You Just Got Laid Off - Now What?

"I got called into the VP's office today, and they told me I don't have a job anymore"

Your company may be using fancy words to describe what has happened - like rightsizing, downsizing, reorganization, re-engineering, consolidation, business shifting, etc.

The plain and simple truth is - you got laid off.
This is not happy news, even if you hated your job.

It stings to hear the words "Your services are not needed anymore. Please pack up your personal belongings and you will be escorted out of the building." Often the people leading these changes are not very sensitive to the fact that you are a human being and you have been loyal to this company!

Here are some tips if this happens to you:

1. Expect to experience a wide range of emotions.

  • Even if you "saw this coming" and it is not a total surprise, you will have many feelings over the next few days and/or weeks. Even if you are actually relieved that you don't have to get up every morning and go to this job - you may experience sadness, confusion, anger, shame, shock, fear and maybe even euphoria. Having a wide range of emotions that last, in some cases, a few weeks, is normal. If you find yourself experiencing extreme emotions over an extended period of time, you may want to consider seeking out professional guidance.

2. For the first 48 hours after losing your job, focus only on yourself.

This is NOT the time to call everyone you know to begin networking. Talk your feelings over only with family and your close circle of trusted friends, not all of your work colleagues and networking contacts. This is critical. You need time to vent your concerns and emotions. Otherwise you may say things you might regret and you may inadvertently leave impressions upon people that are misinterpreted.

3. Get prepared before you begin your job search.

  • Have you thought through carefully what you are actually going to say about why you are no longer working at company X? This is very important. You may think you know how you are going to explain this…but until you try speaking it out loud and get some feedback about how your statement comes across, you may be sabotaging your chances for a new job.
  • Have you reviewed your skills and experiences?
  • Have you given careful consideration to what the right job is for you at this point in your career?

4. Actions you might want to take immediately.

  • Start updating and revising your resume based on what type of position is a good match for you at this point in your career (you might find you need professional help here)
  • Look on the internet and in newspaper classifieds for an idea of what types of jobs are out there
  • Make a list of the people you will want to contact for advice (after you have thought through exactly what you will say)
  • Write down your strengths and be prepared to state your top three accomplishments from a business perspective
  • Read appropriate journals and articles to be sure you are current on market changes and new language and buzz words
  • Seek out the professional services of a career coach, if appropriate

The Good News??

Studies show that most people who have gotten laid off, move on to other opportunities and report (after one year) that they are happy it happened and that they have found themselves in a much more fulfilling work situation.



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