Preparing To be Layoff, Even Your Position is Safe Now

I received more news about friends getting layoff and connection asking for network opportunities. In 2017, India IT has laid off more than 56,000 employees. In 2016, US job cuts were at 7 years high.

We are not safe. No one is safe. None of us is indispensable. Apple survived as a company and it did not die with Steve Jobs. If you think the company needs you? Think again.

Every business has a Business Continuity Plan. A Business Continuity Plan is a plan that helps the business keep the operation running even if disaster strikes. Do you have a Life Continuity Plan? What happens do you get layoff?

I am not asking you to be paranoid and distrust your company. Far from it, companies do not simply lay off their employees. The decision of lay off has an impact on employee morale and legal consequences to watch out for. Without employees, an office is just a building with no productivity.

Nevertheless, we all have to prepare for the unexpected.

Stay sharp. We have to stay sharp and keep our skill set relevant. Abraham Lincon said it well, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe”. The world is evolving on a daily basis. If you are not growing, you are dying. Here are some tools that you can keep your skills sharp. YouTube. Coursera. CreativeLive. LinkedIn Learning.

Stay in touch. No person is an island. Since the beginning of time, the human race has to stay together in a tribe to stay alive. We may not need to worry about a lion chasing us. We still require a community to stay functional. During trying times of difficulty, we need all the support that we can. Dig your well, before you are thirsty. Stay in touch with your friends. Stay networked.

Stay frugal. Do you really need that brand new car when your current car is still functioning well? Do you need that luxurious watch when your digital watch has served you so well throughout the years? The less that you want to spend the money, the less stress you have.

“For one may celebrate a festival without extravagance.” – Seneca, Epistles XVIII.4

You do not need to be a scrooge. Instead, I am asking you to be mindful of your purchases. Our basic needs are simple. The need for food, water, clothing, shelter and the ability to travel.Try to produce more than you can consume. You will be happier. Earth will be happier as well.

Stay positive. Life is tough. To live is to suffer. We cheer for a heroes’ welcome. The hero who has to face great odds and suffering. Staying positive is to prepare for suffering. When received news that is not favourable, tell yourself, “Yes. I expected that. What can I do now?”. We have to face reality as it is and make the best of it. Something bad happened may not necessarily bad at all.

Zeno of Citium founder of Stoicism survived a shipwreck and landed himself in Athens. He visited a bookseller and learned about Socratic dialogues. He soon studied Cynicism under Creates of Thebes. Eventually, Zeno established himself as one of the greatest philosophers in history. Without the terrible event of a shipwreck, Zeno would not have found his calling.

Be opportunistic. Opportunities are everywhere. Keep your eyes open and trust your gut. You will find that your life is not linear but there are many opportunities hiding in plain sight. Trust yourself and believe in yourself that you deserve better.

Want to have a side hustle? It is not as difficult as you thought. Chris Guillebeau’s podcast called Side Hustle school has more than 300 side hustle stories to inspire you. Trust yourself. Beleive in yourself and watch out for opportunities.

Losing a job is an emotionally devastating event. I love my job and I love what I do. I would be distraught if I get laid off. Life will always deal us a bad hand. We have to play the cards that we have, no matter how bad are the cards. Play the cards to our best ability. Life will eventually deal us cards that are in our favour. Until then, we have to keep improving and staying positive.

Does Money Buy Happiness?

Yes! Money does buy me happiness. I will not quote any scientific research on this claim. Because happiness is not science but an art.

Happiness comes from how we spent the money. If I have a million dollars in my bank account and I cannot do anything with it. I do not think I will be happy.

Here is how I would use my money.

  • Provide a safe accommodation for my family.
  • To provide good health care for my family.
  • Put healthy food on the table for my family.
  • Provide a safe form of transport for my family.
  • Give my children to good education.
  • Once in a while pamper my family with gifts or holiday.
  • To help those in need.

I do not need the latest handphone or the latest car. Those are just things, not happiness.

I am not ashamed that I am very money minded. I work hard for the money. I need the money to buy the necessity for my family.

