Nine Steps to Take Right Now If You Have Been Laid Off

A few weeks ago, everything may have felt stable in your career. Now, with the coronavirus outbreak continuing to have a tremendous human and economic impact, you’ve suddenly been given the unfortunate news: You’re getting laid off.

Suddenly, you’re left asking yourself, “Now what?”

If dealing with a global pandemic isn’t enough, how do you bounce back from a career setback at a time when the entire world has come to a screeching halt, with entire industries facing destruction and other companies freezing hiring?

While your job prospects at this moment may seem bleak, you can still take steps to improve your chances of landing your next role.

SOLIDIFY RELATIONSHIPS

In the midst of a crisis, the connections we have with others often make all the difference. Now is the ideal time to set up meetings with colleagues to ensure you’re reinforcing the professional bonds you’ve built.

These days, that means hopping onto a one-on-one video chat instead of grabbing lunch. But you should use your remaining time still employed to explain your situation, share your plans, and explore ways you and your connection can help one another, now or in the future.

REDUCE SPENDING

Given the uncertain circumstances we’re in with COVID-19, landing your next role may take even longer than usual. You need to buy yourself as much time as possible. Reduce or eliminate any discretionary spending you can. This means cancelling extra spends like subscription and streaming services. Cut expenses related to activities that are prohibited or restricted due to social distancing measures—pause your gym membership, cancel expensive holidays, and avoid ordering out too frequently.

By bringing down your expenses, you not only alleviate financial pressure, but also allow yourself to job search with less desperation and more confidence.

ACCEPT WHAT’S HAPPENED, AND MOVE ON 

Although you may be frustrated, or even angry at how this layoff occurred as a result of something completely outside your control, accepting you’ve been laid off will help you pivot as quickly as possible. Instead of ruminating too much about could haves and should haves, create an action plan for yourself.

Build a job search to-do list that could include updating your résumé, writing a cover letter template, asking for recommendations for your LinkedIn profile, polishing up your social media profiles, reaching out to industry contacts, and practicing interview responses. Use these guidelines to increase your chances at landing that next job.

CAPTURE YOUR MOST RECENT ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Make sure you’re taking stock of all your key accomplishments as you move on from your current role. Record all your significant accomplishments in a document somewhere, so you can eventually transpose them as bullet points onto your résumé. Ensure your résumé is updated and ready to send when opportunities arise.

Moreover, now is also a good time to ask your former manager for a recommendation, which you can feature on your LinkedIn.

REBUILD YOUR PERSONAL BRAND

In the middle of a professional setback, not to mention a global pandemic, your response will say a lot about you. While a layoff can understandably feel like a blow to your career narrative, facing adversity and setbacks are an opportunity to redefine your personal brand.

What actions will you proactively take to bounce back? What contributions will you make to others in need? Use this as a time to reinforce qualities like persistence, proactivity, and positivity that may be attractive to your future employer. For example, come up with creative ways to reach out to prospective employers. Self-publish articles on LinkedIn or Medium that convey your key skills and interests. Avoid speaking negatively about your former employer, and concentrate on your strengths.

REFRESH YOUR ELEVATOR PITCH

When explaining a layoff, people too often come across as defensive, bitter, or insecure. The best way to avoid this is to get comfortable with the fact that getting laid off is not a result of your actions. Take this time to remind yourself of your key accomplishments, skills, and the strengths you intend to bring to your next role.

From there, script out exactly what you’ll say when people ask what happened, so you can speak candidly about it and come across as focused on the future over the past. Make sure you have a clear 2-3 minute career narrative ready to go in response to the question, “Tell me about yourself.”

Start with a high level overview of the key chapters in your career, followed by a verbal summary of your goals, experiences, accomplishments, and transitions for each of those chapters. Afterwards, finish up by going through the characteristics of the job you’re seeking, and why the company and role is a perfect fit.

With this short summary, you can come across as polished and professional when someone inquires about your work history. 

SHARE NEWS OF YOUR LAYOFF

While this involves putting your pride to the side, broadly sharing news of your layoff with others can help open the doors, whether that means someone reaching out to talk or offering information on an opportunity.

