Surviving a Layoff

How to go about surviving a layoff. Job loss is one of the most stressful life events. You need to have a good action plan in place to recover and get going in the job market.

Practical strategies will help you handle the lay off and compete for a new job.

Dealing properly with your feelings and concerns will enable you to mobilize yourself and put together the right resources for starting your job search and preparing to re-enter the job market.

Take these ten steps to handle the emotional challenges of your layoff in the most effective way possible

10 Steps to Surviving a Layoff

Use these tested strategies for handling a layoff.

1. Don't panic

Panic following a lay off is dangerous. Do not lose sight of these two facts - you are a skilled person and you will work again.

Adapt to what has happened and turn your energies to finding a solution. The way in which you look at the job loss will make all the difference in surviving a layoff. Avoid getting into a spiral of negative thought.

2. Acknowledge your feelings

It is absolutely normal to experience fear, anxiety and depression after losing your job. Don't pretend that you are fine, acknowledge what you are going through otherwise you will not be able to deal with it.

3. Write it all down

Put down on paper how you feel.

  • What would you like to have said to the company but didn't?
  • What upset you about the way you were laid off?
  • What thoughts keep going through your head?
  • What would you like to tell your family but feel unable to?

Empty all your negative emotions into your writing and get it out of your system. Do it as many times as necessary. You can even write a letter to the company and then burn it.  This can have a very cathartic effect.

4. Make a list of all the positive things about yourself

This is a good way to build your self-esteem and feel more positive. Ask for letters of recommendation from colleagues and managers. These serve two purposes in surviving a layoff - to boost your confidence and to help you in your job search.

5. List any positive outcomes of this experience

  • What good has come from this layoff?
  • What have you learned?

Finding value in the experience moves you from been a victim to a survivor. Practice telling yourself and others "It was very hard but I'm glad it happened because ...."

6. Engage in stress reducing activities

Take up yoga, jogging, walking or whatever is the most relaxing.

Key to surviving a layoff is to get involved in activities that help you reduce your anxiety and prepare for renewal.

7. Assess your financial situation

Take constructive steps to reducing financial anxiety by knowing your layoff rights.

Ask yourself what is the salary you really need to earn? Consider your savings, your expenses, your assets. Are you in a position to sell assets that no longer benefit you?  Are your monthly expenses all essential?

After reassessing your financial situation you may find that your salary requirements have changed, giving you more flexibility in job and career choices.

8. Take time to reflect

The layoff gives you time to examine your job and career history, your possible career path and your personal career goals. You now have the time and motivation to consider all this and work out what your next step will be.

You are off the treadmill for a while and able to really find out where you are and where you could be and want to be in your professional life.

9. List your current skills and knowledge

Look back on your work experience and select the most valuable and marketable skills you have to offer.

Are these the skills you want to use in your next job? A free online career aptitude test or a career counselor can help you decide.

10. Upgrade your skills

Surviving a layoff may include taking advantage of the time provided by the lay off to learn new and valuable skills.  Lifelong learning is critical in today’s job market, you should constantly be updating and upgrading your knowledge and skills. 

  • Listen to business and motivational learning podcasts
  • Research free courses online
  • What interests do you have that could be transformed into workplace skills

Even consider changing the place where you are offering these skills. You can change your location to be where the demand for your skills is.  Many people change their whole lives by moving from an area of low employment to an area of high employment.

Prepare for your job search

Once you have taken these steps it is time to prepare your resume and start your job search. Find out how at surviving a layoff

Do you know your layoff rights?

Make sure you know your layoff rights and get everything that is due to you.

This is an extremely tough time. Use the layoff tips to help you get through this period.

How to Claim Unemployment Benefits


Lay Off Tips and Advice


Know Your Layoff Rights

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