Being laid off doesn’t necessarily equate to a career derailment. Yeah, it’s hard, and your self-esteem might be a little bruised and the idea of dipping into your savings can make you feel a bit uneasy but there is light at the end of the tunnel.
While a knee jerk reaction is to immediately start to network, update your resume, and call us. Which are all good steps to take. It’s also important to allow yourself time to work through the roller coaster of emotions, because it’s difficult to get hired when you’re still in a state of shock or feeling sorry for yourself.
Here are some steps to get back in the game.
Take Some Time to Grieve
Getting laid off is perhaps the most professionally traumatic experience you’ll ever have. “The old adage that it’s not about you is nonsense,” John Lees, a UK-based career strategist and the author of How to Get a Job You Love, told the Harvard Business Review. “It’s a rejection — the company is saying, ‘We don’t need you. We can manage without you.’ It feels personal.” While it’s natural to feel this way, Less writes, you mustn’t lose perspective. All in all, “getting laid off is a manageable setback on the scale of the human experience.”
This is why it’s a good idea to give yourself time to decompress. Take a vacation of sorts. “The first phase is recovery,” Less says. Don’t make any big decisions in those first few days and don’t rush into the job market the day after you’ve received the news. You need time to process what happened and “how you feel about it.”
Assess Your Finances
It’s always a good time to get a handle on where you stand financially especially after a layoff because it’s critical to keeping your stress and anxiety in check. Look over your household budget in the context of your severance and any other unemployment benefits. Basically, figure out how long you have to look for a job.
Let Go of the Anger
It’s natural to feel a lot of anger and resentment. It’s important to talk about those feelings with trusted friends and “people with whom you don’t need a script and who have no agenda,” says Lees. Tell it as many times as you need in order to resolve any “emotional baggage” and get it out of your system before you get in front of a recruiter. They will sense your bitterness and it won’t reflect well on you, writes Lees.
Frame your Layoff
Once you’ve moved past the initial shock and anger of the layoff, next is crafting a simple explanation for your layoff that you can confidently share with professional contacts and potential hiring managers, suggests Lees. Develop an “objective, short, and upbeat message that shows you’re not a victim and you’re not stuck.” Lees suggests saying something like: “My former company went through an extensive restructuring. I’ve been an opportunity to rethink my career, and what I am looking for now is XYZ.” It’s a simple yet strong technique that moves you from the past to the present to future in only a couple of sentences.
Stop Beating Yourself Up
If you know that you’re a good employee and you did everything you could, stop blaming yourself. Try not criticize and over-analyze every little detail but do take an honest assessment of your actions. So you don’t make the same mistakes again.