Nancy Collamer: Good afternoon everyone.
Anonymous: Is there anything I can do PRE-LAYOFF to prepare myself?
Nancy Collamer: You've heard it one hundred times before -- networking is the single most effective way to find another job. While you're still employed you have a multitude of reasons for contacting colleagues, vendors, co-workers and clients. Use this time wisely (and creatively) to expand and strengthen your networking web: Attend industry association meetings. Volunteer to chair a committee or upcoming event. Set up breakfast and lunch meetings with as many contacts as you can comfortably arrange. Set a goal of having at least two face-to-face networking sessions each week. Check in with former co-workers who are now at other companies. Activate (or clean-up if needed) your online social networks Send articles of interest to key contacts with a short note saying, "Thought you'd find this intriguing. Hope all is well-look forward to catching up with you soon." Be careful to use discretion when deciding how much of your personal situation to discuss during these meetings. The last thing you need right now is your boss learning about your desire to work elsewhere. The real purpose of your networking efforts should be to solidify your relationships with these people now, so that you'll feel more comfortable calling on these people for assistance in the future.
Delran, N.J.: Hi, I was laid off during the dot.com bust and my current employer, a large nonprofit, is hiring, but not in my department. I'm a key IT professional. Should I worry or should I expect it and prepare? thanks... Nancy Collamer: It never hurts to be prepared. Keep yourself visible to top management, activate your professional network and update your resume.
Fairfax, Va: Your "Layoff Survival Guide" was a result of personal experience. I sometimes wonder how you had the courage to write that book when you were facing the calamity of being laid off.
Nancy Collamer: I'm one of those people who feels much better when I feel productive (I suspect I am not the only one). "The Layoff Survival Guide" gave me a constructive outlet that enabled me to help others and gave both my husband and myself something to feel really good about.
Washington, D.C.: I know that I would enjoy another type of work, in fact, I'm sure of it. I think there's got to be a bright side to being laid off. I've read about people who quit their longtime high-profile jobs for simpler, more rewarding work, but it seems like such a feat. How do I begin to set these types of plans in place to do something completely different?
Nancy Collamer: Fortunately, there is a whole industry ready to help you through this process. For starters, there are numerous books that can help you begin your search. Some of my personal favorite authors on this subject include Barbara Sher, Richard Leider and Richard Bolles. As part of the assessment process, you might also find it helpful to take some career tests (technically known as online assessment instruments). Please understand that these tests will not give you definitive answers to your career dilemmas. What they can do, is help you gain a better understanding of your motivating skills, interests, etc., and open your eyes to career options that you may not have previously considered. To find some online options, google "assessment tests."