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December 04, 2008

Top 5 Things to Do After a Layoff

About eight years ago, I was laid off. Since I worked in downtown Boston and had to clean out my desk, I decided to take a cab home rather than lug my belongings on the train. I remember sitting in the back of the cab wondering what to do next.

And with another friend or relative losing their job (and asking me to keep my eyes and ears open for leads) seemingly happening weekly, a lot of people are feeling a similar pit in their stomachs. In recent weeks major layoffs have gone down at blue-chip companies like AT&T, Citibank and State Street Bank, as well as smaller firms. So I’ve compiled this list of the top five things to do after you lose your job. Hopefully you won’t have to use it, but it’s best to be prepared:

  • Take Time to Mourn: Getting laid off is like getting dumped. You feel rejected and maybe even worthless. Indulge your sad side with a day in bed, a pint of ice cream and/or all the daytime TV you can handle.

  • Get Moving: OK, pity party’s over. Time to take care of yourself. When I was between jobs a few years ago, I started each day with a brisk walk. Did it get me a new job? No, but it helped me feel like I was in control of something at a time where everything felt out of control. Plus, it’s good for you.

  • Tell People: This is the hard part, but in this economy, there’s no shame in it. Send an email. Make some calls. Get the word out. Let your friends and family help, whether it’s through getting you a new job or providing emotional support.

  • File for Unemployment: If you qualify, this will help bridge the financial gap between your layoff and your next job.

  • Update Your Resume: If you’re wondering how to address your layoff, this article can help. And of course, once that resume is up-to-date, you can look for jobs on Monster.

Need more advice on how to handle a layoff? Check out these resources:

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Posted by Christine on December 4, 2008 at 11:17 AM in Career Development | Permalink | Comments (14) | TrackBack (0)


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Okay, I like the post very apt for this time but those of us who ain't getting fired ain't quitting. Even if we hate our jobs! Either way, I reviewed Keirseys and Myer Briggs test that helps determine your career choice according to your type of personality. It's pretty interesting and quite accurate, especially for all those sacked and dont know where to look for a job right now.

Posted by: Asphodel | Dec 7, 2008 7:48:04 AM

You're not wrong. Getting laid off does feel like getting dumped. When I was made redundant I had to drive 300 miles thinking I was going to a monthly sales meeting, got there and was told I was being made redundant. Then had to drive 300 miles home!

It was not a nice drive home...

Posted by: Adware | Dec 9, 2008 12:34:56 PM

How abot going back and look at who you are (your personality), what you value, what your goals are and start design life you want. I know. This is easier said than done. But I beliefe it´s an essential piece of moving on again and being successful in life.

Posted by: Mik | Dec 12, 2008 8:42:29 AM

Heya... was going thru my statscounter and followed the link to this page here-- heh, funny that wasn't me commenting above! I think I love my job too much too get fired right now lol.... Either way, nice post! :)

Posted by: Asphodel | Dec 18, 2008 5:01:37 PM

Somewhere in this process, READ. Start with Dan Miller's book, 48 Days to the Work You Love. Before you run out and get another job, make sure it's what you should be doing. And while that burning sensation is still in your gut, make a plan for saving money for the future so you're not so panicked if this ever happens again.

Posted by: SecondTimer | Dec 18, 2008 5:01:37 PM

How about getting mad? I'm not advocating retaliating, but turning your "mourning" from inside to outside. I was laid off earlier this year. I occupied a senior technical role and had gone the extra mile and automated a lot of my administrative tasks. This left me time to devote to process improvement and adding as much value as possible to the company.

My reward was being let go during a downturn in that industry. I used the resultant anger constructively as "emotional fuel" and was employed again after a very short time.

Posted by: Mikey | Dec 18, 2008 5:01:38 PM

I want to say Thank You to the person that wrote that Blog and I found it very USEFUL and it's TRUE!
I have been Laid off twice in my life and this time it really HURT big time because I felt like I was part of the family.
I am from Weymouth, MA (outside of Boston, MA) and worked for a small company in North Quincy, MA before I was laid off on December 4, 2008. Talk about a shocker it was and I was highly upset about it.
I felt lost and very confused...I had co-workers who I thought disliked me crying with me and kept telling me "how sorry they were". Even my direct Boss kept saying "Sorry" well, to be honest the word "Sorry" doesn't help!
Being laid off is a grieving process and it take time to adjust to realty..NO JOB, NO INCOME and yes, you do feel worthless.
I have sent out over 30 Resumes and delivered a few and haven't heard anything in return, but I got my fingers crossed I will hear something soon! Maybe after the holidays.
My mother keeps telling me to go out and find a job..well, it's not that easy in the economy when there isn't many jobs out there. She doesn't understand at all!
I have applied for Unemployment, but they can not process my claim for 3-4 weeks and I do qualify. This doesn't help with Christmas or bills. Thank god some of my creditors are very understanding. I am greatful about that.
I love this blog.....and I found it to be a GREAT HELP. I read it to my boyfriend and he agreed with me.

