8 steps to survive being a “stayer”…

Your employer has announced layoffs and extended early retirement to a number of employees. You’re among the employees who are not leaving and, at least for now, will remain employed. We often consider the colleagues who are staying the lucky ones, yet, don’t realize that this is an emotional and challenging time for them, too. This really hit home recently as my husband’s coworkers were dealing with the restructuring at his company. Some of my friends are going through this transition in other companies as we speak. 

Are you one of the ‘stayers’? Having a job is a privilege.

But, how do you manage the emotional roller coaster you’re on?

How does this situation impact your career now and in the future?

These eight steps will help you minimize your stress and successfully navigate through this unsettling and unpredictable transition. 

Appreciate your peers. 
Help express the value of their contributions to your team and the company. Your expression of their value may be more important than that of your team’s boss or other leaders, because you work side-by-side each day. 

Work through your own emotions. You may feel guilty. You may feel deep concern for those leaving. You’re unsettled about what may happen next…what may happen to you. What’s it going to be like when your coworkers are gone?  Recognize your emotions. Give yourself space to grieve. But, don’t stay at this low point. See the “glass half full”.
 
Listen as those who are leaving work through their own emotions. Be empathetic. Stay away from rumors, negativity and blaming. 

Influence the redistribution of work given to you. The workload has to be shouldered by the remaining team. Make the reorganization process easier on your boss by expressing your interest in responsibilities where your skills align, or where you’d like to enhance your experience.  Be honest with your leader about your bandwidth and ask about priorities to ensure expectations are understood. 

Seek new opportunities that may become open to you. Some gaps now exist in key responsibilities. Leverage sponsor and ally relationships to position yourself for consideration. 
 
Rebuild your network. Some of your allies and sponsors may now be gone. Stay in touch with these individuals to maintain connections. Reach out to form new and strengthen existing relationships with internal stakeholders over time. Don’t wait until you need something to make contact. 

Be prepared for what may lie ahead. Proactively consider possible contingencies in case you are impacted at some point. However, don’t jump ship too soon. The grass is not always greener elsewhere. Things may turn out better than expected if you stay put. Weigh your options carefully. 

Be ready to move on with the new environment with grace. The business is moving on around you. Decide that you’ll worry less about the things you can’t control. Maintain a positive spirit and be a catalyst toward a bright future. 

And if you need help to survive being a stayer download our free guide Getting the most from your mentor.

5 steps to surviving a career transition

“Fortune 100 Company Lays Off Employees” “Corporate Restructuring Offers Early Retirement to Hundreds of Employees.” You see these headlines all too often. You may have been personally impacted or know someone who has by announcements like these. My family has been personally impacted by both.

An unexpected layoff or early retirement brings with it a lot of anxiety and emotion. It raises serious questions that weigh heavy on your mind… “How can this happen after I’ve given so much to the company for so many years? How long will it take to get a new job? How will I continue to provide for my family? Will I have enough retirement income to pay for insurance and our monthly living expenses?”

What do you do if you find yourself downsized out? How do you exit as gracefully as you can and transition smoother than you thought possible?

These 5 steps are your keys to getting through this.

Step 1. Love yourself first

Don’t take this personal. Downsizing happens as a matter of keeping companies profitable and competitive. However, these are never easy decisions for the company to make. Don’t blame yourself or others. Blaming becomes a barrier to moving forward. Besides, it won’t make a difference anyway. Your first step is to discover and learn to appreciate who you are and the value you bring. Reflect on what you’ve accomplished. You’ve grown in experience, talents, and skills. You have value! Create a “My Value” list by writing your reflections down. You’ll be able to come back to this list when you need encouragement. Give yourself space to deal with and work through the emotions. But, don’t stay in that space. Let the best in you inspire you.

Step 2. Leave with a good reputation

Decide that you’re ready to move on. Once announcements are made, even if you have time before you physically leave, the organization is already moving on without you. Do what you can to bring some closure to current projects. Leave your work organized and easy for someone to pick up after you’re gone. Assist with the transition. Be as objective as you can. Don’t participate in negative talk. You want to be remembered for your value. You never know where paths will cross again in the future.

Step 3. Look ahead

If you were sitting with a fortune teller, what would she see in her crystal ball for you? What would you want her to say you have to look forward to? Feel hope and look ahead to imagine the possibilities. What have you always wanted to do? What are you passionate about? Where can your experience and skills add value to the next stage of your career? Use the resources the company may make available to help you transition. Take advantage of the benefits of outplacement services immediately and fully. You may feel embarrassed to go to the outplacement or the unemployment office. Don’t be. Use these to the fullest. Light your path forward with a plan to make your vision reality. Everything won’t be crystal clear as you begin but will grow clearer as you progress.

Step 4. Leap forward

You have the courage within you to leap forward! From your reflections in these prior steps, you know you are a person of tremendous value! The best-laid plans need action. Dedicate your attention and time to your next chapter. It will take courage. You will experience disappointments. But, remember, a “NO” doesn’t mean failure, it means “Next Opportunity”. In the animated Christmas show, “Santa Clause is Coming to Town”, Kris Kringle sings “Put One Foot In Front of the Other” when he’s trying to help the Winter Warlock change his evil ways. The Winter Warlock’s first step began to change everything for himself. His life was so much better as a result. Leap forward with the courage to act by taking a step at a time. You have what it takes!

The Kris Kringles in your network and support system are willing and waiting to help you move ahead. More people than you know have been in a similar situation and are glad to help you as others have helped them. It’s important to cultivate your network on an ongoing basis. Your next opportunity is often as good as your network. A word of caution, don’t just reach out to people when you need something. Relationships are reciprocal. Genuinely reach out and be willing to see how you can lend a hand.

Step 5: Look Beyond to New Possibilities

I was recently back home in the mountains of West Virginia and was reminded of how beautiful a hike up the mountains can be in the spring. Once you reach the summit, you can look at the beauty and grandeur of the terrain. The view stretches as far as the eye can see. Like the boundary-less view of the horizon, your step forward opens new possibilities. Continue to dream! You never know what lies ahead for you.

The beginning of this transition seems daunting and uncomfortably uncertain. Have faith that your higher power will get you through this. 2 Chronicles 20 was empowering for me. I pray that these 5 steps and this scripture will be empowering for you.