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What To Do First After A Layoff

 Employee leaving the office after a layoff with a box of belongings while a colleague looks on.

Layoffs are a pervasive phenomenon and the reality of facing a layoff is becoming more and more common, affecting individuals across industries and job levels. Countless people are navigating similar paths, discovering that a layoff doesn’t define their worth or potential and that companies make these decisions based on a myriad of factors, often beyond their control. Whether due to economic downturns, corporate restructuring, or unforeseen circumstances, experiencing a layoff can be a challenging and emotionally charged event.


Recognize You Are Not Alone

When the announcement comes, it’s natural to feel a mix of emotions. The first steps you take in response to a layoff can set the tone for the next several months. It’s critical to manage your stress level and remember that a layoff is not personal or a judgment of your skills or dedication. Layoffs usually displace many  people and although it may not seem like it, you're not alone in this experience.


Ask For A Letter

Start by proactively requesting a layoff notice or termination letter from your employer as well as a letter of recommendation. These types of documents can provide insight into the circumstances surrounding your departure, articulate your value to a future employer, and can be a significant asset in your job search


Manage Your Finances

Immediately addressing financial concerns is essential. Explore the possibility of a severance package, ensure you collect your final paycheck, and navigate the process of filing for unemployment. Set goals and take a hard look at your budget, trim unnecessary expenses, and create a financial plan to see you through this transition.


Explore Your Health And Retirement Plans

Beyond the basics, consider your health and financial wellbeing. Take some time to investigate health insurance options, including COBRA coverage for you and your family. Assess the impact of the job loss on your retirement plan or pension, exploring alternative solutions to mitigate potential long-term consequences and maintain financial security.


Tap Into Your Network

As you grapple with the practicalities and uncertainties, don't underestimate the power of your support system and professional network. Update your resume with your latest achievements as well as change your status on LinkedIn to “Open to work” and new opportunities. Reach out to colleagues and friends, not just for job leads but for emotional support during this challenging time.


Create A Daily Schedule

Establishing a daily routine can bring a sense of consistency and structure during a period of uncertainty. Allocate a specific time each day for job hunting activities, networking, and self-care. Breaks and downtime are just as important as active job-seeking; they can provide moments of rest, relaxation, and reflection.


Once the immediate needs are addressed and you've established a foundation, it's time to breathe life back into your career. While a layoff may initially feel like unsteady ground, it also presents an opportunity for growth and reinvention. It has often been said that it isn’t about what happens to you, rather what you do with it that matters. Seize this opportunity to take charge of your life and career, and as you weather the storm, you will come out stronger and more resilient than ever.


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