If you’re a job seeker or a candidate, I have a parable for you:
You’re out on the ocean enjoying a luxury cruise when suddenly the ship goes down, and you find yourself on a life raft. You take stock and see that you have provisions to last for weeks. The weather’s not bad, so you decide to kick back and enjoy the solitude. You don’t bother to look for land – let alone pick up the oars and start rowing. You even wave off a rescue ship that crosses your course.
It sounds crazy, right? But that’s just the way many people deal with being laid off. Rather than ‘take the oars’ and start actively looking for their next position, they decide to relax for a few months, to ‘decompress’ or think about their future. Further, they dismiss out-of-hand job prospects that don’t ‘sound perfect.’
Fortunately, things turn out okay for some of these professionals…but not always. Idling away your time is risky, and here are some specific reasons why:
- Companies wonder why you haven’t been able to find a job in six months.
- Your idleness screams ‘lazy’.
- Your rationalization that you wanted to ‘take some time off’ makes you sound unmotivated, which is the opposite of what employers want on their team.
- Eventually, you’ll get desperate; not a quality that attracts employers.
Now for some encouragement. First, don’t feel bad about being laid off; it happens to almost all professionals at some point in their careers. However, prospective employers will be subtly judging how you have handled your layoff. Show yourself to be a self-motivated go-getter who will prove that your previous employer made a mistake.
View your career as your business and steward it carefully. Don’t ‘close your doors’ and expect to be able to reopen in three months with any success.
Stop rewriting your resume – it will never be perfect – and get engaged. Make yourself available and if possible, be willing to relocate; that can make you desirable even if you’re a little light on experience.
With the right attitude and a little time spent ‘rowing’, your next position may be your best ever.