Get a job: Unemployment stereotypes and myths

Richard Bucher says many of the assumptions people have about how they’re perceived after they’ve been laid off are short on facts.

Changing your attitude is half the battle, says career coach

'Your current state of employment is no more relevant than the color of your shirt,' says Richard Bucher with Right Management in Calgary. (Eugenio Marongiu/Shutterstock)

After working in the field of career management for more than 25 years, Richard Bucher knows all about the insecurities that come with the loss of a job.

"After a layoff, when asked what you do, the answer is not, 'Well, I'm unemployed,'" he said. 

"Unemployed is not a verb... You did not lose your career when you were laid off. The only reason you won't find a job is if you have decided to retire."

Bucher says many of the assumptions people have about how they're perceived after they've been laid off are short on facts.

Myth 1: It's easier to find a job when you have a job

Bucher says this myth is driven by our own belief system more than anything else.

"What employers are telling me is that doesn't hold water," he said.

From a pragmatic point of view, landing a job is a full-time job. Bucher says it's incredibly difficult to look for work when you are working.

Even if you've been working in the oil and gas for the last 20 years, that doesn't mean you can't move into another sector, he says.

Richard Bucher is a senior consultant with Right Management, a Calgary-based talent and career management company.

"There's a body of analytical skills, technical skills that are completely transferable," said Bucher.

One trick he recommends is cutting and pasting a job posting into TagCrowd.

It will show you all the keywords that exist within that job posting. Then paste your own resume into the application.

"What you're likely to find is there's a number of synergies between what the job posting is in another sector and the skill set that you happen to have," said Bucher.

Myth 2: Employers prefer hiring people who are employed

What it really comes down to is employers want the right fit.

"Your current state of employment is no more relevant than the color of your shirt, unless you believe otherwise," said Bucher.

Come to terms with your layoff and be prepared to answer questions about why you are unemployed.  

Myth 3: When companies downsize, it's because there's too much dead weight

If you look back at the number of job losses locally, regionally, nationally and internationally, it would be "ludicrous," says Bucher, to suggest that the cause of the layoffs boils down to dead weight. 

"Help me understand how an organization can manage its business and achieve shareholder value when it's employing that volume of dead weight. It just didn't make sense."

He says what companies are really doing right now is looking for ways to manage their balance sheet, so they can weather the storm.

Never assume you got laid off because you're dead weight, he says.


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