“I woke up in the morning, the day after facing the humiliation of a layoff, with a strange feeling; a feeling intermingled with emptiness, an inexplicable heaviness in the head. My mind is in a whirlpool of confusion on what to do next.”
A friend narrated to me after a few weeks of in a layoff from a job where she had been for 9 years.
Post layoff – what you need is a plan to jump-start your job hunt or just plan ahead on what needs to be done.
As for any plan to take shape, first you need to manage your time to do so effectively.
From searching for jobs on the online job boards to tapping your social network to just brooding about why you were in the layoff while many others were not.. there can be a long or short list to how you want to spend your days ahead.
The faster you plan on an organized and planned schedule the faster you will feel better and rejoin the workforce.
Here are some tips on how to manage your schedule after a layoff. A routine that you had been following for years no longer exists; time to plan a new schedule to get back on track.
Plan a Routine
After battling with the many emotions after a layoff, it is time to restructure a new routine. Not easy at all, since you have been on a regular routine for the many years you have been at your previous job, suddenly everything seems in disarray.
It is time to plan on managing your time so as to fill it meaningfully and bring more routine to your new lifestyle (even though temporary, it pays to plan for an effective job search and peace of mind).
It may be an altogether new routine if you have no experience with working on your own, but never be disheartened; once you plan your weeks ahead it would be easier to get used to the new routine and also enjoy it.
Use whatever means you are most comfortable with – a calendar, your PDA or computer/laptop – the point is to know what time you will allocate for job search, networking, doing house chores, and spending time with family.
Manage your Finances
Plan at least 2 hour a week (how about one hour every other day of a work week – comes to about 3 hours in 5 day work week) to manage your finances. Look up the loans and monthly bills and assess how will the expenses evolve in the coming few months.
Always assume that you might not be in a full-time job for at least 6 months from the time of your layoff. It is better to be pleasantly surprised if you land a job in a couple of months than to be in doldrums of overestimating the job market. If you need some supplement income during your jobs search, you may seek out some legit online jobs that can help you get that extra income and a sense of financial security when you need it the most.
Your skill-set is the vehicle to your destination
Set aside at least an hour a day (that means 5 hours a week or preferably 10 hours a week) to learn a new skill or hone your present ones. If you continue on the job search day after day, the routine and the excruciating wait to hear back from the recruiters or companies can result in a burnout.
Plan now on what new skills you would want to acquire during the job search period, never hesitate to ask around either a career expert or your friends on which areas might be of value to the new job scenario of the 21st century.
Health and fitness would help more than your computer
Spending too much time in front of the computer (as most job seekers do) doesn’t yield as effective results as you may assume they would. It’s easy to get lost in the maze of information overload. Set aside at least half an hour and preferably an hour a day to either go for a morning/evening walk or a trip to the gym. Or just use this hour at your favorite sports activity.
The point is to work your body to pump up the adrenalin – your enthusiasm and mind alertness will follow suit.
Switch off when it is time to switch off
Know when to get away from the job search mode and switch to recreation or family time. Don’t extend your job search hours more than your normal previous work hours; try your best that you keep some quality time for your family. To rejuvenate the mind and be at peace in these trying times you need the refreshing variety of a routine.
A Sample Work day on a Smart Job Search Routine
As a summary if you work say 8 hours a day on your new routine. Here is an example on how it could look like:
9:00-11:00 am – Read and reply emails in your inbox. Read online advertised jobs in your area of expertise, job alerts or other job related subscriptions you subscribe to. (If you have not done so, it is time to do so – create job alerts through your email inbox or through other job boards).
11:00-12:00 noon – Schedule meetings with friends or colleagues who can possibly inform you about an internal opening within a company or call friends who could help. Prepare for any such informational interviews and draft a decent email and schedule follow-up.
12:00-1:00 pm – lunch / break time (add some chores here which might help ease your weekday routine)
1:00- 2:00 pm – Before you get back on the internet, perhaps it is a good idea to manage your finances now. How much savings do you have and how much you need to set aside for present payments and rainy days. Read about money management during this time if you need some guidance. Alternate: go for a post lunch walk or if you like a morning work out switch around your routine to suit your best workout schedule.
2:00-4:00 pm – Time to hone your skills. The most important two hours and you can always alternate between the afternoon hours or morning to assess better productivity. What are your current skill-sets? Are they featuring in the job descriptions presently out there? Will there be jobs in future? What would be the new skills in demand? How can you diversify and reinvent your current skills? Think about these points and make an action plan on how to act on them.
4:00-6:00 pm – Take a short break and work on revamping your resume or making a plan on what new courses or training can help you in future. Do you want to go back to college to acquire a new degree? Think and plan accordingly. If you have to network or attend some seminars it is time to register for them.
Now — Call it a day and spend time with your family now. If you really need to then get back on the computer at night but if you can do without it for a few nights; then just work when it is time to work.
Of course, with priorities and circumstances your plans might change, but always consider job search a full-time job. In the end it is your routine and you decide how you plan around it, the above is a suggestion.
Are these tips helpful? Any other tips that you would like to share on how to manage your time after a layoff?