Posted by: Irene | Dec 18, 2008 5:01:40 PM

I got laid off very recently. Here are two things I did:

- Invest severance pay (or what you can) in new equipment if your skills allow you to freelance. In my case I invested in a laptop and audio equipment. It may not be regular pay, but every bit of contract/freelance work matters.

- Go on the road trip, backpacking trip, or whatever trip you've been wanting to make if you are not settled down yet. Being in between jobs is a good opportunity for it. You will have the rest of your life to work, and two or three weeks on the road will be hard to come by when there are regular 40-hour work weeks and kids to think about.

Posted by: Anais | Dec 18, 2008 5:01:41 PM

I have just lost my job due to the "down turn in the economy" and after 17 years for me it was far worse than being dumped!

Needless to say the post is good but I would swap part of it around.... yes allow yourself to have a couple of days to "grieve" and then set your alarm clock, get yourself ready as if you are going to work, put a list of to do items infront of your PC all related to searching for something new and tell yourself, "Your new job is to find a job!"

Spend the morning, every morning focused on resumes, profiles and searching, set up job alerts on every site possible this will help you each day.

Make sure you have a break now and then, stop for lunch, and if you need to get out and have some fresh air make sure it is after you have got through your "job chores". No wandering off to put the laundry on, watching TV or such like until the evening.

Have your friends check in with you on a regular basis,(Like 8am in the morning!!)and make sure you are staying focused.
Allow yourself to have a crap day too - it is enevitable it's going to happen.

You will be suprised how much you can achieve in such a short amount of time, but remember too it's not going to easy and don't get down when things don't happen as quickly as you want them too.

And as Adware says, design the life you want, decide what it is that is important to you to help you determine where & what you want to be doing and remember, you are not alone - I am a statistic - one of 588,000 people that was let go in November.

Am I worried, yes of course I am, but I have great friends that have helped me through the last few weeks and are there to keep me on track....... Good luck!

Posted by: helen | Dec 18, 2008 5:01:44 PM

I was laid-off in the early 2000's - it was one of the best worst experiences I've had from a work perspective. I agree with all of your advice but I would also add to "get on the hunt". Treat your job search like a job itself and invest time in it daily. Don't just respond to ads, also leverage your personal and extended network to locate opportunities not publicized.


Posted by: sourcerkelly | Dec 18, 2008 5:01:52 PM

Reaching out to others is excellent advice. Remember to contact all those recruiters you dealt with via either another lay-off or those that contacted you to place a candidate.
Remember, if they place you in a management position they have an “in” so not only do they make money on your placement they have the advantage of knowing you first hand and that may provide the advantage they need to make more placements (more money).
Exercise is good not only for your health but it also gives you more energy and you need to show energy during an interview. Hiring managers want energetic employees. If you have been exercising it will show in your eyes and your demeanor.
Good luck to you all and Merry Christmas.

Posted by: Joe | Dec 18, 2008 5:02:09 PM

The sting isn't quite so bad when you're a contractor. I've had contracts end abruptly several times, so it's easier to handle because I'm more used to it. I'm also used to having some down time between contracts from time to time, so I have a set routine for when I'm between jobs.

It still sucks to lose a job, especially one you like and in a down economy to boot. These tips are very helpful. You need to make sure you don't fall into bad habits, like lazing around and procrastinating or sleeping in later and later every day. These are really easy traps to fall into and are easy to avoid by giving yourself some tasks to do every day at a particular time. This will also ease the transition back into work when you finally get another position.

Posted by: tula | Dec 18, 2008 5:02:40 PM

My husband has been out of work for quite some time now. I was the sole bread winner in the family. I was laid off Nov. 3rd, due to the economy, from a major newspaper co. I was a revenue generator for them. I out sold my colleagues 4 to 1. It was a jaw dropping experience when I was told. How could this be? There must be a mistake somewhere in upper mgmt, I thought to myself. So, I am trying to keep my head on straight and persevere anyway.
I told my husband he better put in gear, now that he can't rely on my income anymore.

Posted by: Susan | Jan 6, 2009 11:01:46 AM

If you are able to do so, go to the unemployment office the same week you get laid off - if you wait until the following Monday, your benefits will be delayed because they consider the day you file to be the starting point, rather than the day you became unemployed.

Shameless plug: My book is designed to help people get better jobs, faster, and earn more money. It's called Get A Job! Your Guide to Making Successful Career Moves and is available now.

To your success,

David B. Wright
Author, Get A Job! Your Guide to Making Successful Career Moves

Posted by: David B. Wright | Jan 6, 2009 11:06:26 AM

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