One way to make the world a better place is not to be a burden to the people around you. Money helps me to ease that burden.

Five Ways to Impress Any Recruiters

A couple of friends has been out of the job for a few months. Whenever I chat with them, I always have a sense of dread. I always ask myself what if I am in their position. Or is there anything that I can help? Not having an income and with bills to pay is a horrible feeling.

Many of the reasons that I have heard are common. There is no reply from the recruiters. There were interviews but no follow up. Was told that the recruitment process takes a long time.

Here are some ideas that might make yourself stand out. I cannot guarantee results, but if I am the recruiter I would be impressed.

Show your work. Forget the boring two-page resume. Unless you have an impressive career. A two-page resume will never stand out.

Take the advice from Austin Kleon the author of Show Your Work!

“Everybody loves a good story, but good storytelling doesn’t come easy to everybody. It’s a skill that takes a lifetime to master. So study the great stories and then go find some of your own. Your stories will get better the more you tell them.”

Do something that you enjoy and share it. Or use your skills to share what you know. This advice is not only limited to arts. Even if you are an accountant, you can share what you know. A common knowledge to you may not be so common to others.

English is not my first language. I am not a trained writer. But I have written articles on life hacking and career management. I have shown my work and grew as a writer. You should show yours too.

Start with LinkedIn’s post article feature. It is a perfect starting point to show your work at no cost and targeting all potential recruiters.

Study the hiring manager. When you have finally secured an interview. Always ask for the hiring manager’s name. Do a Google search or search for the person’s profile on LinkedIn. Study the profile and the person’s achievements.

Find a common interest between you and the recruitment manager. Briefly talk about the common interest before the interview starts. Having common interest creates positive emotion. This positive emotion bonds between the recruitment manager and yourself. Even if you are not able to find a common interest. Be curious about the person’s interest or achievement. The mention of their interest and achievements brings positive emotions. And those emotions get associated with you.

Read up Dale Cargenie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People. It is an old book but remained relevant until today. The chapter on  “Six Ways to Make People Like You” would be particularly useful in this context.

Study the hiring company. Spent time studying the company that you are applying for. Study the following:

  • The history of the target company.
  • The current status o the target company.
  • The press releases from the target company for the last six to 12 months.
  • Commentary from the press on the target company.

In the Art of War, Sun Tzu said

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

Remember, you are not only applying for a job. You should be applying for a career. When you join a company, the company’s identity becomes part of your identity. If you are not proud of the company, you will not be proud of your work. It is better to stay away. Know yourself. Know the target company.

Have a plan. Go into the interview with a plan. A plan that you will be successful in impressing the hiring manager. The recruitment manager’s job is to recruit and not conducting interviews. Conducting an interview is part of the recruitment manager’s job. Understand their perspective and see what they are looking for. Help them to select the candidate, help them to select you. Go into the interview with a 90 days plans to explain how you will start to integrate and contribute to the company if you are being accepted into the company.

Better yet, watch the video by Ramit Sethi on Briefcase Technique. I cannot say it any better.

Address problems immediately. No candidates are perfect. Before wrapping up the interview, ask the recruiter whether he or she has any concerns about your eligibility for the role. If there are, you have to address it immediately. If they are honest with you. It is a wonderful experience to learn about yourself. Even if you may not get the job, but you know what are your gaps.

Follow up. One week after the interview, please have a follow up with the recruiter. Thank the recruiter for the opportunity and check with the recruiter whether there are concerns or legering issues over your chances of getting hired.

BONUS TIP

What if you are still not getting any opportunities? I got that covered as well. Here are some bonus tips when things are just not looking well.

Advertise your skill and work as a freelancer. You can get some ideas what kind of services that you can offer at Freelancer and Fiverr.

Do charity work. Offer your time and expertise to your local charity place. It can be religious or non-religious. By doing charity work, you ensure that you will not let your skills go rusty, you may even learn new skills and making new friends. Through your new found network, you may find further opportunities to expand your horizon.

I know it is difficult. I know it is frustrating. Do not despair. Take charge of your situation and do your best. Things might just turn around for you.