Lessons from a Layoff – Part 1

“He adds the Super to the natural”

– Pastor John Gray

Recently, I ran into a high-level VP from one of the Big 10 Corporations I’d had the pleasure of working for in the past. While we spoke, he told me something you don’t hear every day: he was actually happy– ecstatic, even –about having been laid off! This was unexpected, to say the least. Anyone you meet who’s been recently laid off might mention their frustration, as they scramble after having a wrench thrown in their situation. Yet, here was my former boss, overjoyed by the fact he no longer had to command hundreds of people on a daily basis. After many years, he was finally finding time to refocus on being responsible only for himself. And his happiness was infectious– it caused me to reflect back on when I had a similar experience earlier in my career.  

At first, you might think, ‘What good could possibly come from being downsized?’ But, there are take-away lessons from every difficult situation, including the unforeseen ones that force you to change job paths.  

When I lost my job, I ended up taking a tour of my local employment office for the first time. There, I found a wealth of resources that ended up being keys to the entrance door that revamped my career. 

Facts you might not know about your local employment office

  1. A local employment office provides one-on-one coaches to help you focus on the skill sets needed for you to succeed. 
  2. It has federal funding to retrain people for certifications and all the dream courses that target business areas that will ensure you shift to the right job path.
  3. It provides interim work, transportation tokens to interviews, if needed, and can pay you in different ways.

The key lesson for me was that unemployment comes with a shift to rename your situation to a more appropriate term called “job transition.” This was my new code word I started to use.  The rationale was “unemployment” language has such a negative connotation. With this insight, I removed the weight of my job woes and the heavy loads taking up a lot of my mental space. I was freed to a new way of thinking about the job search process.

I wasn’t working, but nonetheless took the time to work and focus on where I decided my job transition journey was to take me. This knowledge completely changed my life. It also allowed me to positively direct the subsequent interview discussions for jobs I vied for.  I composed my story to use the following pitch:

I decided I wanted my job transition to shift toward applying my cloud computing, agile, and engineering management expertise on a highly productive team where I could drive a successful project delivery.

Takeaway tidbit: take the front driver seat and the wheel to guide your job transition journey. 

Take Action

Write down your job aspiration, expressing where you want to go and what your dream position looks and feels like for you. Release the past and begin your journey to expand your job vision.

Don’t pick a job with great vacation time.  Pick a career that doesn’t need escaping from.


In the next Lessons Learned from a Layoff Part 2, I will discuss training strategies to move you to new heights where you can command top dollar salaries.  Come with me on the journey of how I reached my supernatural dream job and connect via my contact form.

Image via https://www.flickr.com/photos/wocintechchat/
Shared courtesy of Creative Commons 2.0.

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