How to Bounce Back and Beyond After a Layoff

It’s no secret that layoffs are at the top of the news cycle right now. Every other day, it seems that companies, large and small, are laying off staff and eliminating positions. While we aren’t going to get into the state of the economy today, we are going to talk about resilience and how you can bounce back and beyond after a layoff.

First, let’s not pretend like you’re not going to feel something. You may experience a whole host of emotions: sadness, anger, frustration, resentment, guilt, relief, hopelessness, disappointment, fear, hope, etc. It’s important to recognize the reality of the situation and accept what happened and where you are now. When you’re laid off, it’s out of your control and often without warning. It’s natural to want to throw yourself a pity-party, to feel like a victim and start the blame game. I’m not saying not to do that. In fact it’s healthy to acknowledge whatever you’re feeling rather than suppress it or pretend like it’s not happening. I’m just saying keep it short. Give yourself 24 or 48 hours to move through the pain of losing your job. Feel whatever emotions you need to feel. Journal, drink some wine, talk with friends, go for a run, hell, eat some ice cream and cry. Feel your feelings and then get into action.

Here are 7 steps for how to bounce back and beyond after a layoff. Note: These best practices also apply if you voluntarily left a job or were fired. Regardless of how you have come to be unemployed, we’ve got you.

1. Maintain Your Routine & Make Yourself a Priority

If you already have a morning or evening routine that works for you and/or your family – keep it up! One of the easiest things to do after a layoff is to let your personal routine slip. There is no reason to get up at 5am, because there is no job to get to, right? Wrong! You have a new job to do (job hunting) and you’ll need to be at your best during this time. Maintaining your routing of meditation, journaling, exercise, prayer, yoga, etc. is more important now than ever. Make sure you are setting aside this time to make yourself a priority.

And if you don’t have a supportive routine, there is no time like the present to put one in place. When you’re completely out of your element with no job to show up to each day, focus on what you can control – your personal growth routine.

2. Create a Temporary Schedule for Your Current Life Situation

Depending on your personal financial situation and desire to get back to work, you may decide to take a beat and evaluate your options. Nothing wrong with that! However, for those of you who must work for personal or financial reasons, your new job is finding a job. Create a schedule that supports that priority. Obviously, your commitments are different now that you are unemployed. Again, focus on what you can control and create a temporary schedule that aligns with your current life situation.

For example:
5am – 6am – Meditate & Journal
6am – 7am – Exercise
8am – 9:30am – Family Time & Take the Kids to School
9:30am – 12:30pm – Job Search & Applying for Jobs
12:30pm – 1:30pm – Go for a Walk
1:30pm – 4pm – Network & Follow Up on Applications
4pm – 8pm – Serve Others (Family Time, Volunteer, Connect with Friends/Family, Coach Sports, etc.)
8pm – 9pm – Read, Journal, Unwind & Get a Good Night’s Sleep!

I’ve included time for you to serve others on purpose. When you find yourself in a less than desirable situation, it’s easy to become very self-involved and make it all about you. You may become even more fearful or desperate. And operating from this lower level of energy won’t serve you or anyone else. So, make it about someone else! Volunteer, spend additional time helping your kids with homework, reach out to someone who you haven’t spoken to in a while, teach a class… Giving back is going to feel good and raise your vibrational frequency. Not to mention, you never know who you might meet and what opportunities may arise!

3. Get Inspired

Now’s the time to make sure you are purposeful about your input. Choose podcasts, books, news sources, social media, etc. intentionally and make sure you are setting aside time in your day to listen, read, or watch content that will support your current journey. Get outside your own thinking. Learn something new. Get a fresh perspective on a leadership topic. Keep up to date on what is happening in your current industry or explore a new career path. This will keep you engaged and inspired and operating at your best during this challenging time.

4. Update Your Resume & Profiles

I would recommend you work on this within the first week of your unemployment. Update your resume with all of your prior experience (in particular the results you achieved in your prior roles). Make sure your social media profiles (specifically LinkedIn) or personal website are up to date. This isn’t just about your work history, but about sharing articles you wrote, maybe a speaking engagement you did, or your recent volunteer work. Show, don’t just tell, what you can do. Also, this is a great time to go give out recommendations to others in your network. Remember, make it about helping others and that good-will will be returned!

5. Connect with Your Network

Who are your trusted colleagues and former employers? What about your college professors or other coaches and mentors in your life? How about vendors or other business associates you’ve worked with in the past? Start working your network with those individuals you know well and go from there.

Talk to recruiters. Make sure people know that you are looking for your next opportunity (and be specific about what you are looking for in your next career or boss). You’d be surprised by how many people will want to help. Take interviews even if they don’t feel like exactly the right fit. It’s great practice for you and that’s one more connection that may lead you to your next opportunity.

I would also suggest you do some extensive research about where you want to work next and with what type of leader. Now’s the time to be really proactive about your next career move. I would argue that WHO you work with is far more important than WHAT you do each day. Reach out to those leaders and individuals. Request an informational interview. Pitch your skills to them and how you can contribute to them. Your life

6. Consider Alternative Income Options

As you are looking for your next career opportunity, you may want to consider temporary or alternative income options. While this may help supplement your severance or unemployment benefits, it also will help keep you in the mix, keep your skills sharp, and may lead to your next opportunity.

Perhaps you take on some temporary work, freelance, host an online training, consult, or dust off your real estate license and get some referrals. Even if you get another job quickly, I would recommend keeping some of these side gigs. Multiple streams of income are never a bad thing!

7. Interview, Interview, Interview

Be both discerning and open-minded when it comes to interviews. Don’t write of roles right away if they don’t seem like the perfect match. You may find out the culture and leadership are amazing and worth getting your foot in the door. Request informational interviews at companies that you’re interested in working with. It’s going to give you clarity about what opportunities you want now and in the future. All the while, you’ll be honing your interview skills. Not to mention, interviewing is a bit of a numbers game, so get your face and name in front of as many recruiters and hiring mangers as possible!

Remember, resilience is a requirement for getting back on track. Resilience is the process and outcome of successfully adapting to difficult or challenging life experiences, especially through mental, emotional, and behavioral flexibility and adjustment to external and internal demands. Often, resilience is discussed in terms of “bouncing back”. But I like to think about it as “bouncing beyond” when faced with adversity. You inevitably grow and change when you go through a difficult or challenging experience. Thus, by the very definition of growth, you can’t go back to your previous level of thinking or mindset before the adversity.

A layoff is likely is not something that you would consciously choose to happen to you. But, if it does, use it as an opportunity to learn and grow and bounce beyond!

For more tips on how to move forward after losing a job, along with insights into what employers and hiring managers are looking for, check out this podcast.

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