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So You’ve Been Laid Off. Here’s What to Do.

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The only certainty in life is that nothing is certain (well, except for maybe two things). That applies to your career. You can be a top performer at your company, but as recent events have shown, it still doesn’t guarantee you 100% job security. If you’ve recently been laid off from work, you’re not alone:

 

  • 21.9 million Americans were laid off in 2018 – and that’s when the economy was booming!
  • 37% of working-age Americans have been laid off at some point, according to a survey by Monster.
  • 43% of those who have been fired or laid off have experienced it more than once, according to the same survey.

 

And it’s important to know that it’s not the end of the world – there are lots of ways to turn a layoff into an opportunity to become a stronger person and professional.

 

For those of you out there who are feeling lost and wondering what to do when you lose your job, here’s some advice from the Betts team. Keep reading past the video for more detail!

Don’t get down on yourself

Before you can start on any post-layoff action items, it’s crucial to understand that there’s absolutely no reason for you to feel ashamed. Being laid off is not the scarlet letter some people think it is. More often than not, the reason behind a layoff is circumstantial – it says more about your company or the economy than about your individual performance or capabilities. This means that even if you’ve been laid off, there’s no reason to feel less professionally valuable or less capable of competing for an exciting new role.

“More often than not, the reason behind a layoff is circumstantial – it says more about your company or the economy than about your individual performance or capabilities.”

So keep your head up. This is a pivotal opportunity to take control of your personal and professional destiny, and the last thing you need at a moment like this is to feel down on yourself.

Nurture your network

Just because you’ve been laid off doesn’t mean you can’t, or shouldn’t, be professionally active. Reach out to old mentors and other useful contacts and fill them in on the situation. Amplify your voice on LinkedIn by sharing more insights and content, both on your own page and on other people’s. Build your portfolio. Polish your resume. If you’re in content, design, or a related field, consider promoting your services as a freelancer. 

 

And yes, while you’re doing all this, you should be regularly applying for new roles in your field. Talk to our team to connect with companies who are hiring.

Work on your personal projects

How many times have you thought about something you’d do or create if you only had the time? Work can be really exciting, but the 9-to-5 life can make it hard to give much attention to projects that nurture our personal passions and creativity. 

 

Even if you work every day to nurture your network and search for your next career opportunity, you’re bound to have more time than you did before you were laid off. What can you do with that time? Lots of things. You can learn the piano, do more creative writing, get better at cooking…the possibilities are endless.

Let yourself be

Even though layoffs are often unavoidable, lots of people who get laid off end up blaming themselves. As a result, they punish themselves by holding higher standards of productivity than ever before. If this sounds like you, stop! Being laid off from work is stressful enough as it is – the last thing you need is to make it worse by cracking the whip on yourself too hard.

“Being laid off from work is stressful enough as it is – the last thing you need is to make it worse by cracking the whip on yourself too hard.”

Of course, don’t let yourself become a hot mess. Get up at a reasonable hour, dress like it’s a workday, and take steps to move forward as outlined above. But sometimes, you don’t want to spend all day working on your portfolio or practicing the piano. Sometimes you’d rather spend some of that time catching up on some reading, taking a walk, or even watching an episode or two of something. And that’s okay. 

 

Layoffs happen. All kinds of people get laid off, from entry level sales reps to Vice Presidents. The important thing is how you handle it. Take it in stride, take steps to move through it, and care for yourself while doing so. If you can manage that, you’ll be fine in the end.