The dictionary says that to “survive” is “to remain alive or in existence.”
Surviving is certainly MUCH better than the alternative, but "graduating" is more positive. And, often, more appropriate!
However, think back to the last time you graduated from something. For most of us, a graduation is the beginning of a new phase of life. We take what we have learned in the recent past, and apply that knowledge to move in a new direction.
Some of the things I learned when I was laid off in 1994 coincide with what other layoff graduates have told me they learned from their layoffs:
Like graduating students leave school, laid off employees leave the employer.
All you need to do is say you’ve been laid off as the result of a down-sizing by your employer that reduced, or eliminated, your department or sub-group.
Particularly with very public layoffs in the past (Lehman Brothers or Enron, for example), it’s clear why you’re in the job market.
This could be the time figure out what your dream job is and pursue it.
People who were laid off from the same high-tech employer I was became:
Just like a graduation or a layoff is a beginning, as well as an ending.
No one employer or job is “your career.” They are part of the process, way stations in the journey that is your career. I think I know where the journey is taking me, but it has made a few unexpected turns in the past, and there are probably a few left in the future.
From the beginning, I considered myself to be a layoff “graduate.” I often got funny looks from fellow “alumni” but I think it helped me see the experience in a more positive light.
In the long run, that layoff was a gift to me. Of course, it didn’t feel that way at the time. That first “payday” with no paycheck to deposit was terrifying. But, the layoff freed me to do this, to run Job-Hunt.org. Which I love.
And, I’m not done learning, yet, I hope! I may not have a new degree or certification, but I am still learning new things. And, in 2013, I became a Visiting Scholar at the MIT Sloan School of Management. Who knows what's next!
What can you learn from your layoff? What do you really want to do next? Who knows what great things are waiting for you!
Online job search expert Susan P. Joyce has been observing the online job search world and teaching online job search skills since 1995. A veteran of the United States Marine Corps and a recent Visiting Scholar at the MIT Sloan School of Management, Susan is a two-time layoff “graduate” who has worked in human resources at Harvard University and in a compensation consulting firm. Since 1998, Susan has been editor and publisher of Job-Hunt.org. Follow Susan on Twitter at @jobhuntorg and on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+.