In retrospect it was all very obvious. The boss had been especially jittery. Other employees left and their positions were not filled. And then it came time for you to have a seat with the HR department.
Everyone appreciates you. There just is not enough money to keep you around. They are very sorry. But it’s time for you to leave.
#b#Jean Baur#/b# has witnessed this story more than most. As a senior consultant with Lee Hecht Harrison, an outplacement firm with an office at 989 Lenox Drive, she is often in the next room hoping to inform you that though you have just been made unemployed, you do have options.
Baur will speak on unemployment and on her new book “Eliminated: Now What? Finding Your Way From Job Loss Crisis to Career Resilience” on Wednesday, January 5, at 7 p.m. at Princeton Public Library. To register for this free event, visit www.princetonlibrary.org.
Baur’s book deals with the emotions associated with job loss and uses case studies of real people who rebounded from sudden unemployment in an effort to show that the loss of a job can be an opportunity rather than a crippling dilemma. She has counseled thousands of clients to help them overcome job loss and recession-proof their careers and has trained more than 10,000 middle and senior managers in presentation skills and business writing.
A study released by Rutgers University on December 16 (available in full at http://bit.ly/hDB6q4) found that the majority of long-term unemployed workers are rapidly losing faith in their futures. On her blog (http://blog.jeanbaur.com), Baur offers guidance to those who have been unemployed and might be at their breaking points.
“They’ve either exhausted unemployment or don’t qualify, they’ve tried to find a new job, and now they’re in a state of panic, and they risk losing everything they’ve worked so hard for,” she writes. “There is no easy answer to this, but one thing that I’ve learned from my work with those in transition is that most of us don’t do very well when our backs are to the wall.”
Baur suggests reducing your expenses where you can and seek help where it is available. “If you can’t pay your rent or make your mortgage payments, talk to your bank,” she writes. “See if there are any ways they can help you. Be open to a temporary job that may feel ‘below’ you. Some money is better than no money and will buy you time to look for a better job.”
Baur’s appearance is co-sponsored by the library and NJ Unemployed, the group begun by Katie DeVito aimed at making the unemployed a collective voice (see U.S. 1, December 8).
For those who are newly unemployed, Baur has some simple suggestions.
“What you do in the first few days of job loss matters,” she writes. “And the same applies to how you handle an on-going career crisis. So first of all, recognize that this is an emotional time, a difficult transition, and that you’re not making any big decisions.
“Secondly, you want to keep your dignity intact. You don’t want to lash out at your boss or former boss and co-workers. If you’ve been let go, you need simply to get out of the office and go home.”
Baur suggests starting off with a few phone calls to family and friends, and then taking a walk. “Do something that allows you to burn off some of the hurt and anger,” she writes.
In short, even in the face of job loss, keep in mind that simplicity and calmness are the keys. Besides, “it’s too soon to update your resume or begin calling your contacts,” she writes.