A few months ago l got the proverbial pink slip after 15+ years with the company. On that fateful Friday, I was whisked away to a conference room and informed that my services were no longer needed due to “reorganization” (whatever). Then the HR person handed me an empty box and watched as I nervously packed up my gear. Ten minutes later I was escorted out the door. Others received their walking papers that day as well, so at least I wasn’t the only one.
Still, I felt angry, humiliated and shell-shocked. It was bad enough losing a job without warning, but I didn’t even get a chance to say goodbye to people I’ve known for ten plus years. I was especially going to miss the close-knit group from my department who were like family to me. Although I do meet some of them for lunch or happy hour once in awhile, it’s not the same as interacting with them on a daily basis.
I admit I’ve been spoiled and never really thought this would happen to me. It’s a bit disconcerting to be in this position after being gainfully employed for more than 30 years. Even though I’ve enjoyed this time off (God knows, I don’t miss the daily commutes and office politics), I need and want to get back to work. I’m too young for medicare and not ready to collect social security.
Now the big looming question is where do I go from here? I may need to switch careers, which is very likely as most companies in my field want younger, more tech savvy people. I also know I’ll have to take a major pay cut (I’ve come to realize that I was overpaid at my old job).
Turns out, there are quite a few men and women in my position – more mature, seemingly “overqualified” job seekers who just want someone to look at their resumes and take them seriously. These days you’re lucky to get any kind of response! And, if you are one of the fortunate few to get a phone interview, that’s only the first step in a lengthy hiring process. Most bigger companies require rounds of interviews with various decision makers, background checks, etc. before you’re even considered for the position. Gee, that’s encouraging.
The good news is there are valuable resources for the unemployed online and through your state or county. Here are some suggestions:
Check out your local job center. Since I filed for unemployment benefits, I’ve been attending classes through the local WorkForce Center and found them to be quite helpful.Most offer workshops to help you with your resume, interviewing skills, etc. as well as personal counseling sessions. Click here to find job centers near you.
Join LinkedIn. Here you can load your resume, create a profile and network with others. People you’ve known professionally and personally can endorse your skills and recommend you for specific positions, too! It’s one of the best ways to connect with others in your field as well as prospective employers.
Sign up for regular updates from job search sites like Glassdoor, Monster, Indeed, and CareerBuilder. These sites allow you to narrow down your search by occupation and location, and also offer tips on a variety of job-related subjects. I went with daily updates in the beginning, which proved to be a bit overwhelming and redundant. So, I switched to weekly updates.
Find a decent networking group. I highly recommend this because you never know what kind of connections you’ll make at these networking events. Someone you meet may know of a company looking for a person with your skill set and experience. Attending regular gatherings can help boost your morale and keep you on track, too.
The main thing is to believe in yourself and don’t give up. I know it can seem hopeless at times, but be persistent, work on your job search every day or at least several days a week, and take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way. It may take a while to find it, but the perfect job is out there waiting for you!
“Don’t be discouraged. It’s often the last key in the bunch that opens the lock.”