Be sure to do this only after you’ve clarified your desired role and refined your elevator pitch, both of which will present you as focused.

With current circumstances, you’ll want to do this delicately to avoid seeming self-centered amidst a global pandemic. Keep in mind that any person you reach out to may have been directly affected by COVID-19. Make it crystal clear you’re aware of the current outbreak, along with the immense pressures everyone is under. Avoid coming across as entitled or pushy at a time when people are dealing with their own struggles and priorities.

It goes without saying, you should be polite and understanding if people don’t have time to respond.

BEGIN VIRTUAL NETWORKING

With many cities on lockdown for the time being, you can’t exactly attend in-person networking events or invite someone for a coffee. However, you can still network quite effectively. People working from home may be more open to speaking with you because they’re yearning for human connection.

Set up informational interviews over web conference platforms like Zoom or Skype. Join the increasing number of online webinars, virtual job fairs, or virtual meetups to establish professional connections with others from your home office.

FIND A SOURCE OF FUEL

The world is filled with uncertainty right now. Every single person I know is uncertain about the future of the world, their careers, or someone they love. Bouncing back from a traditional layoff is already stressful. Trying to bounce back from it in the middle of a global pandemic? Even more overwhelming.

One way to combat this is to find a source of fuel to help you through this trying period in your career. That may mean ensuring you’re staying healthy, taking care of yourself, or finding a source of inspiration through books, podcasts, or career resources to lift you up. When I need inspiration, I typically turn to inspirational TEDx Talks about career transitions, or I tune into podcasts, like How I Built This, that remind me how most successful people have had to overcome adversity during their career journeys.

Recognize this period may be one of the most difficult times in your career. Sometimes just realizing something will be an uphill climb is comforting when your life and career is not going as expected. Ground yourself with the awareness this will likely be a marathon, not a sprint, so pace yourself.

By following these recommendations, you won’t find immediate success, but with enough effort, you can absolutely pivot to something new despite these challenging times.

Original story!

SheaMoisture announced a $1 million relief fund to support women of color entrepreneurs

The global pandemic that is COVID-19 is impacting organizations in unimaginable ways. Companies are having to adapt and adjust to a fully remote workplace, and leadership is forced to pivot in ways that they could never fathom. Organizations now have to navigate the management of employees through an unprecedented era—and many organizations are suffering because of it. Product-based companies have seen a disruption in their supply chain as many businesses are dependent on China for their supplies. While the long-term effects of the virus are unknown, there has already been noted trends, like a decline in consumer spending. Large and small businesses alike are being hit hard by COVID-19 and in many large companies, CEOs are forfeiting their salary to avoid having to lay off employees. Large companies within the United States may receive financial relief from the government, but many small businesses are struggling to stay afloat.

With the uncertainty that many business owners are experiencing right now, SheaMoisture has just announced a $1 million relief fund to help support women entrepreneurs and small business owners of color. Through a long-established program called Community Commerce, SheaMoisture aims to give back to business owners in need, who have been devasted by COVID-19. A portion of the proceeds of each purchase goes to support the education, access, and funding for small business owners of color. With the announcement, SheaMoisture shared how the company will be supporting business owners through this rough time. Funds will be awarded for minority-owned businesses that are creating unique ways to reach their customers and communities. SheaMoisture will also provide educational resources in the form of online learning tools through the Women of Color Businesses E-Lab.

SheaMoisture is encouraging business owners of color to apply now and throughout the month of April. Ten business owners will be selected and awarded $10,000 each. An additional component of the COVID-19 relief will be providing support specifically for Black-owned businesses throughout the month of April. An unfortunate result of COVID-19 is that Black business owners, who already experience unique barriers to access and funding, are now challenged with the additional burden of having to navigate the crisis. Often times communities of color are those hardest hit during recessions and economic downturns. The support that SheaMoisture is providing Black businesses can be the difference between sinking or swimming. To award the relief funds, SheaMoisture plans to partner with We Buy Black. Cara Sabin, the CEO of SheaMoisture’s parent company Sundial, said in a statement: “During this unprecedented time of upheaval, small businesses are being disproportionately affected. For SheaMoisture, which was once a small business, the power of community and entrepreneurship is close to our hearts. Through this fund, we are committed to giving back to the communities that have helped us become who we are.” Sabin provides us with a great example of how we can each support each other through times of difficulty and disaster. Though the negative impacts of COVID-19 are far-reaching, the love and support we can provide each other during these times is far greater.

