Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Layoff Project: "There is no shame in losing your job, not in this economy."

A note from a polymer chemist we'll call LM:


I've been laid off twice. The first time was hard, the second wasn't as it was old hat by that point. Here's what I learned (sorry that I'm not formally answering your questions directly).

1) The perspective that I took (not always completely successfully – some days were better than others) was that my job hunt would end at some point. If I knew the exact day, then I would sit back, enjoy life and just wait it out. So why should anything be different just because I didn't know the exact day that I would start working again?

2) Sure, you can look and apply online, but isn't that what everyone else is doing? Is that how you are going to differentiate yourself? Seriously? What if someone asks you in an interview what you are doing to find a job – is your answer just going to be "I'm looking online at Monster/Indeed/CareerBuilder…" Do you take that same approach in your job of just googling for a solution anytime you have a problem, or do more and go talk to people? This leads to my next point…

3) Network to find your job. When you are out of a job, let people know. Let everyone know. (There is no shame in losing your job, not in this economy.) Talk to your friends, and family, your neighbors, your garbageman, your minister, the dishwasher repairman, the clerk in the checkout at the grocery store, the people standing in line in front of you at the grocery store …And push them to talk to people that they know. (And now you have a better answer to that potential interview question in the previous paragraph.)

4) Never give your resume to anyone unless they are interviewing you or could interview you. If someone wants to look at your resume, they are just gawkers. If they say they know someone that could hire you, then have them make an introduction for you. Unless you are total loser, you will come across better than your sheet of paper and you can tell your story far, far better than anyone else can, so do it yourself.

CJ here again. Thanks to LM for sharing his advice and best wishes to all of us.

The Layoff Project is an attempt to collect the oral histories of chemists who have been affected by the changes in the pharmaceutical and chemical industries. The explanatory post is here; stories can be left in the comments or e-mailed to chemjobber -at- gmail/dot/com. Confidentiality and anonymity is guaranteed. 


  1. How many total stories do you have thus far? Are they still coming in? I find them quite interesting, BTW.

  2. I really like all the stories from the layoff project. I lost my job a while ago and it makes me feel better knowing i am not alone. also, knowing what other people did to improve their situation is helpful.