I was recently walking through an airport to catch a flight and observed an event that I thought was analogous to an event that everyone hopes to avoid – a layoff. As I was walking down the concourse, I was approaching the moving walkway area. A gentleman was on the walkway that was moving toward me and he was approaching the end of the walkway. Rather than paying attention and being ready to step off, he had his back turned, talking on his cell phone. When the walkway ended, he kept going and ended up in a sprawled heap, papers flying out of his briefcase and cell phone skittering away on the floor.
The gentleman was very embarrassed and scrambled around trying to gather himself and the contents of his briefcase. He had ignored the warning voice that comes on at the end of the walkway to face forward and be prepared to step off. Interestingly, the two women who were several yards behind him were paying attention and were able to exit the walkway with no disasters.
This is similar to how a layoff affects people. Some are prepared with eyes forward and resume ready to go. They noted the warnings and signs that a change in pace was approaching and prepared themselves. These individuals generally don’t fall on their face but rather walk briskly through their job searches until its time to step on the next moving walkway (a new job).
Other individuals are caught with their backs turned and end up sprawled on the floor. They ignored the warning signs and were caught unaware. It takes them longer to reach the next moving walkway.
What about you? Are you ready for the unexpected? Is your resume updated and ready to go?