Life After Layoff: Adopt a Photographer’s Perspective as You Reinvent

Most of us juggle multiple roles in life and in today’s economy many of us must also juggle multiple JOBS. The days of being able to rely on a single job for life are over. Where does that leave you as you ponder ‘life after layoff?’ Maybe you have what you consider a “day job” while you pursue your passion. If that’s the case, consider yourself lucky. More than likely, if you’ve lost your job, are over 50 and are trying to get your bearings, you’re probably working several different jobs, piecing it together while you reinvent yourself.

My dearest friend of over three decades (you know who you are) is in a heinous job that threatens to take over her sanity. Even though it’s “only” a three-day a week commitment, it bleeds her dry. The negativity, pettiness and overall tediousity (it is too a word) leave her so beaten down that she is unable to focus on other pursuits, namely her own business. Recently, we were discussing this new world of “multi-tasking” and shared a laugh as we recalled the old “Living Color” skit called “Hey Mon,” about the Jamaican family who had at least five jobs each and considered anyone with just one or two jobs to be lazy.

As ridiculous as “Hey Mon” is, I’ve included it because it’s a reminder that each of us must make the best use of our time. And before you get up in arms about how you don’t have a choice about working several jobs, I totally get it. What I’m suggesting is to make sure you don’t get so sidelined by your current situation that you lose sight of your reinvention goal. My suggestion is to act like a photographer and decide what to keep in your FOREGROUND and what to put in the background. That way, your energy and lifeforce aren’t consumed by the demands and demeaning aspects of your day job.

48 Laws of Power: Try these 3

Not long ago I wrote a blog for a client (not my day job) about a book called “48 Laws of Power.” If I had to summarize the book, I would do so in a rap since a lot of rappers including Ludacris, Kanye West and Jay Z took this book to heart. Rapper 50 Cent even teamed up with author Richard Greene to co-write a follow-up book called “The 50th Law.” My rap would be short: WHATEVER YOU DO, MAKE IT WORK FOR YOU. Greene describes why his book’s message resonated with rap artists and the brutal world of the music industry: “A lot of rappers figured out that they had to control things and learn how the game’s played or else they were going to be continually exploited.” Ultimately, they used Greene’s book to keep perspective and create their own rules.

Here’s how you can take a page from a rapper’s book and put three of the 48 laws to work for you using my FOREGROUND/background technique: 

Law 3. Conceal your intentions

Keep people off-balance and in the dark by never revealing the purpose behind your actions. If they have no clue what you are up to, they cannot prepare a defense. Guide them far enough down the wrong path, envelop them in enough smoke, and by the time they realize your intentions, it will be too late.

FOREGROUND/background application:  As far as your coworkers are concerned, your current job is the only YOU they know. Keep your day job in the FOREGROUND as far as others see you, but psychologically, put it where it belongs: your background. Don’t tell anyone at your day job about your reinvention plans. There are many reasons for this, but the main thing is to keep your plans to yourself because everything takes longer than you think and you want to be able to leave on your terms once your reinvention is complete.

Law 29. Plan all the way to the end

The ending is everything. Plan all the way to it, taking into account all the possible consequences, obstacles, and twists of fortune that might reverse your hard work…By planning to the end you will not be overwhelmed by circumstances and you will know when to stop. Gently guide fortune and help determine the future by thinking far ahead.

FOREGROUND/background application: As you focus on your reinvention, try to visualize your day job as a project with  an end date in the FOREGROUND such as, “I will finish this assignment by April 15 when I will be starting my consulting business.” If you see your day job as a temporary assignment, it logically goes to the background as you plot your next move. As you implement Law 29, also remember Law 3. See above: Conceal your Intentions.

Law 31. Control the options; get others to play with the cards you deal

The best deceptions are the ones that seem to give the other person a choice…Give people options that come out in your favor whichever one they choose.

FOREGROUND/background application: Go into your day job with an ideal schedule in mind. Think about a schedule that works best with your own personal bio-rhythms. If you’re creative and energetic in the morning, think about how to channel those energies into YOUR business. If you’re interviewing for a part-time job, go in with your preferred hours firmly in your head and let them know your availability. They may ask YOU what hours you’re available, so it’s good to be prepared. Not all jobs are 8:00 to 5:00, so perhaps they’ll accommodate your request. It never hurts to ask, so be ready with your preference.

In closing, as you go through your day, remember to think like a photographer and keep the important things in the FOREGROUND. As you focus on picturing your reinvention, you’ll be the one in control.

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3 thoughts on “Life After Layoff: Adopt a Photographer’s Perspective as You Reinvent

  • January 7, 2015 at 4:11 am

    This is amazing! Thank you so much. I, too, am in a demeaning day 'job' that is draining the life out of me. I am going to put into effect the techniques that you describe and make tomorrow a BETTER DAY!

  • January 8, 2015 at 1:38 am

    As a photographer, Kathy, I truly enjoyed your Foreground /Background theme. I couldn't agree more that planning is a major component of success. Your blog was an enjoyable read. Well said!



    • February 5, 2016 at 12:44 pm

      Thanks, Phil. Your observation — and your photography — are well framed!


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