Original Story!

Spanx Founder Funding $5 Million for Female Entrepreneurs

Billionaire founder of Spanx announced on Instagram that she is giving out $5 million to help female businesswomen struggling during the coronavirus pandemic.

Sarah Blakely wrote that the donation will “provide 1,000 female business owners here in the United States with $5,000 in funding each.”

“My hope is that this gift will help alleviate some of the pressures caused by this horrible pandemic. I know first hand what it’s like to be a small business owner,” Blakely wrote in the post.

The woman that are selected will also receive an all-access annual pass to MasterClass, which is an online education platform.

“My hope is that with this funding and mentorship, you’ll find support and comfort during this time,” Blakely wrote.

Global Giving is accepting applications now. CLICK HERE to learn more.

Five Tips for Maximizing Your Home Network While Everyone is at Home

Five Tips for Maximizing Your Home Network While Everyone is at Home

With everyone home these days, many are feeling the pains of adjustment – disrupted routine, distractions at home, no breaks from family time. Here are some tips for maximizing your WiFi network so you can stay productive at home and keep your family members safe and happy.

Make sure your workspace has the coverage and speed you need

If you’re working from home, you want to make sure your office or workspace has plenty of WiFi coverage. To do this, put your gateway in a central location in the home – and tighten those cables – to ensure it blankets the vast majority of your home with strong WiFi coverage. The lights should be flashing on the gateway – this is a sign the signal is working. If you’re finding your home workspace is in a corner of the home that does not have good signal, set up xFi pods to extend solid WiFi coverage to this hard to reach area of the house.

You can also run an xFi speed test that monitors and reports the speeds you’re experiencing on that specific device to ensure its operating at the level you need it to. xFi will then provide tips and tricks on how to better optimize speeds for your devices in your home.

Video conference like a boss

It is especially important to have a solid connection if you’re video conferencing – and Microsoft Teams has reported a 37 percent increase in video chat use in the first week of the COVID-19 pandemic.  To have the best internet connection during a video conference have your laptop in the same room as your gateway.  Having a clear, unobstructed connection to the gateway will optimize the WiFi signal. You can even turn off high-bandwidth devices like security cameras, if you aren’t using them, to reduce the WiFi load on your home. While our gateways provide excellent coverage for most homes, if you want the most powerful and direct connection for critically important video calls, then another option would be to connect directly into the gateway using one of the ethernet ports we purposefully designed into all of our gateways.

Keep the kids on a schedule

With kids out of school, it’s important to keep them on a schedule and routine. We’ve built parental control tools into xFi, a digital dashboard for managing your home WiFi network free for all xFi customers, so parents can monitor when and how long their kids are online. We’ve seen a 30 percent increase in xFi logins since families have started sheltering in place.

Parents can use the xFi screen time scheduling tool to allot specific online and offline hours while kids stay home. With kids being home, parents can easily adjust their screen time rules to allow for schoolwork time, a movie break, and more. Parents can also utilize the xFi timed alerts feature to monitor how long kids are on their devices during the day, extending where needed to ensure kids have the online hours they need to connect with teachers and classmates and complete homework.

Protect what’s connected

With everyone home and connected, make sure all of your devices are protected with xFi Advanced Security. It’s free for all customers who lease an xFi gateway and it automatically protects devices from online threats when you log in to xFi online or download the app. It uses artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning technology to monitor and analyze WiFi traffic in the home, and automatically blocks identified suspicious activity in real time so all of your connected devices are safe.

Hit pause for some family time

During these uncertain times, staying connected with family and friends is key. With xFi, you can hit pause on the devices in your home to free up time with family without digital distractions – pause all devices or just a few so you can video chat with family members or friends near and far. We’ve even seen a 45 percent increase in the number of times parents have hit pause since we’ve all started staying home.

