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12 EASY Ways to Self-Sabotage Your Advancement After a Layoff

For months you have been reading the headlines and hearing the in-office chatter about massive layoffs. You never thought it could happen to you, but here you are...without a job and weary of what comes next. Your next steps are critical to your professional reputation and advancement. But, if you are seeking to self-sabotage your career and prospects during this critical transition to your next job, here are 12 easy ways for you to do it.

1. Burn bridges. You know that you are burning bridges when you speak poorly about your employer, post comments to your social media in a rage, and ignore communications from anyone who wants to help you. You should maintain a positive relationship with your former employer and colleagues in case they wanted to provide you with a glowing recommendation.

2. Be irresponsible. You know you are being irresponsible when after receiving your severance package, you do not seek understanding of the terms of the agreement and do not follow through on any responsibilities you have such as returning company property or signing a non-disclosure agreement.

3. Neglect your job search. You know that you are neglecting your job search when you actively avoid looking for new job opportunities and do not utilize job sites such as LinkedIn, Glassdoor, Indeed, or CareerBuilder. You wait for employers to call you...without ever submitting an application.

4. Do not take care of yourself. You know you are not taking care of yourself when you sleep very few hours, eat poorly, stay very busy doing nothing productive, and you only engage in hobbies or activities you do not enjoy. You are physically and mentally exhausted and unfit to pursue job opportunities.

5. Neglect your accountability circle: You know you are neglecting your accountability circle when you've kept your layoff a secret. You have not reached out to your professional network or let them know about your situation to take advantage of their leads on job opportunities or advice. As such, you stay unmotivated and keep a negative attitude, and continue actions that could harm your reputation or your ability to secure future employment.

6. Reduce your online presence. You know that you have reduced your online presence when you have deleted your LinkedIn profile and social media accounts thereby reducing your visibility to future employers. Or, you have made sure that your social media profiles, such as LinkedIn or Twitter, reflect your past job status and do not highlight your qualifications and experience. Moreover, you avoid posting anything that could be seen as positive, professional, or inspiring.

7. Mislead potential employers. You know that you are misleading your potential employers when you lie about your job status and reasons for leaving your previous employer during the job interview process. Although you may feel embarrassed by the layoff, by lying, you almost guarantee that you will issues down the line.

8. Do not be proactive. You know you are not being proactive with your job search when you do not reach out to recruiters, network, or research potential job opportunities...ever because you feel helpless and hopeless after neglecting your support.

9. Stay closed minded. You know that you are closed minded when you neglect to realize that a layoff is an opportunity to explore new career paths or industries. Or, you are not open to new opportunities that may not have been on your radar before and limit yourself to only applying to jobs that are exactly like your previous job.

10. Do not prepare for interviews. You know you have not prepared for interviews when you do not research the company, update your resume and qualifications, or prepare answers for common interview questions.

11. Play the victim. You know that you are playing the victim when you use your layoff as a reason to manipulate people, to justify your negative outlook on life, to neglect your roles and responsibilities, or to bring attention to yourself.

12. Don't pray. You are relying on your own strength, knowledge, and understanding during this challenging time. By neglecting prayer, you are forfeiting strength, guidance, wisdom, and peace from God too.

Don't want to self-sabotage your amazing future? Wonderful! That was certainly my prayer. Do the opposite of everything listed above and you are well on your way to your best job yet. Remember that a layoff does not define you, and with the right approach and mindset, you can recover and find an even better job in alignment with your purpose and goals.



Dr. Wanita Mercer, Ph.D. is the founder and CEO of Lead My Heart, an executive coaching and consulting company specializing in helping executives and their teams to live and lead with purpose. She has a Ph.D. in Education with an emphasis in organizational leadership, and she is a certified change management specialist and management executive. She has over 15 years of experience as an international educator, motivational speaker, author, and civic leader. She lives in San Antonio, Texas.


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