After working for Kodak for 26-1/2 years, I was laid off a few months ago. They do have a really good severance package, so my first official day of being an ex-employee was yesterday. I'm sure that there are thousands, possibly millions, of people out there who have lost their jobs over the last few years. For any politicians out there: It's the economy, stupid! For everyone else, I have a few thoughts.
For years, I thought that getting laid off was the worst thing that could happen to me (career-wise). By for years, I do mean for years. There have been lay-offs at Kodak for almost all of those years. Not only were you subjected to the constant worry of job security, but raises were either very, very small or non-existent, promotions weren't and employee "contributions" to benefits got bigger every year.
Why did I stay? A good question that I'm not sure that I have a good answer for. I think I stayed because of Kodak's reputation (possibly undeserved) of being a great employer, optimism, inertia and fear. Fear is probably the biggest reason. I didn't know if I could find as good a job and be able to support my family. I still don't know, but am about to find out.
There are a few things that I have discovered over the past couple of months:
1. I love being home and pottering about.
2. I'm also starting to get a bit (but only a bit) bored
3. I feel really good. Really, really good. Apparantly, you have no idea how much stress you're under until it's gone. There have been no headaches, backaches, general aches/pains, heartburn, allergy symptons, etc. since I was told that I was laid off.
4. It's time to figure what I want to be when I grow up, or at least head in that general direction.
5. The thought of networking almost petrifies me. I have to get over this as it is obvious that it is one of the number 1 things that contribute to successful job hunting.
6. Job hunting takes a lot of time and I mean a lot of time. I read the business section, review company's web sites, review job search sites, review training opportunities, eliminate jobs/companies that I don't want to work for and try to figure out what I do want to do.
7. It was surprisingly difficult to apply for a position for the first time in decades. I managed and I sure hope that it pans out because it's a pretty nifty job.
8. No, I'm not pinning all my hopes on one job. There are lots out there and I just have to get out there and apply for them.
9. After getting laid off once, the fear is pretty much gone. If I should land a job that I really don't like, well then, I can either make it work for me, or look for another. I am going to take more control of my career.
10. My family is incredibly supportive: they listen, talk, offer suggestions, push, help network, help with wardrobe, etc. I am very lucky.
I'm thinking that getting laid off may be one of the best things (as least career-wise) that has ever happened to me.