Career Coach: Life Lesson: You Are Not Your Job
He was hired by the company right after college so he never acquired the knowledge he needed to survive and succeed in a job search. His confidence was demolished because he defined himself by his job. As month after month of unemployment went by, he became more withdrawn. He rarely ventured from his home.
It’s natural to go through a grieving process after a layoff. It’s likely that you’ll want to retreat from the world. My friend thought that he added no value because he was not currently employed. He is mistaken.
Too often people tie their identity to their jobs or their employers. But they are not just animators or artists or production managers or production accountants. They are more than the sum of their achievements on their resumes. Employers might be interested to know what you have done and that should be reflected on your resume. But what employers really want to know is what you can do for them.
Though it’s hard to be upbeat and positive when you have been laid off or are unemployed, try to view this as an opportunity to reinvent yourself. It’s not easy but it’s important to be positive because no one wants to associate with someone who is morose and desperate. Even if you don’t feel it, fake it by smiling and acting cheerful. You may even convince yourself that losing a job is not the end of the world.
Most of us like working with people we know so the more people you know the better it is for you. Most jobs are not advertised. More than 70% of jobs fall into what is called the hidden job market--you hear about an opening through one of your contacts. So it’s important to get out to events or places where you will have human interaction. Spend less time searching for jobs on the computer and more time making connections face to face.
When I was laid off at Virgin Games as the manager of art (my last employer), I was stunned. It was my yearly review and I expected I was getting a raise, not a pink slip. I forced myself to look calm while one of the higher ups told me that I may have to take a job that paid less than I was making at the time. He was wrong. I never took another job. I assessed what I liked most about my jobs and realized it was finding jobs for other people. I became a freelance recruiter specializing in the animation, games and the visual effects industry. That expanded to my career coaching business.