Career Transition in the Face of Layoffs
Recently, I was invited to participate in a Clubhouse interview on supporting jobseekers in career transition in the midst of restructurings.
Prominent Labour Market Trends
The topic of career transition in the midst of layoffs is such a critical topic. Since the pandemic, we have been facing numerous changes.
An unprecedented number of layoffs with leading companies such as Ford, Amazon, Meta, Netflix, and Twitter have raised eyebrows, leaving thousands of employees to search for new jobs. The job search landscape is steadily accelerating in competition.
Many jobseekers have been exposed to the Great Recession, a movement that has propelled them to consider their goals, values, beliefs and their career development and career path.
While they believe they may have more buying power in terms of negotiation for their ideal role, they are also facing increasingly demanding expectations by employers. On the other hand, employers have been forced to reevaluate their hiring and retention strategy as well as their organizational culture.
Quiet quitting is a term that has come to the forefront as much as quiet firing from the employer side. However, the reality is that quiet quitting and quiet firing have been deployed in practice for decades. Employees are reconsidering ways to manage their jobs by not extending beyond their capacity while employers are finding "bandaid" solutions or strategies to deal with a less than productive situation at work.
However, the key is for both employees and employers to engage in an open and honest conversation rather than avoiding the inevitable. Both parties must be willing to make the work experience for each a productive and harmonious one, while infusing a culture of collaboration, equity, and empowerment.
The New Normal vs. the Next Normal
We are no longer facing the "New Normal" as we discussed in the recent Career Jam, but the "Next Normal" - a term coined by McKinsey based on the assumption that there is a before and after; the period before COVID-19 and the new normal that will emerge in the post-viral era - the next normal. Prior to the pandemic, organizations were undergoing digital transformations, and some at a varying pace.
The Challenge of Making Remote Work Actually Work
Another factor to consider is that remote work has changed how people operate, how they think, and view the actual world of work; it has equally impacted our ways of working and communicating. For some, remote work reflects an empowering and quiet haven from the office politics that often exist, while for others, it holds a mirror to having to embrace the complex dynamics of their personal and professional spheres.
We are also seeing the remote-hybrid structures which work for some while for others leave the issue of work-life balance into question. Emotions such as guilt and anxiety about adopting to new work structures are a common theme these days. The concept of work-life integration seems like a more workable solution, yet a constant challenge for numerous professionals.
From the employer side, more remote jobs are taking over and are helping employers to save on employee costs while reengineering the workplace and culture as part of their overall business model and HR and operational strategy.
I have also worked with professionals who are rethinking second careers and third careers. There are those who are actually welcoming retirement as a way to revitalize, recharge, and leverage their hobbies and favourite past times into meaningful adventures.
What will the future of work look like? While we can speculate about the industries that will continue to be in high demand such as tech, healthcare, and data science, others that have been on the recent decline such as retail and hospitality may experience a comeback through innovation.
As career professionals, it is our job to provide the tools that jobseekers need to survive the layoff. Layoffs reflect one of the most devastating events for professionals because layoffs can foster a crisis for our jobseeking clients. They tend to experience emotions from shock to denial to grief and loss, even depression before they actually reach acceptance and embrace the change.
My Customized Strategy
While there are many different change models such as the Change Cycle, Chaos Theory, and Bridges Model, I start with my own customized model that has earned the Career Innovators Honorable Mention Award by CDI:
A-B-C-D Method- affirm, brainstorm, create and discover a new career horizon.
A Affirm - Be assertive, detailed, and focused; Assert your
strengths, unique value and accomplishments.
B Brainstorm - Brainstorm the creative possibilities; be open-
minded, bold, and flexible; think outside the box
C Create - Create exciting prospects and cultivate new
networking opportunities; leverage innovative tools and
resources; construct a bridge to uncover creative solutions;
courageously explore the hidden job market
D Discover a new career horizon - Defog your vision and drive
your purpose; dispel self-limiting myths and beliefs; do your
My method or style of career transition coaching is distinct from other firms or career coaches. I employ a personalized and holistic approach aimed at uncovering why behind client’s issues / concerns that involves storytelling- discussing the challenges, actions/strategies taken, and the impact on their team and organization, known as the CAR Method.
This method delves deep in asking the client forward-thinking questions while positioning the client first as the expert of their own brand. It also involves ikigai coaching, a Japanese term which means one's reason for being to help the client in uncovering their authentic purpose and a strategy for making it work in the real world.
The Importance of Brand Marketing
Brand marketing plays a fundamental role in the job search and career development process in furthering jobseekers' strategic objectives to land lucrative job offers. As career practitioners, it us our job to help clients maintain competitive advantage through taking the steps to refine their brand and understand what they stand for so we can efficiently position them forward.
While the resume is a key brand marketing tool, there are a wide range of innovative tools and resources available that can showcase the client’s value and help them stand apart. A jobseeker's brand must be consistent in-person and online, across all social media platforms. The LinkedIn profile is often the first place that employers will go to learn more about the client's experience and value before they even read the resume.
Potential Obstacles to Consider
Jobseekers face some obstacles when preparing and executing a career transition. For instance, they may not have done their research and may not know what exactly is involved in fostering a career transition. Jobseekers may not have identified a clear career focus, while others may have gaps in their employment history as well as skill gaps.
Glassdoor reports the 10 obstacles that keep jobseekers from changing careers.
· 1. Focusing on What You Lack ...
· 2. Not Knowing What You Want ...
· 3. Lack of Information ...
· 4. Money Worries ...
· 5. Unhealed Trauma ...
· 6. Lack of Role Models and Mentors ...
· 7. Analysis Paralysis ...
· 8. You Think the Past Is a Preview of What’s to Come ...
· 9. Trying to fit in...
· 10. Don’t make it all about yourself...
The critical advice that I would offer jobseekers within this competitive labour market are:
· Be proactive, take responsibility and seek professional
· Invest in rebranding – connect with professionals and
enhance marketable skills
· Never underestimate power of robust resume
· Harness the power of the hidden job market - strategic
networking and referrals play a key role in job search.
· Showcase a robust brand presence on LinkedIn
· Ensure that you never stop learning
"If you really don’t know what you want, take this moment in time as an opportunity to try anything that feels interesting. Have fun exploring, and you’ll discover in the process what feels best. (Hint: you will not find the answer in your head — you need to get out and in action!)"
Listen to the Clubhouse Session:
THOUGHT LEADERSHIP BRANDING Your Career Guide: Branding & Transition in Chaos
Thank you so much to Sharla Taylor, Marie Zimenoff, as well as co-moderators, Jacqueline Connolly-Peros, MPBS, CDBS, Lynda McDonell, Denise Bitler, MRW, CPRW, CIC, CDBS, Jeanne Stoner, CPRW, CPBS, MSIR ☆ Job Search Pro, and to all the Clubhouse members/participants for this engaging and interactive session on career transition in the face of layoffs.
For more information on your next career transition, contact Lori at Creative Horizons Communications at 905.730.2374 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.