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Bouncing Back From a Layoff: 3 Career Lessons to Learn From Baseball's Comeback Teams

Now’s the time to really self-evaluate. What do you need to improve to land your target job?

Bouncing Back From a Layoff: 3 Career Lessons to Learn From Baseball's Comeback Teams

Ahh, the smell of freshly mowed grass, the sweet crunch of Cracker Jacks, the thwack of a wooden bat hitting a speeding ball.

Baseball’s back.

Many people welcome the clean start a new season brings. The Boston Red Sox, the Chicago Cubs and the Philadelphia Phillies, among other teams, will attempt to bounce back from poor seasons last year. Success in baseball, as in life, is often defined by response to disappointment, which the sport has plenty of (after all, on an individual level, you’re considered a good hitter if you fail to get a hit 7 out of 10 times).

Just like baseball, there may be times when you will have to bounce back in your career, too. If not you, chances are that you know someone who has been laid off by an employer at some point in their career. Typically getting laid off is not resultant from poor performance, but for many, it puts them back at square one, wondering what the next step in their career is.

In the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ last federal survey conducted before program funding was cut, the Mass Layoff Statistics program found, “Employers took 1,301 mass layoff actions in May [2013] involving 127,821 workers as measured by new filings for unemployment insurance benefits during the month.” It is worth noting that at the time the unemployment rate was 7.6 percent. Today, it is around 5.5 percent.

Still, as the unemployment rate dips, layoffs aren’t just going to disappear. Hundreds of thousands of U.S. workers were laid off in the last few years and there will continue to be layoffs no matter what the unemployment rate.

What can job seekers learn from baseball’s bounce-back teams that will help in their career reboot?

You are resilient.

This is your mindset — your only mindset. Tim Wakefield, the Red Sox knuckleball pitcher who gave up the infamous home run to Aaron Boone in the 2003 American League Championship Series, to send their arch rival New York Yankees to the World Series, delivered a solid season the following year, in which the Sox made their historic comeback again those same Yankees, resulting in Boston’s first World Series victory in 86 years. The Sox had a mission on their minds, from day one of spring training. They didn’t despair in past disappointments, as you should not either after getting laid off. Build on past successes and get after the next chapter of your career with a mission on your mind to find better.

People want to help you.

They do. You need to assemble your team like you were assembling an army to defeat your archrival. 

Who can you network with? Who can you send your resume to? Who did you work with at your job who may be in the same boat? What are they doing? Who wants to help you? Make some phone calls. Send some emails. Make people aware of your situation — don’t bottle it up. The more people who know you are looking for work, the better the chances ones of them will know the perfect job opening with your name on it.

And make sure your team knows you value them. Gather your core crew and cowboy up, as Kevin Millar of the 2004 Red Sox famously chorused during their comeback heroism.

Assess your value.

Determine what you are best at and what you enjoy doing most. Now’s the time to really self-evaluate. What do you need to improve to land your target job? The best bounce-back baseball teams’ management offices assess their strengths and weaknesses in the offseason and make changes accordingly.

Maybe you need to learn a new programing language or software. Maybe you need to build out your design portfolio. These are skills you can work on independently to show employers that even without a job you are enhancing your hireability.

You’ll thank yourself later when you’re working at your dream job.

Monster Wants to Know: Have you ever had to bounce back from a layoff? Share with us in the comment section.

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