A long time reader who is also a close family friend asked a question on following lines:
“What to do when you are laid off and can’t find another job at the same salary?”
Here is my answer:
First of all be sure that you’ll get another job that pays as well as your previous job.
It may not be now, and may take some time.
Because this situation is as real as it gets and there might not be a quick way out of this.
Think long term. 12-18 months horizon. Not to get a job, that you can get much quicker. But to get one that pays as well or even better than your previous one.
While you are at it, elevate yourself to a level where you will be the last person to ever be affected by a job cut even during tough times.
How do you do that?
You do that by growing your intrinsic and perceived value.
Because the salary you get or how much you are paid is mostly about perceived value.
Your intrinsic value – what you know, and what you are capable of doing – also affects your perceived value.
There are often other things at play also.
Maybe you had relationships with people who hired you and because of these relationships, those people saw value in you that others can’t. There is power in ‘who you know’ but you can’t always replicate that in a new company. So, it is wise to grow your perceived value.
How to grow your intrinsic and perceived value
You can increase your value by working on these three things:
- Gain knowledge and learn new skills
- Create a showcase of your skills or body of work
- Communicate your value through your body of work and also during interview
As you work to grow and communicate your value, there is more you can do like pre-interviews to build your understanding of the job you are applying for. That increases your chances of getting a job.
Now the hard part. Ask yourself some questions.
Look at all the reasons why you were laid off.
- Did the entire company go down?
- Was an entire department cut off?
- Or people with specific job roles were asked to leave?
- Most importantly, why were you among the ones affected by job cuts?
If the answer comes to be that you were laid off because of external reasons then don’t sweat it. And, if you think that it was related to intrinsic and perceive value then work on it the way I shared above.
Whether to take a job that pays less than your previous one?
It depends where you are in life and what drives you.
Are you someone who wants to pursue a standard career path and go become a top executive or even a CEO?
Or do you have entrepreneurial dreams?
See if you have other souls dependent on you and your earning.
Plus, what kind of financial runway do you have?
If you can keep going for the next 9-18 months on your own, and if you have some dreams you could not pursue because of having a job then go after, then go after them now.
If you don’t have a runway then take a job even if you have to take a pay cut. If you are choosing between two jobs, choose one that gives you a better opportunity to learn, or that will give you time to increase your value after work.
If there is a pay cut involved, then negotiate to have fewer responsibilities than there were at the earlier role. Negotiate something which will allow you more leverage like shorter working hours, or a bigger responsibility, and more freedom to do what you always wanted to do.
Either way, use the lay off as a wake-up call and focus on growing your value so that you always have more opportunities than you can handle.