Being Laid Off: Your Next Steps

Being laid off from your job involves a roller coaster of emotions. It can feel demoralizing and stressful, but it can also be the beginning of a new chapter in your life. Whether it was because of the global pandemic, or some other exterior factor, 2020 and 2021 have turned out to be years of some of the biggest layoffs that we’ve ever seen.

Research shows that the longer someone remains unemployed, the more their psychological well-being declines. It’s important to talk about the mass layoffs occurring and the negative effect they can have on our communities as a whole. When a layoff happens, we can be caught up in the logistics of dealing with changes in our finances, breaking the news to our family, and finding a new job. What’s detrimental about that, is the lack of time we give ourselves to process and reflect.

Process it.

Realizing you are unemployed tends to send you into a panic mode. It’s completely valid as you have bills to pay, you need income, and it’s a frightening time. But being in a frantic mindset blocks you from being able to process the event. It’s important to feel out your emotions. You don’t want to hop into a new position just because you feel like you’re in a race against time to land a job, any job.

Like any traumatic event in life, you need to come to terms with what happened. Take a few days (or however much time you need) to take care of yourself. Eat well, stay on a normal sleep schedule, and move your body. Hitting pause and allowing yourself to heal will put you in a better head space to make your next move.

Reflect on the past position.

Just because you were comfortable in the job, doesn’t mean it was the best job for you. Physically write out what you would have liked to change about the position, company culture, or managing style. What would you have done differently? What will you do differently in the future? We often convince ourselves that we’re happy where we are because we don’t want to accept that there may be something better.

There isn’t a more perfect time to be honest with yourself and admit that there may have been more exciting opportunities out there. This is your chance to appreciate the position you had, but find one that is an even better fit for you.

Look at your options.

Now that you’ve accepted there were some things you didn’t love about your previous position, you can outline exactly what you’d want in your next one. It was important to accept your loss as such, but also know there will be a future. Look at your list of cons and use it as a guide to pinpoint what you’re looking for in the next job.

Ask yourself some questions:

  • Did I like working for that size of a company?
  • Was the industry the right one for me?
  • Is there a company I’ve always wanted to apply to?
  • Is it time for a career change?
  • Do I want to go the entrepreneurial route?
  • Is this an opportunity to relocate?

Take action.

You’ve processed it, reflected on it, and you’re ready to find something better. Take the time to highlight your newer achievements on your resume. Give it a face-lift and make sure it sells you well. Canva has some amazing templates if you’re thinking of changing it up. Get a loved one to proofread it (it’s so easy to miss things like spelling and grammar when you’ve been looking at the same document over and over again!).

It’s no secret that one of the most common ways of getting a job these days is a referral. It’s always okay to ask for help. Reach out to your friends and family to see who may have the connection to get you in the door or take a look at your LinkedIn connections.

A layoff is tough to deal with, but it is often a blessing in disguise.

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