I’ve been an athlete for most of my life and consider health and fitness my greatest hobby. So when I was hired as the Director of Franchise Marketing at Gold’s Gym, I figured I would retire from that company.
It was my dream job! I had somehow figured out how to overlap my passion for marketing with my passion for fitness and my passion for franchising. It was the best career Venn diagram ever and I finally felt purpose in my profession!
Over three years into my time at Gold’s Gym, I got laid off. It was unexpected and felt like I was being kicked out of the family or voted off the island. The aftermath was one of the most difficult times in my life and simultaneously one of the most pivotal times.
I can wholeheartedly say that the setback really catapulted my career, even though that was impossible to see at the time.
As many people are facing sudden and unexpected layoffs, I wanted to share three things that helped me bounce back.
Prioritize Positive Perspectives
When I got laid off, I started to question my relevance.
“Am I actually good at what I do?”
“Has my time on the bench impacted my ability to run marketing programs?”
“Will I ever find something that I love to do as much as I loved working for Golds?”
I also started to think with a chip on my shoulder.
“How could they do this to me?”
“They fired ME but this other person is still there doing nothing?”
Negative thoughts like that are unhealthy and unproductive. You can avoid the negative thought spiral by scheduling daily connects with friends, family, past colleagues or even recruiters who can fill your brain with positivity and remind you that you’re a solid team member who will find a new employer quickly.
If your negative self-talk gets too loud, add affirmations to your bathroom mirror or download a daily affirmation app like “I Am,” “Mantra,” or “Motivations” that will fill your headspace with positivity. Also, if your brain is racing at night and you can’t turn off the doomsday scenarios, I highly recommend the Calm app for sleeping.
Have Sniper Aim At Your Passions
It may seem obvious to try to find your next role in your passion area, but after a layoff there is a tendency to panic and default into batch applying for jobs that are posted online. But the black hole of job postings is real and putting all of your eggs in online job listings will add to your frustrations.
The best roles are found through networking and identifying great job opportunities that don’t exist yet or have not been posted yet. Networking used to be cumbersome, but LinkedIn has made this so easy. You can sit at your computer and send connection requests just as easily as you can hit “apply” on a job board.
Write down a list of things you’re passionate about and then build out a list of companies that play in each of those spaces. Search the companies on LinkedIn and send a connection request to employees who work in the job functions you are most interested in.
When I got laid off from Gold’s Gym, it took me six months before I uncovered the no-brainer process of writing down my passions and then associated companies.
For me, fitness was still at the top of my “passions” list. When I wrote down the list of companies who play in the space and correlated it to LinkedIn, I realized I had many connections that I could reach out to about my job search.
Double Message Day
I spent a lot of time scrolling through my connections on LinkedIn and messaging anyone I thought would be helpful, whether they were in the fitness industry or not. Many connections were more than gracious with their time and passing my resume along to their connections.
On one lower energy day, I went back through my notes and applications and followed up with every single person I had not heard back from. Being in marketing, I dramatically renamed this day “Double Message Day.”
But I share this tip because it actually unlocked a conversation with the CMO of YouFit Health Clubs who ended up hiring me shortly thereafter. He missed the first message and wasn’t at all insulted that I reached out again.
It is completely polite to follow up and bump your message to the top of their inbox. Especially if you’re reaching out via a social media channel, direct messages can get lost. Pursue multiple channels if needed. You may not feel comfortable with this at first because it makes you feel a little crazy but you’re showing drive, tenacity and desire to be hired which are all good things.
I know it’s hard to believe, but this moment is a blessing that will take you to your next step.
I was laid off from Gold’s Gym in 2016. From there, I was Director of Brand Marketing for YouFit Health Clubs. Then CMO at Club Pilates. And now I am a founder and CEO of my own fitness concept called KickHouse.
I know it is hard to see the path forward. But there is a path. And it’s the start of something great. Trust me.