For many people, it’s never been a more important time to be connected to the outside world; for work, school and to vital information about what’s happening in your community and the world. We’re providing our customers with the tools to help ensure that connection is strong, healthy and safe.

 

Books That Bring You Comfort

Celeste Ng, Ann Patchett, Min Jin Lee and Others on the Books That Bring Them Comfort

Credit…Stefano Guidi/Getty Images

By Elisabeth Egan and 

Authors are just like the rest of us — they like to soothe their anxieties by losing themselves in the pages of a beloved book. Here are some of the ones they turn to when times get tough.
Credit…Tony Luong for The New York Times

In 1987, my sister was halfway through reading me “The Princess Bride” when she went off to college. The day she left, I cried myself to sleep — and then, after I got my bearings again, I read the rest of the book on my own. So this has always been a comfort read for me: a fairy tale that acknowledges that life isn’t fair (“It’s just fairer than death, that’s all”) yet still manages to make you feel that the good guys might win, that justice will be served, that there’s a point to it all. If you only know the (fantastic) film, pick the book up, too — it’s just as much of a delight. —Celeste Ng’s most recent book is “Little Fires Everywhere.”

Credit…Heather Sten for The New York Times

I would suggest “The Summer Book,” by Tove Jansson. This slim, magical, life-affirming novel tells the story of a young girl and her grandmother, who spend their summer together on a small, isolated island in the Gulf of Finland. Absent of sentimentality, full of love and humor and wisdom, this is a tale about how much fun two people can have in the middle of nowhere, when they are practicing social isolation in earnest. —Elizabeth Gilbert’s latest novel is “City of Girls.”

Credit…Tamara Gajic for The New York Times

This is a book about writing, but truly, “Bird By Bird” is about taking your time. It’s funny and honest and comforting, and it’s a wonderful reminder of the glory in terrible first efforts, and the beauty that comes in taking it day by day. —Kiley Reid’s debut novel, “Such a Fun Age,” was published earlier this year.

Credit…Winky Lewis

It turns out my literary comforts have mostly been brought to me by British women.

When I was younger I always read “Pride and Prejudice” after a heartbreak, but I think it’s an all-purpose comfort novel, with so much humor and love of all kinds. I adore “Sense and Sensibility” just as much, and for the same reasons.

“I Capture the Castle,” by Dodie Smith, is pure delight, and also a bit of a quarantine book, with two sisters isolated in a small rundown castle in the 1930s with their blocked-writer father and loony stepmother — until two eligible young men come to visit their country house down the road. “Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand,” by Helen Simonson, is another deep pleasure read set in modern-day England, with occasional nods to Austen and Forster but very much its own delightful story. Speaking of Forster: “A Room with A View.” Of course. Italy, violets, the mackintosh squares. And I loved Ali Smith’s “Autumn,” a stunning and wrenching celebration of deep and lasting human connection. For warmth and laughs and brilliant observations in nonfiction, you have to read “Love, Nina,” a collection of Nina Stibbe’s real letters over a five-year period in the ’80s when she left rural Leicestershire to work as a nanny for a literary editor in London. It’s laugh-out-loud funny, and would actually be great read aloud. —Lily King’s latest book is “Writers & Lovers.”
Credit…Simone Padovani/Getty Images

For me, comfort reading is as often comfort listening — because it’s so often in the silence of a long car journey or a solo walk that your thoughts start spiraling. Agatha Christie for the reassurance that even murder can be fixed. Patrick O’Brian for putting petty, modern gripes into historical perspective. But for sheer comfort reading it has to be Nancy Mitford — who laughed and wept her way through love, loss, crippling bereavement and two world wars. When “Love in a Cold Climate” fails to make me laugh and cry, the end really will be nigh. —Ruth Ware’s most recent novel is “The Turn of the Key.”

Credit…Matt Licari/Invision, via Associated Press

In “The Warmth of Other Suns,” racial terror and violence are overcome with determination, faith, courage and the kind of resolve that some of us have been privileged to experience in our elders and the generation who came before us. The generation who did so much more with so much less have something to teach us about managing a pandemic. —Bryan Stevenson is the author of “Just Mercy.”

