The Pink Slip Slump
After multiple layoffs, David had job hunting down to a science. He treated it as his “new job,” spending hours researching companies. He used Act! to track his contacts, calls and letters, and LinkedIn to network. His perseverance paid off, and he’s currently a worldwide director with a large tech company. “If I could give any advice, it would be this: Don’t lose your self-esteem,” he says. “You’re good at what you do. It wasn’t your fault. You’re a good person. That was very difficult for me.”
Colleen Stevenson, a 62-year-old accountant from San Francisco, learned she was being let go while lying in a hospital bed recovering from cancer surgery. After getting over the initial shock, Stevenson spoke with an attorney to see if what her employer had done was legal—and discovered it was. “I can’t describe how far down I felt the day I learned I lost my job. I was hysterical,” she says. “I thought, ‘I don’t know where to go next.’ I felt totally helpless.”
She tried the usual job search techniques, going on Craigslist and other online job sites, but she felt the competition from younger candidates was too much to handle. “Experience works for you in your 40s and maybe early 50s, but I felt that at 60, that wasn’t going to work for me,” she says. “I tested it out but knew I would have to figure out another way.”
Colleen knew that she had survived stage-four ovarian cancer twice—she was going to get through this. She sat down with her husband to examine her finances and realized she didn’t have to rush right into the job market. Although still on disability from her illness, she realized she could officially retire when her benefits ran out. This afforded Colleen the time she’d always wanted to pursue hobbies and activities. “We just finished a six-week road trip,” she says. “I taught myself how to make jewelry. I’m learning things about myself I never would have learned before.”
Though the first 30 days after a job loss can be a time of emotional upheaval, it can also be a defining moment—leading to introspection, growth and better alignment with one’s top interests, skills and passions.
* name(s) have been changed.