HR Roundtable member Michael Haberman shares his own tale of having to reinvent himself after losing his job many years ago:
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution announced this week, that as a response to the nature of the newspaper business, they were changing the format of the paper. They were doing so to make it more readable, more visually attractive, and easier to handle in order to attract a new generation of readers. They have done so in order to try to be competitive and to keep people employed. I am glad to see they have responded and I wish them success. But what they have done is a good lesson for many of us who have been let go from their jobs. Sometimes you have to make some changes in order to adjust to the world.
I did so some 18 years ago in another downturn age. I was let go in a mass job action. While everyone I knew went scrambling for another job, doing the same thing in another company, I decided to strike out on my own and start my own company. I started helping small companies handle HR issues, and to my good fortune, I remain doing that today. Granted, this was not a complete departure from having been an HR Manager, but I did need to pick up several new skill sets, including selling and marketing.
I know that the immediate temptation is to go and try to find something to immediately replace your income. But for many people that has not happened. So for you perhaps you need to entirely change course in your life. Pursue a different career? Go back to school and get the education you lacked before? There are agencies out there to help you. A group like CobbWorks! in Cobb County administers Workforce Investment Act dollars that are specifically set aside to provide training for people who are trying to change careers. Each county in Georgia has such an agency. (These can be found on the Georgia DOL Web site. There are many trade type companies looking for good people to train. Perhaps you can train as a plumber, a HVAC repairer, electrician, or an auto technician? For women, this may be an area ripe with opportunity to make a higher wage than in clerical positions.
So check out the opportunities. Be open to radical changes. Who knows, you may land some place doing something more satisfying than you have ever done before.