Gone are the days when you graduated from high school or college and work for the same employer until retirement. Yes, we’ve all heard it a million times over. The economy is up, it’s down. I returned into the work force this past summer after going crazy being a stay at home mom for the past 5 years. I was working in a HIGH, HIGH end furniture business as a project manager. But when the 2 million dollar project wasn’t landed by the sales rep, the company couldn’t afford to keep me on.
Being surplussed and being fired are two extremely different beasts. The company still likes you, it’s not that you did anything wrong – in my case, as in many that I see, it’s the last one in the door in times of financial business trouble that are the first ones to be let go.
You’ve been surplussed – now what? Here are things that I would recommend:
#1 – Tell someone immediately that will be there to emotionally support you when you need it. It can be embarrassing to tell another person, but do so immediately. If you are in a situation where you have been surplussed you probably understand exactly why it happened in a business sense – but that doesn’t mean that you’re not going to hear Donald Trump in your head saying “YOU’RE FIRED”. Have at least someone that will be the one to remind you that it really wasn’t you – it was the business.
#2 – Apply for UNEMPLOYMENT. Do this the very same day that you have been surplussed. NO, it wasn’t your fault that you are in this situation and you probably qualify for unemployment. You can apply for this online. You need to do this now because there is a one week waiting period from the time that you apply before you can start receiving benefits. It took less than half an hour to find the website for my state and apply. Find that website and get this done. Know what you are going to be receiving for benefits, what you need to do to keep receiving them, and how much to expect.
#3 – Take a little bit of time to feel sorry for yourself. I am that annoying person that pops out of bed at 5 am excited to start the day. I was let go on Friday afternoon. Saturday morning I stayed in bed until 11, Donald Trump resounding in my head. I let out all my negative thoughts. Then I referred to my emotional support person from #1. He held me while I cried and listened. WARNING – don’t let this go on for very long. Get to #4 as quickly as possible.
#4 – UPDATE YOUR RESUME!!! Please take at least an afternoon to really sit down and review your resume. Read through it – update your job history, your responsibilities, and make sure your contact information is accurate. This is a great time to make sure you have a strong reference list and cover letter. There are many resources online for these. Make sure you have PAPER AND ELECTRONIC COPIES AVAILABLE.
#5 – IF YOU HAVE THE LUXURY, DON’T BE DESPERATE IN TAKING THE NEXT JOB. Yes, I have bills too that need to be paid. This is why it’s important to understand your unemployment benefits. You may need to take a lower paying job than what you had before to make ends meet…but that doesn’t mean you need to settle there. Daily search for job opportunities on websites, sign up for text or email notifications, inquire in areas that you are interested in. Use resources like Indeed.com and LinkedIn. Find what web sites local employers are posting to. There are also education programs that are offered in some areas to those that suffer job loss that are offered at a reduced cost or sometimes are even free. This is a great way to learn a new marketable skill that could get you an even better job!
I know that you still may be hearing that voice saying “YOU’RE FIRED” in your head. But in a surplus situation – it really wasn’t you, it was just a bad business situation.