Downsizing. Outsourcing. Reshaping.
These words sound bad coming out of the mouth of an employer and they could have even worse effects on your income. However, they might represent the opening in life you’ve been waiting for. Does it mean your dreams can come true when you hear you’re losing your job? If you handle this shift in your career the right way, it could mean just that.
Prepping for the Inevitable Changes
One reason you’ll feel caught off-guard when you are laid off is you haven’t been reading the proverbial writing on the wall. Have you seen managers get replaced? Has your office space been reduced by a floor or more? Are coworkers having hours cut or have employees begun working from home? When you start to see these telltale signs in your company, consider what might be ahead.
Unfortunately, no one is irreplaceable and no one is invulnerable when a company faces a drastic drop-off in revenue. If you’ve dreamt about a freelance career or changing the work you do entirely, start prepping for the shift long before your boss calls you into the office and breaks the bad news.
Begin with Research
Before your go full-throttle in one direction, do your homework on careers you could realistically begin. If it takes a little extra training to make it work, the time to attend classes is now – while you are still employed full-time and have room to breathe. The sooner you start heading down that road, the easier the transition will be if you are forced to begin looking for work.
If it’s a freelance lifestyle you want to pursue, get the difficult part out of the way before you’re on your own. Send out your resume and do what most people do in the beginning – work for low wages, or for free. Once you find clients who like your work, you’ll find they are happy to pay for your services and stick with you long-term. Don’t underestimate the value of your quality work, yet at the same time realize you have to build a reputation in a field where you are unknown.
Build Your Confidence
Getting laid off or having your hours cut can be a real blow to your self-esteem. The beautiful part about learning new skills or refining old ones is you are building up your confidence as you prepare to encounter bad news at the office. If you have been hoping to leave an old job behind for work you prefer, this confidence will come in handy. It takes a high level of energy to change careers and be successful, but the power comes from your will to make it happen. If you’ve been hoping to change jobs and at the same time fearing a layoff, don’t let this opportunity pass.
Build confidence in other areas of you life. If you’ve been meaning to start working out with a personal trainer or running long distances, this time is perfect to make it happen. Physical fitness improves your mental outlook across the board.
Don’t Back Down from the Challenge
There will be a moment – several moments, in most cases – when it will be easier to give up and stick with the same old career. In most cases, if the downsizing you feared doesn’t happen, there will be relief and you might have a “relapse” during which you try believing your job is fine. What you’re doing is backing down from the challenge – the challenge to reshape your life the way you dreamed you could. A freelancing career is open to professionals in nearly every industry, so if that’s been your dream, the time has come to embrace it.
Start Your Career Change while You’re Working
The hardest part about a career change is usually the first two months. Why not get this transition out of the way while you’re working your old job? In the case of freelancers, it takes time to get those first clients and start building repeat business. If you can get these awkward months out of the way while you are employed full-time, you can hit the ground running and have little fear about your success. More importantly, once your freelance career gets cooking, you can decide whether or not change is going to occur at your office.
Accept Change from a Position of Power
If the day comes when changes do occur in your workplace and you find yourself one of the targets, you can accept the news from a position of power. You’ve already refined your skills and hopefully begun a new career. Leave your office with your head held high, brimming with confidence as you begin a life as a freelancer – a life where you call the shots and decide when work begins and ends.