do immediately to pay bills?
- What former managers can you call? Psst use this networking hack.
- What process can you improve in your life to make things easier after all this?
I finally had some confidence about what to do next. Knowing what to do next to invest in your present and future can feed that anxious energy to figure it all out at once.
Don’t worry about learning new channels or building something from 0. Go where you love to be online and ask for help. Your people will help you, don’t be shy. That’s what community is for.
Hell, ask me. I’m here to help.
Katrina (Kat) Kibben [they/them] is a keynote speaker, writing expert, and LGBTQIA+ advocate who teaches hiring teams how to write inclusive, unbiased job postings that will get the right person to apply faster.
Before founding Three Ears Media, Katrina was a CMO, Technical Copywriter, and Managing Editor for leading companies like Monster, Care.com, and Randstad Worldwide. With 15+ years of recruitment marketing and training experience, Katrina knows how to turn talented recruiting teams into talented writers who write for people, not about work.
Today, Katrina is frequently featured as an HR and recruiting expert in publications like The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and Forbes. They’ve been named to numerous lists, including LinkedIn’s Top Voices in Job Search & Careers. When not speaking, writing, or training, you’ll find Katrina traveling the country in their van or spending some much needed downtime with the dogs that inspired the name Three Ears Media.