Article, light at the end of the tunnel, By Wayne Pagani :

Dealing with job loss – there is a light at the end of the tunnel
By Wayne Pagani, MCRS, MCIS, MCCS

Job loss, downsizing, layoff – these are all terms that we rather not have to deal with. Yet, these days they are increasingly becoming a part of our daily conversations and, for many, an unfortunate reality. If you are dealing with such a situation, don’t despair. There is a light at the end of the tunnel and here is how you can find it.

You did not Checkout your Skills at the Door

Once you closed the door to your last job, it’s important to remember that you retained all the experience, skills, and abilities that you applied on the job. These talents will drive your return to work and career transition plan. List your strengths and start looking at how you can apply them as you move forward. Know your weaknesses and use this opportunity to focus on strengthening them.

Develop Your Leaving Story

How you plan to tell your story will be particularly critical as you prepare to engage in a strategic job search. Don’t get stumped or – even worse – embarrassed, simply because you weren’t prepared. Put your story on paper and get comfortable with knowing your response. You will be asked the question at some point as you network and perform interviews. How you convey your message will certainly influence your outcomes. Have a positive summary that will answer the question without belabouring it – and certainly not by bashing a former employer.

Take Your Time to Regroup

If you have just left your previous job, there’s no rush to get back to work immediately. It may seem that way – especially at first, but this may not be in your best interest. Often people jump into the first thing that comes along only to end up in a miserable dead-end job or business partnership. Others start self-marketing without really knowing what they are marketing or to whom. Don’t forsake the opportunity to invest the time and effort in making sure that you make the best career decision. Perform an initial self-assessment. Determine where you are in your career, how you will manage your expenses, and what next steps will give you the best return on your job search investment.

Be Proactive in Your Search

To perform your job search, you need to proactively learn about the labour market as it applies to you. Keep up with what is happening in your industry, current trends, and future areas of business growth. There are a number of tools at your disposal, take advantage of them. Government resources, industry associations, and economic development websites are abundantly stocked with resources, news, and information. Subscribe to journals and newspapers, also connect with your favourite RSS feeds and have information find you instead of you spending the time to find it.

Create your Personal Board of Directors

Be so bold as to form your own personal board of directors to contribute to your career development. If this approach works in business, then why wouldn’t it work for you? Surround yourself with leaders and successful people who can help to elevate your own endeavours. Once or twice a year, plan brainstorming sessions with your BOD – either individually or in a group. Your entire group is likely to benefit from the process depending on the chemistry and dynamics.

Get Great References

Give some thought to your references. Make sure that you take time to maintain regular contact with them. Include and inform them throughout your job search. Provide them with details of what your potential employers are looking for so that they are better prepared when the recruiter or employer calls for a reference check. Give your references regular updates and, from time to time, find creative ways to thank them for their support.

Get Professional Support

If you received outplacement services as part of your severance package, then engage the provider. At the very least, see what they have to offer. Most of the best and dominant leaders in our industries today engage the services of personal or professional coaches. If you don’t have the advantage of an outplacement service, look for the best professional to support your needs and partner with them to get a competitive advantage. In this shrinking labour market, every little bit will make a huge difference.

Stay optimistic. Losing a job can be a painful and deflating experience. However, over time you will rebound and position yourself to make the most of a bad situation. If you are currently dealing with job loss, there will come a time that you will succeed in your search. By bringing everything that you do in your career transition into your next role, you carry forward all the assets that you left with from your last job, all that you gained in between, and secure valuable long-term insights into how to maintain a sustainable, leading-edge career perspective for the future.

May this be the crisis that leads you to the opening of a new door – the light at the end of the tunnel where your greatest career potential will be found.


Wayne Pagani is known for connecting people with people, resources, and opportunities. He is an award-winning, master certified resume, interview, and career strategist. As senior consultant for Graham Management Group, Wayne assists executives, managers, and six-figure professionals through the full scope of career transition. You can contact Wayne and find further information and articles directly at


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