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Gone are the office parties and social festive gatherings of yesteryear, at least for this season!  Maybe you’ve already cringed at seeing the word networking in the title? Whether you are in a career transition or not, remember it is always good to stay in touch with friends, family and past colleagues. You may one day want to ask a question like “Do you know anyone in the ___________ field/industry?”

The pandemic is a perfect opportunity to get back in touch with people from the past.  Many people were reaching out in the spring with a “Thinking of you. How are you?” message.  So many of my clients regularly share how they have lost touch with people from long ago and feel awkward about reaching out.  Now is a good time for a holiday greeting of caring and connection.  If you are exploring a career shift or in the midst of the job search, keep it light and relationship-oriented. You can always follow-up in January.

It doesn’t matter that much whether it’s via Facebook, LinkedIn, email, phone call, text or a nice old-fashioned holiday card.

You might share something like:

“I know I’ve not been in touch for quite a while, but the pandemic got me thinking that I wanted to reach out and share a holiday hello.  I hope you and your loved ones are managing well enough during these trying times. (Can share a bit about yourself.) I look forward to hearing how you’re doing and maybe catching up a bit. Best wishes for a safe, healthy and meaningful holiday season.”

Don’t miss this unique time to reach out and touch someone!  Figuratively, of course!

  • Clarify goals – Although you may have an urge to get your resume out right away, take a little time to process your job loss and decide what you really want for your next steps.
  • Wait before networking – You may also feel an urgency to ask everyone you know if they know of any jobs.  If you take a little time to absorb the loss and clarify your goals, your contact will be better able to help you and you will come across clearer and more positive.
  • Tell a trusted few first – Don’t keep this from important people in your life.  Procrastinating on sharing the news will only be harder on you.  Plus you could use the support right now!  You also don’t want to indiscriminately tell everyone you see since your feelings may be too raw or you may not have a comfortable way of explaining the job loss figured out yet.
  • Apply for Unemployment Compensation – You have been contributing to this system, and this is what it is there for.  Apply on the first day after your last day of working.
  • Apply for COBRA or other health insurance – Be sure to take care of yourself and your family if you have one.
  • Review finances – This might include reviewing your retirement plan or making a budget once you know your severance package and unemployment compensation.  It might be anxiety-producing to deal with the topic of money at this point, but it is better to know where you stand than not know.  You may even be able to plan for taking some time off for retraining, healing, or figuring out career goals.
  • Organize a personal office space – Create a space in your home for your career transition paperwork and activities.  You may want to reorganize the existing desk space, set up filing bins or purchase a computer.
  • Keep a calendar – Although you will have a huge change in routine, you will still be having activities to keep track of.  Initially it may be more personal, but eventually you will be keeping track of networking appointments and interviews or setting goals on your calendar.
  • Stay connected with friends and colleagues – Eventually you will want to tell most friends, family and colleagues so you can get support and perhaps networking contacts.  Be sure not to isolate yourself.

Don’t wait too long – Taking a few days or weeks off after termination can be a reasonable choice if your circumstances allow for it, but waiting too long can increase

© 2008-2020, Karen Litzinger, Pittsburgh PA. Section from outplacement services Career Transition Workbook. All rights reserved. Permission given to reprint or share only in its entirety with this complete by-line and contact information: Litzinger Career Consulting, www.KarensCareerCoaching.comkaren@KarensCareerCoaching.com, 412-977-4029. For alternative use permission, please contact the author.

Do not let your difficulties fill you with anxiety, after all it is only in the darkest nights that stars shine more brightly.” -Hasrat Ali Ibn Abu-Talib A. S.

If we didn’t have darkness we couldn’t experience and appreciate light. Of course, we don’t want stay in the darkness that may come with aspects of career transition, nor would we wish it on anyone.  Yet it is an understandable reality.

Sometimes anxiety or depression can overwhelm us.  Allow yourself to loosen the grip of dark times to enable you to move through it.  See and greet it as a visitor who will eventually leave. Perhaps even ask powerful questions, such as “what can I learn from you” or “how can I lessen your impact?” Listen quietly.

Often energy can be shifted by taking a small step of action.  Perhaps it could be sending a networking email or hitting the apply button on a vacancy.  Equally as important are steps for self-care, such as exercise, an inspirational reading, a favorite song or a warm bath. Or take a small step to bring light to someone, even if simply a caring word to a cashier or a thank you note for a networking meeting.  That may help invite light in and lift some darkness.

If you are in that dark space too long, then consider professional assistance to help shift your heart, mind, and spirit to enable continued healing and career progress.  Eventually the light will shine again and then you can shine your own light to help others. And just maybe your darkness will add depth to allow you to better help others whether in your career or personal life.

 

I accept darkness as part of the human condition and take steps to move forward.

©2017, Karen Litzinger, Pittsburgh, PA. May be reproduced or linked to with this statement and where possible a live link. Litzinger Career Consulting provides career coaching and speaking services. Info at KarensCareerCoaching.com

“Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful.” — Buddha

You may wonder “How can I be thinking about gratitude when I’m in a cloud of career confusion or buried in rejections or deafening silence from applications.”  This is when you need gratitude the most as a coping tool and to help give you perspective. When we focus on lack, it creates negative energy that can paralyze our actions and repel people who may be able to help us.

Each day look for things that are positive.  It could be something small like a beautiful sunset, a favorite food, an email from a friend, or a special moment with your child or pet.  Maybe there could be things about your search process you can be grateful for, such as an email reply, a job prospect, or a networking meeting even if only 5 minutes of it was helpful.  Perhaps there is even something to be grateful for about being in the midst of the search itself, whether getting to spend more time with family due to a job loss or recognizing your courage to explore a new direction.

Consider starting a gratitude journal writing down five short bullets about what you are grateful for each night before you go to bed.  If you’re stuck, then write down that you have a bed to sleep in or a roof over your head.  The next morning before getting out of bed think of one thing you are grateful for, and that can change the course of your day.

Each day I notice things and people I am grateful for.