By Lorraine Russo
Believe it or not, there was actually a time when companies felt bad about cutting their employees loose. I know you might find this unimaginable now, but there really was a time when draconian, across-the-board layoffs were truly difficult decisions for some companies.
While scary, my first experience with being “displaced” was, in the end, a highly-positive one and opened dozens of doors for me. You see, this job loss resulted in my first and only exposure to outplacement counseling, and it changed the way that I would search for – and get – just about any job I applied for.
How did I do that? I’m going to give you little background on this, so please bear with me as I lay the groundwork for why outplacement counseling is so important.
In the mid-1980s, I worked for Mercantile Stores, a national retailer headquartered in New York City. I had my first professional job there as a technical writer, and was a loyal and happy employee for nearly seven years. One of the neat things about this company was that it literally started as a small dry goods store in the 1800s and evolved into a national department store chain (similar to a Macy’s type of department store). As they grew, they retained (and insisted upon) a “mom and pop” culture and treated their employees with dignity and respect.