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How To Recover From A Layoff: Recovery = Resilience

How To Recover From A Layoff: Recovery = Resilience

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By CAREEREALISM-Approved Expert, Melissa C. Martin

The following post was inspired by the 33 rescued Chilean miners. What an inspiration they are! Their experience resonates resilience. You’ll soon understand what I mean.

Recently, I posted an article, “Facing A Layoff: 10 Ways To Deal With The Signs.” Here’s the sequel: How To Recover From A Layoff.

Recently, I started to work with a new clientele: unemployed adults who are recovering from severe and persistent mental illnesses. The following post is taken from researcher Marsha M. Linehan, who authored the book, The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills, a workbook for bipolar disorder where one uses DBT to regain control of your emotions and your life. Perhaps you are questioning why I am referring to bipolar disorder or DBT in a career blog! In my previous post, I commented, “Layoffs hit our psychological jugular (I just created the term in this context). Emotions run awry.” If you are laid off, there are some raw emotions involved, UNLESS you focus on recovery from a layoff. Don’t worry, you can do it!

Marsha refers to a DBT skill called “distress tolerance skills.” These are skills that “get you through a crisis situation without engaging in self-destructive behaviors that likely would make the situation worse for you.” Let’s face it, if you have been laid off for some time, it is far easier, especially in a crisis, to opt for negative behaviors that may decimate your faltering confidence and delay your recovery from a layoff.

I have adapted RESISTT to a successful job search:

Reframe. Instead of concentrating on what things have gone wrong in your job search, think of what’s gone right. For example, re-framing the layoff experience could be something like, “I honestly disliked my last job anyway. If I had stayed for another year, I would have hit rock bottom. The layoff opened the door to improving my chances of breaking into a new career. The layoff wasn’t as traumatic as I once thought!”

Mindfully engage in an activity. Many activities produce better results in a job search. These are activities that engage your mind. The possibilities are endless…

Do something for someone else. Take a break from your job search. Help someone else who is struggling or volunteer your time or expertise. Volunteerism will sharpen your existing skills and employers will take notice on your revised résumé.

Intense sensations. In a physical sense, this refers to extreme conditions, such as taking a hot bath or a cold shower. In another context, if a sensation is coming from inside you that could improve your job search, explore that sensation. Perhaps it is a sensation from your abdomen? It could be the breakthrough in your job search.

Shut it out. A drawn out job search is more likely to plague the mind with negative thoughts. See the “reframe” reference above. The negative words associated with a layoff could fill this page. Shut them out of your mind, even temporarily.

Think neutral thoughts. Maybe you’ve sent out X number of applications and have not received an interview invitation yet. Think neutrally. The hiring could be stalled or the employer may be on the brink of landing a lucrative contract, which could result in bringing in your expertise. Remember, you will achieve better results if you brand yourself as a solution-builder with an employer, rather than a “generic” job seeker.

Take a break. Get off the electronic job board highway. Take a detour. Job boards only yield a 1-3% success rate. Do something for yourself. Go to the gym (the best anti-depressant!), have a coffee with a friend, spend time with your pet or just do what it takes to take your mind.

Do something completely different from job searching.

Try the RESISTT technique and give it ample time to bolster your job search.

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