Colour-coded alert - 2

Geetanjali Pandit gives you a low down on how to turn a lay-off into a new career.

Geetanjali Pandit gives you a low down on how to turn a lay-off into a new career.

The third step to cope with the pink slip is to systematically chart out your ‘happiness’ steps each day. What is it that you are going to do each day that makes you feel happy and keeps your spirits up??

Once again create the magic me-time and take off for an hour or two. List now the activities, the stuff you like to do that keeps you happy. Drinking seven tequila shots in one hour does NOT count, mainly, because the hangover is not really a state of happiness.

Even on my planned sabbatical, I had to cope with uncertainty and with similar doubts and pain points about reduced income as any fired employee. The one thing that really helped me to cope was my happiness activity each day. In my case, the happiness activity (of the day) varied from an hour long walk to an hour long massage and from teaching my daughter one new thing each day to catching up very systematically with friends I had lost touch with.

I enjoy learning new stuff and enrolled for swimming classes in the summer and cookery and baking classes in the winter. I made a deliberate effort to do all those things that I always wanted to do but could not during the decades of working. Some days my happiness activity was as basic as sitting in the sun, peeling an orange, lightly sprinkling salt on each section and savouring its taste. I consciously worked on each day to keep my spirits up and worked to feel happy. And so must you.

Don’t throw away the pen and notepad just yet. The fourth coping strategy also calls for a similar pattern of time out and using the pen and notepad. List all that is in your control during this time. Richard Bolles in his much admired (and now a classic) “What Colour is Your Parachute?” writes that “While you are out of work and feel you are up against large forces that you are powerless to change, determine to find something that is within your power to change and throw your energies into it”.

So what’s within your control then?

  • Working on health in a very informed and deliberate way
  • Working on better fitness levels and regular exercise
  • Reading
  • Upgrading skills, perhaps even taking the time out to enrol for an education programme that you may need to enhance your professional credentials
  • Getting a free makeover at one of the malls
  • Making an effort to look better

    Given the EMIs that constitute a large part of our lives today, an important thing to be in control of is also your finances. Being fired means that you will get a big amount immediately after lay off. There is the Provident Fund or PF, probably Gratuity and then the notice pay. Has your organisation added to this kitty in anyway??

    It’s a great idea to actively work on asking for more money from the organisation even as you exit. No harm in making a representation and hoping it will come through. Can you get one additional basic salary or even three?? Are you entitled to leave encashment under the rules of the organisation?? If you were getting reimbursements against bills like phone, medical expenses and entertainment, have you claimed them all till your last day of exit?? If not, then do it. Each penny in hand is important moving forward.

    (To be concluded)

    The author is a senior human resources leader and is presently the chief people officer at Zee Media Corporation

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