Credit…Eric Ryan Anderson for The New York Times

Writers & Lovers” made me happy. Even as the narrator grieves the loss of her mother and struggles to make art and keep a roof over her head, the novel is suffused with hopefulness and kindness. Lily King writes with a great generosity of spirit. —Ann Patchett’s most recent novel is “The Dutch House.”

Credit…Benjamin Benschneider

Capt. Jefferson Kidd, a hard-traveled army veteran, makes his living reading newspapers to paying audiences in post-Civil War Texas, ordinarily a reasonably safe pursuit — until he agrees to take custody of a young orphan, Johanna, newly rescued from her Kiowa captors, in order to deliver her to her surviving relatives. As Capt. Kidd and Johanna travel across an increasingly perilous Texas landscape, the two form one of the quirkiest, most satisfying friendships in modern literature. —Erik Larson’s most recent book is “The Splendid and the Vile.”

Credit…Elena Seibert

Love is the antidote to fear, and few have written better about love than Honoré de Balzac. “Cousin Bette” is juicy, immersive and terribly knowing about the feeling which connects us through time and distance. —Min Jin Lee’s most recent novel is “Pachinko.”

Credit…Joe Mazza

When trouble comes, I often turn to poetry. I find myself drawn over and over to Ted Kooser’s slender holy book “Winter Morning Walks.” When he was recovering from cancer, he could not be in sunlight, so he walked before dawn that winter and sent Jim Harrison 100 tiny poems about the daily walk. It will bring you grace abundant. —Luis Alberto Urrea’s most recent novel is “The House of Broken Angels.”

Credit…Chester Higgins Jr./The New York TimesJ. Courtney Sullivan

“The past several nights, during those rare moments not spent refreshing Twitter for the latest news, I’ve gotten lost in the pages of Mira Ptacin’s ‘The In-Betweens.’ It’s the fascinating true story of Camp Etna, a 150-year-old community of spiritualists and mediums, hidden deep in the woods of Maine. Ptacin has a curious, warm, nonjudgmental tone about her, and she’s funny, too. She makes for delightful company. She sets a beautiful scene, of women living in gingerbread cottages, hunting ghosts and helping spirits cross into the light. Thinking about past lives and reincarnation and centuries spent on the astral plane somehow makes a month or so of social isolation seem like not such a big deal after all.” — J. Courtney Sullivan’s most recent novel is “Saints For All Occasions.”

Credit…Christopher Capozziello for The New York Times

All English mysteries prior to 2005. All of Jane Kenyon. All of Jane Hirshfield, especially her latest, “Ledger,” especially “A Ream of Paper.” Both Janes understand the world in all its happiness, melancholy, unpleasant surprise and moments of resilience. —Amy Bloom’s most recent novel is “White Houses.”

Credit…Beowulf Sheehan

I would suggest a pairing: Emerson’s essays with Marilynne Robinson’s novel “Gilead.” Both of these bright, kindred voices soothe me like a milk-fed baby, as they shore up against pessimism without ever being timid or false. —Joshua Ferris is the author of “The Dinner Party.”

Credit…Erik Tanner

I was just tag-team rereading “Anna Karenina” and “Sabbath’s Theater,” mostly because they are soothing reminders to me that beneath all this external crisis, our souls are still wretched and needy and require their own antibiotics and Purell and masks and toilet paper. Everything I see coming out now, including book recommendations, are about pandemics and surviving them. But our personhood is still here underneath it all, and it will be after all of this is over, so let’s not forget to tend to that, too. —Taffy Brodesser-Akner is the author of “Fleishman Is in Trouble.”

Credit…Teddy Woolfe

Being in the house with our two kids has us digging into the books that made us fall in love with reading when we were younger. “The Essential Ellison,” a retrospective collection of Harlan Ellison’s short stories, is a book I found as a teenager and have returned to ever since. Science fiction, fantasy, horror, the stories are as brilliant, prickly, humane and sometimes problematic as the man himself. I can read one quick, while the kids eat lunch. Then it’s back into our current apocalyptic reality. —Victor LaValle’s most recent novel is “The Changeling.

