In one joke, a hiring manager says, “We always put half the incoming applications in the bin—because who wants to hire unlucky people?”
Psychology is not fair. In my limited experience with dating, I observed that girls seemingly wanted to date me only when I already had a partner—never when I was single. And quite similarly, companies seem to prefer hiring people who already have a job. Though unfair, long-term unemployment is as unsexy as a dateless math major.
Why is it so hard to enjoy the time off between jobs? For many, this could be the first chance in a long while to unplug and maybe even get a full night’s sleep. There’s a lot to like about having a day off: the time to indulge in hobbies and sports, reconnect with friends, or simply enjoy a walk outdoors.
And yet, somehow, a layoff doesn’t feel like a real holiday. Redundancy fuels uncertainty. Not knowing when the “holiday” is going to end makes it hard to set goals and plan for the future. This uncertainty makes layoffs one of the most challenging experiences in life.
Like in college, friends can provide a much-needed confidence boost. Confidence is the currency of job interviews, but it’s hard to maintain high self-esteem during the redundancy process. The more time that passes between jobs, the harder it becomes to perform confidently in an interview, which in turn makes it take even longer to find the next gig.
After being laid off, many people discover that their former teammates and work friends are very helpful in finding the next opportunity. The power of weak ties has been proven over and over again: These days, most people get a job through friends of friends. One just has to put the message out there and ask for help. For example, on LinkedIn, people with even a small number of connections can get the eyes of recruiters and hiring managers on their profiles.