21 June 2017

Being Intentional After A Layoff

One week ago today, I was laid off. It's still rather surreal. But I believe even in a layoff, one can be intentional.

Today, working for a company more than a few years is rare. There was a time when being an employee for one, two, or even three decades was admired and rewarded. In the tech industry, three years seems the average. 

After three years, a worker can become an oddity. With nine years at AOL, I must've been a fossil. I wondered sometimes if people thought I had no ambition to "climb the corporate ladder." Or if I was one-dimensional and didn't wish to better myself. Else, why would one stay at the same job for nine years?

For me, being Senior Project Manager for Engadget was fun and challenging - two things that a job must be if you're to remain at it. While not every day will be fun, you should overall enjoy your coworkers and enjoy going to work each day. By challenging, I don't mean that every day is a struggle - although some will be - but that you are presented with tasks and situations that require your skills to resolve.

When a job overall isn't fun and isn't challenging, it's time to move on.

There were moments when I considered moving on from AOL but the timing wasn't right. I didn't have a peace about leaving. Fact is, I was unlikely to get fired from my gig and just as unlikely to quit. Being laid off was the only way the Lord could move me onto the next chapter.

People are stunned when they find out you've been laid off. And while many aren't sure what to say, I've been asked three questions in one form or another consistently:
  1. Did you see this coming? While I knew Verizon's purchase of Yahoo would lead to layoffs, I had no indications that I would be a laid off.
  2. What's next? I honestly do not know. Maybe I continue with tech publications or project management. Maybe I lead app product development. Maybe I return to broadcast radio or television production or marketing. Or maybe I go into the ministry or write novels. I honestly have no idea and while that's a little scary, I have a peace that the Lord will clarify and He will provide. He always has.
  3. How can I help? Pray. Please pray that I know beyond a shadow of a doubt what it is I need to be doing and where. Pray that I have a peace on that decision and that all other options are clearly presented as paths not to take. 
Also, you can help by looking at my LinkedIn resume and letting me know if you come across anything relevant.

For now, I've been given a gift. I have to be intentional and look at this situation as a gift. I have a chance to enjoy the summer even more than usual with my family. I have a chance to rebuild myself - to start over or strengthen. This is also a chance to honestly show my faith. Some have expressed how encouraging I have been to them in my processing of these changes. While that's a blessing, I know that I am not perfect. Last Friday, I was snippy with Kim & G and have been processing every emotion from being content to thinking that I'm discarded garbage. That my skills weren't good enough to be kept.

But these are toxic thoughts and not being intentional. Being intentional during a layoff means:

  1. Updating your LinkedIn - It's the easiest way to find a new job and network. Update your Recommendation section. Nothing showcases your skills and personality better than peer reviews of coworkers and supervisors.
  2. Tell friends and family how to pray for you - Everyone will want to "pray for you" but you'll help them and yourself by telling them how to pray for you specifically. Then, keep them updated so those prayers can be accurate.
  3. Be willing to be willing - Unless you plan on going into a similar job, be open to change. This is a transition period. Embrace it as much as possible.
  4. Enjoy the time - Make it a priority not to rush into another position. Spend time with family an friends. Try a hobby. Go on a trip. Relax. Breathe.

Here's to the next chapter...