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Layoffs suck

Updated: Nov 23, 2022

"So, what type of role are you looking for next?"

“I have absolutely no idea. A job?”

“And how do you know that it’s going to be better?”

“I really have no clue.”

My first meeting with a career coach years ago was deeply painful. Less than a week after being totally blindsided by my company’s decision to forgo a promotion (which meant I was required to transition out), I was expected to start the hunt for something new. Diagnostics. Strengths assessments. Vision statements. Career inventory. Values sorts. Each one offered new insight into choices that I would need to make.

My job had been my identity. I worked with people I loved. The guys in my bay had a beer fridge in the back, which meant that on Fridays, it became the hub of activity, with lots of discussion about the future. Professionally, I loved the feeling of bringing a business back from the brink of crisis, camping out in the boardroom for days at a time. Suddenly, all that was gone.

I really needed a tool to help frame career decisions. A simple pros/cons list wouldn’t work, as I tried to reflect on and balance priorities that I was connecting to for the first time in years. In some cases, for the first time ever. After finishing a “values assessment” one day (involving shifting around index cards on a table), I looked at the cards and thought “these should be at the root of my decisions, and they’re about to be packaged up and put away, with the insights lost forever.”

That was the moment ProValues was born. A straight-forward assessment to help people to identify what they really care about in their jobs, and then use those insights to make effective job choices. Values that could be weighted to reflect what’s actually important to you. As the exercise evolved through countless late nights with developers, we added deal breakers (there are many practical considerations, including pay, location, commute times, WFH flexibility, and anything else users could dream up), personalized networking questions to help with a search, and conversation starters for the more difficult discussions you might have.

With the help of an enterprising spouse who wasn’t afraid to teach himself to code or how to hire a developer team, the exercise soon moved from excel to online, and became a core part of the 1:1 coaching we have provided thousands of clients over the past few years. We are thrilled that they have used the exercise to explore different choices and choose the path best for them.

As news breaks of layoffs at Amazon, Twitter, Meta, and countless other companies, I remember the need for structure and certainty when I felt lost about my future prospects. Today, as someone who leads a firm that helps people to manage careers, my heart aches for people who are trying to navigate the rollercoaster of emotions that comes from an unexpected disruption. I, and others at SCG, know this feeling all too well.

Like many others, we want to help anyone impacted, both those who come from companies that make headlines due to the scale of layoffs, and those that are happening more quietly. Firstly, to those impacted, you are not alone.

We also know the importance of due diligence during times like this, not just diligence on opportunities you are considering, but diligence on yourself. What do you want out of life? What are you not wanting to put up with anymore? What do you value for your next role? And yes, there will be a next role! You just don’t have it yet.

We want to help you or those you are helping make the right decisions on those next roles. Sometimes, those decisions come about when people have many choices, or a compelling offer with other offers still to come. And sometimes, those decisions come in a moment of doubt, when a job offer comes along and there aren’t yet other prospects.

To help you and those you know navigate what is expected to be a tougher labor market in coming months, we are offering ProValues for free to anyone impacted by a down-sizing (using code JOBSRCH22 at checkout for a full discount). Our clients have used ProValues for years, helping guide them to enriching careers. We would love to help you develop a clear framework to make choices at a time when they can be difficult.

If you know someone who was impacted by a layoff, please feel free to share the above code with them - they are also welcome to use it for free. If you are hiring, or know someone who is, or wants extra support, please contact us or post on our Job Board. Our team is hoping that people can use this as a resource while starting up a job search or figuring out their next steps.

If you want to read further on how ProValues can help guide people to better careers, read below, otherwise best wishes on a fruitful career transition.

What can ProValues do for you after a layoff?

  • Inform a future search. Reflecting honestly on your satisfaction in past roles before selecting the next one can improve long-term success.

  • Explore true deal-breakers in your career. Identify minimum requirements for you in a job and ensure that future opportunities include those items before investing too much time on them.

  • Prepare you for an effective search. Personalized networking questions, reflecting what’s important to you, can help to kick-start a job search.

  • Manage well-intentioned advice. During this time, you may get unsolicited suggestions and advice. The tool gives you a structured framework to assess others’ suggestions and to make your own decisions.

  • Give you a tangible to-do. When your career has unexpected uncertainty, it is helpful to have a clear action that can move things forward. The exercise might take an hour, but it will spur more to-dos as you reflect on choices.

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I hope people take advantage of all the support available to them. I've been laid off, and have survived countless rounds of layoffs after the Tech Bubble burst. It takes an emotional and psychological toll, and trusting others to help makes such a difference in finding the right landing spot. We're here to help :)

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