Credit…Whitney Curtis for The New York Times

This Y.A. novel features two boys who attend the same Atlanta high school, start an email correspondence without knowing each other’s identities and fall in love. It’s incredibly warm, romantic, funny and even suspenseful, and the emails themselves are charming. Also, “Yes Please” by Amy Poehler. Poehler’s reflections on life are, not surprisingly, funny, but they’re also insightful, moving and honest about struggles and mistakes. —Curtis Sittenfeld’s most recent novel is “Eligible.”

Credit…Nina Subin

As our lives must temporarily shrink to the confines of home, I search for patience and good sense in the gentle, healthful climes of Jane Austen, where intelligent, witty women must do fierce battle with the constraints of their lives. “Persuasion” is my favorite, and it never gets old to watch Anne Elliot, considered too old for marriage, balance her sense of honor and duty against a burning desire to rekindle old love.

And for those of us trying to shop a suggested two weeks of food, without resorting to the dreaded hoarding, may I recommend the victualing lists of Jerome K. Jerome’s 1889 comic hit, “Three Men in a Boat.” It takes an entire chapter to outfit a large rowing boat for three bumbling chums about to row up the river Thames for a fortnight. From cold meat and strawberries to butter and pies, not to mention a paper umbrella and a frying pan wrapped in brown paper, the hampers pile up as the local shop boys jeer: “Ah! You’d want to take a thing or two with you…if you was a-going to cross the Atlantic in a small boat.” It’s a salutary lesson in comic excess we can take with us on our search for canned tuna and toilet paper. —Helen Simonson’s most recent book is “The Summer Before the War.

Credit…Nina Subin

My go-to comfort novel is “The Color Purple,” by Alice Walker. Even though it touches on difficult subject matter like child abuse and forced marriage, this story believes that human kindness, courage and love can defeat any challenge. Its big, beautiful happy ending is heartfelt and hard-won. Every single time I read this book, I walk away as a slightly better person than I was when I picked it up. —Tayari Jones’s most recent book is “An American Marriage.”

Credit…Karsten Moran for The New York Times

In stressful times I want the truth, but I want it hopeful and calm. I want to feel both leveled with and wisely guided. So, I come back to Cheryl Strayed’s “Tiny Beautiful Things” when I’m panicky. Each digestible response from Sugar slows my heart back down. —Glennon Doyle’s most recent book is “Untamed.”

Credit…An Rong Xu for The New York Times

When I’m in need of book comfort, I can never predict which one of my old favorites is going to do the trick. It might be my well-foxed copy of epic rabbit adventure, “Watership Down,” or I might prefer to escape to Elizabeth von Arnim’s acerbic and delight-filled story of four women discovering themselves in Italy, “The Enchanted April.” Or maybe I want something that gives voice to history with strength and courage: Julia Alvarez’s potent “In the Time of the Butterflies,” or the piercing, elegiac beauty of Julie Otsuka’s “The Buddha in the Attic.”

But after checking on friends and family, stocking up and canceling everything, I found myself someplace else entirely: in the sweat-seamed stews of Sarah Waters’s gripping Dickensian masterpiece “Fingersmith.” It’s such a twisty headlong story that I can tell you very little about it without running into spoilers, except to say that it has everything needed to distract you from constantly refreshing news updates: a sweep-you-off-your-feet narrative voice, outrageously effective suspense, Victorian horrors, erotic thrills, complicated characters, mysteries and double-crosses and triple-crosses, and even a hopeful ending. I know every one of its twists from previous reads, but the book never fails to ensnare me, and as a bonus, if isolation starts to chafe, the historically accurate asylum scenes will surely keep things in perspective. —Madeline Miller’s most recent novel is “Circe.

Credit…Elizabeth D. Herman for The New York Times

“Zen Shorts” is a children’s book of three short stories, beautifully illustrated, that provides a warm reminder about the generosity and equanimity required in challenging times. My 5-year-old daughter and I both find it perennially comforting and inspiring, no matter the situation, and in these days of shelter-in-place and rapid health-system mobilization, we’ll definitely snuggle up to read it again. —Lucy Kalanithi, a clinical assistant professor at the Stanford School of Medicine, is the widow of Paul Kalanithi, the author of When Breath Becomes Air.”

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