Bouncing Back from Job Loss - Q&A
Updated: Mar 14, 2021
I partnered with Elev8Me and General Assembly on Friday 7 August 2020 to run a webinar on emotional resilience in job hunting - "Bouncing Back from Job Loss". So many questions, so little time. So I've answered the rest here.
Q. Should you still ask for conversation with your superior for performance appraisal, direction and goal in times like this?
A. Performance appraisal, direction and goals – absolutely. More than ever you need to find purpose and fulfilment in your work, and performance planning for the year ahead is one way to do that. Pay increase requests are a personal choice. I believe that every year your income should increase at least with CPI (Consumer Price Index), otherwise you’re earning the same but goods and services cost more (so you’re essentially losing money). Saying that, these are interesting times and it’s up to you to decide if you feel it’s appropriate and tactful to ask for a pay rise. Ask yourself: what feels right? And ask yourself: if they say no, will I still valued enough to stay? If the answer is no, probably time to start job hunting on the side, as I’d suspect you’ve been undervaluing yourself for a while and it’s caught up to you and you’ve hit your threshold. Whatever choice you make, remember you set your own worth.
Q. How do we explain career gaps when being let go from a company? What kind of answers are deemed acceptable?
A. I say own your career gaps - they happened, they are part of your career history, so you can’t and shouldn’t hide them (never lie on a CV - you break trust with yourself then. Like an athlete who dopes, will you really be able to celebrate your success?). How you choose to talk about them in interview and how much you choose to disclose is up to you. For example, if you spent a year travelling instead of saying you wanted party in Contiki, you could instead articulate why you went, what you discovered about yourself and the world, and how that’s shaped your career direction now. So find out how you can frame being let go. At this point, with so many people being let go, employers won't be able to have too much stigma around this! It will only be a problem if you make it a problem.
Q. I believe I’m skilled but I don’t know where I can chunk up or laterally. Are there any resources to find the skills language to chunk up?
Q. How can I overcome rejection from past interviews which I have for my job?
A. Doing the activities from the webinar and using the tools on the “Own your own state” slide. Plus, obviously coaching to help you build that confidence back up.
Q. My organisation has been restructured, due to COVID, uncertainty, and lack of manpower, so my team were asked to take on additional roles. Understand that change is constant. How should I reject if I do not want to take on additional roles when my current role has a heavy workload? Any advice?
A. Peaks and troughs, and additional duties or busy periods are part of every workplace and role. What matters is how long the peaks last – if this is permanent and unsustainable for you, build your confidence up and have the conversation with your leader. Decide on the angles that truly matter to you – is it fairness, wellbeing, potential impact to quality of work? Whatever it is, it’s up to you to set your boundaries. And if they aren’t met, perhaps it’s time to look for an organisation that provides an acceptable workload?
Q. Could you share your 2 cents about the readiness of current employers to have open minds toward applicants who don’t tick all the boxes?
A. All job ads are a wish list – if you have 70-80% of the required skills and experience, the other 10-20% can be growth opportunities. If you grow and work on yourself and your own energy, openness and readiness, you’ll attract employers that do the same and that hire you because of, not despite, your gaps.
Q. I started a new job last year and was let go during the probation period for not fitting into the culture. What can I say to future employers when they ask why I left? I can't say I was laid off because I was replaced a month later (and this was before the pandemic).
A. I answered this on the webinar, here’s a more thoughtful response. First – I’m sorry that this happened. Second, this isn’t personal and I’d suggest that if they didn’t feel you were fitting into the culture, then perhaps that place didn’t have the right culture for you. And that’s ok – congratulations for finding that out nice and early so you can move on to find a place that does align with you. Ironically, over the weekend this article about why you shouldn’t hire for cultural fit was posted to LinkedIn. And something I’ve known for a long time is managers tend to hire themselves, which makes for limited diversity and skills within teams. You dodged a bullet. How to communicate this to future employers? It’s up to you. You can either disclose that you didn’t feel it was the right cultural fit, or explain that you weren’t quite what they were looking for. Lastly, decide on the culture you want to work in. When you get clear about this and committed to finding it, you’ll get the right role that appreciates the diversity you bring.
Q. Can you recommend courses to help to get this resilience? Especially the one you have done and were happy with the outcome?
A. I’ve mostly done NLP and coaching courses, and personal development courses. We’ve got a Group Coaching Program coming so book a free Clarity Call if you’re interested to see if you qualify to join.
Q. I'm looking for a career change but unsure of the direction. Do you have any tips about finding a job that's personally fulfilling?
A. Um, yeah that’s like the whole point of Career Coaching haha! Career Coaching will give you the clarity of what options and pathways there could be for you, and also help you find work that you feel aligned, congruent and in flow with. Work that has you making an impact, and leaving a legacy. As well as putting coin in the bank. There’s no point loving what you do but being so stressed about finances that you can’t enjoy the work. So another tip is something I just discovered and love – Ikigai (article is average, but it’s the diagram I love!).
Q. I'm looking to turn my passion for writing into a career I can live off. Any idea on a starting point?
A. Write and share as much as you can. Submit your stuff to websites, blogs, magazines, etc. Find the channels that publish the topics you like to write about. Then start to get paid for it – freelance, or take a writing job, or build a business.
Lata Hamilton is the Founder & CEO of Passion Pioneers, an Executive Coach and Change Leadership Trainer. Sign up to her Change Inspiration mailing list here to get weekly goodies such as articles, templates, tools, videos and upcoming courses direct to your inbox.