What To Do After You’ve Been Laid Off? 3 Tips

Filed in Uncategorized — February 6, 2023

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Let’s talk about what to do after you’ve been laid off.

I tell my story about quitting my corporate job a lot but I haven’t really shared my story of being laid off. 

I was in my mid-20s and had no idea it was coming. I was asked to a meeting with my supervisor and 2 other teammates. And then HR was on the phone.

When we were told that we were being laid off, it felt like a simultaneous slap in the face and a punch to the gut. 

I couldn’t quite believe what I was hearing. 

Our department had been performing well and I had been praised for my work. I would pitch in wherever I was needed, I would work late nights, I would go above and beyond. 

But I guess all that was secondary to the bottom line.

What happened in the next few weeks felt like an identity crisis. I had wrapped my identity around my job and my career.

In an instant, it all changed. 

Who was I?

Why did I give so much to this job?

What was this all for?

What do I do now?

What’s my true value?

It was a mix of sadness, confusion, and anger. Especially when I realized that they had downgraded my grade level a couple of weeks before layoffs, impacting my severance pay.

From that point on, I kept an arm’s distance from future employers. 

Anytime I felt like I was overgiving, I would remind myself that I needed to be my priority. My loyalty was to myself – not the organization I was working for

And now, I know thousands upon thousands of people are being laid off.

As I see article after article of massive layoffs, I wonder what the newly unemployed must be going through. 

Especially for folks with immigrant roots – we’ve been told all our lives that security and stability was to be found in our 9-5  jobs. How much this must turn their world upside-down.

If you’re one of those newly unemployed, I know what you must be going through.

There was a consistency and a certainty to your days and to your path and now…things have changed.

Some of you may be relieved and glad that you’re no longer working where you were.

Some of you may be deeply worried and concerned for the future.

And…maybe it’s a mix! But whatever you’re experiencing, the next step or steps feel a bit unknown.

3 Tips of What to Do After You’ve Been Laid Off

I felt that way too. It was like the rug was pulled from under me and I felt like I had to start all over.

Here are some tips for navigating the unknown that I hope will support you in this next phase of your journey…

First, Normalize What You’re Experiencing

Whatever emotions, fears, grieving…it’s completely normal and OKAY that you’re feeling that.

Instead of resisting it or allowing shame to come in, can you give yourself permission to feel whatever you’re feeling?

This is not a FAILURE on your part. Layoffs are usually not a reflection of your performance but a reflection of the down-the-line consequences of leadership’s decisions.

When I was first laid off, it wasn’t because I deserved it. It was because my organization needed to show better numbers to their shareholders.

So, if it feels unfair – that’s valid.

If you feel angry – that’s valid.

If you’re feeling elated – that’s valid too. 

Tip #2: Pause Before Making Your Next Career Move

If you have the privilege and the means to, I encourage you to pause and take a beat.

As folks with immigrant roots, we have been taught to ALWAYS be working, always be producing, always be achieving.

Unfortunately, this also pushes us to just go to whatever step we feel is the most available or achievable. Instead of the step we really want. There’s a difference. 

Take a step back and instead of letting fear drive your next step, allow your next step to be driven by desire. Answer these questions for yourself:

  • If I could create whatever career I want, what would it look like?
  • What would I be doing on a regular basis?
  • What kind of impact would I be making?
  • If I could create whatever lifestyle I wanted, what would it look like?
  • What would a regular Tuesday look like?
  • What strengths and gifts do I want to utilize in my next job?

The goal of these questions is to Zoom out. To support you in looking at the whole mountain instead of just the next step in front of you.

Tip 3: Explore Who You Are Without Your Job

Answer these questions.

  • What do you want?
  • What excites you?
  • What do you love doing?
  • What are you naturally gifted at?

Have fun, take a trip, do something that you couldn’t have done in your job. 

Look at companies that inspire you. Look at people whose careers excite you. 

Try new things. Allow yourself to pour into your passions and your interests. 

While this may be an unexpected shift in your path, it doesn’t need to be a setback, a failure, or mean anything negative about you and your choices.

It’s a shift. And you have so much choice with where you go next.

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I hope these tips were helpful for you. And if you’re looking to get support on your next career change, I’d love to support you in my group program, Living Bravely. Enrollment opens March 2nd but you can get access to early enrollment and bonuses by joining the waitlist.

Any questions? DM me on Instagram @nicolecruzcoaching 

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