How to cope with getting laid off

Losing your job is a stressful and overwhelming experience, but it's important to remember that it's not the end of the world. If you've recently been laid off from work, here are some steps you can take to move forward:

Take care of yourself

Losing your job can be emotionally taxing, so it's important to prioritize your mental and physical health during this time. Make sure to get enough sleep, eat well, and exercise regularly.

File for unemployment benefits

If you've been laid off, you may be eligible for unemployment benefits. These benefits can provide you with a temporary source of income while you look for a new job.

Update your resume and social media profile

Take this opportunity to update your resume and profiles on LinkedIn, GitHub, etc. to reflect your recent experience and skills. This will make it easier for potential employers to see what you have to offer.

Plan ahead

While your memory is still fresh, make a note of non-confidential work tasks and projects that you contributed to, what challenges you faced, and how you overcame them. This will be invaluable when you come to apply for jobs and hopefully start interviewing.

Don’t burn your bridges

As tempting as it might be to complain and push back (I know, I’ve done it!), try to remain civil when communicating with managers and colleagues as you leave. There’s a chance you might bump into them again in a future role, and even if not, your reputation has a habit of following you around. If possible, try to also find people that could provide a reference for you in future. It’s easier to ask now than out-of-the-blue later on.

Network and reach out to connections

Now is the time to reach out to your network and let them know you're looking for a new job. Attend networking events, join professional groups on LinkedIn, and see if any of your connections know of any job openings that might be a good fit for you.

Consider upskilling or reskilling

If you're having trouble finding a job in your field, consider taking a course or training program to learn new skills that can make you more attractive to potential employers. This can help you stay competitive in today's job market. There are many online courses and certifications backed by reputable universities available at edX and Coursera.

Take stock

If your financial situation allows, take some time away from your specialist field. I did this myself taking a break from the tech industry. I couldn’t explain why at the time but looking back, I think I was getting burned out without realising it. I was able to reflect and wait until I was more clear about what I wanted to do next and with whom.

Learn from the past

"Consider what didn’t work for you in the last job, and be explicit during interviews about not wanting the job if it includes that." — Kay Rhodes (masukomi)

Delay the new start

"If you can afford to do so, ask for a delay before starting your new job. It’ll be a while before you get a vacation and the break with the security of a job afterwards will be good for your mental health." — Kay Rhodes (masukomi)

Elsewhere on the web, Steven Buccini shares some hard truths he learned after getting laid off from his software job. Overall, however, as difficult as it may seem please try to stay positive and proactive. Losing your job is a challenging experience but it can also be an opportunity to explore new career paths and grow as a professional.

I’ll leave you with words of hope from Ben Shearon of RetireJapan:

”Every time I've been laid off it has led to big positive life changes that probably wouldn't have happened otherwise.”

See more articles to help with job applications.