Got Laid Off? Here's What to Do NowNisha Kumar Kulkarni Jan 23, 2023 11:00 AM Illustration by Marian Blair
Unexpectedly losing your job is an incredibly stressful experience. While you worry about job prospects and meeting financial responsibilities, it can feel difficult to stay positive and focus on self-care.
Thankfully, there are resources that can help you through this time when planning your next career move. Continue reading to learn our best practices and tips to navigate your way through job loss—and getting your next one.
What to do when you are laid off
When you get the news that you’re being let go, the most important thing you can do for yourself is to breathe. Don’t panic. Before your mind goes into overdrive, allow yourself to feel disappointment and sadness.
Then, switch your focus to what you can do in the immediate aftermath. This may include:
If your employer conducted mass layoffs but did not provide you with 60 days notice, they may have violated the WARN Act. Find out whether your employee rights were violated by researching the WARN Act and seeking legal counsel.
What not to do
You cannot predict exactly how you’ll react if you are laid off, but here are four tips you should keep in mind regarding what not to do:
Prepare for the job search
When you feel ready to dive into the job search, the first and most obvious task is to update your resume. Make a list of the skills you utilized on the job and the contributions you made, then thoughtfully figure out the top three to five points that are most relevant for the jobs you’re looking for—you want to make sure your resume reflects these positive points.
While it’s natural to feel discouraged—and even upset—about being let go, you’ll want to be careful about how you talk about the experience in future conversations with potential employers. To prepare, practice having an honest and concise answer that can lead into more fruitful conversation, such as how your strengths make you an ideal candidate.
Take care of yourself
As insecure as you may feel, put your experience into perspective so that you can take your next steps forward. Being laid off isn’t unique to you—in fact, the monthly layoff rate in 2022 hovered around 1% of the US workforce, representing 1.4 million people.
As you look for your next job, don’t forget to take some time to care for yourself. It’s easy to spend hours upon hours perusing job postings online and sending out feeler emails, but make sure to schedule regular breaks where you actively do something good for yourself. Your next job will happen—you want to make sure you’re in the best physical and mental shape to take it on.
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Nisha Kumar Kulkarni is a writer and creative coach in New York City. She helps women living with chronic illness and mental health challenges to pursue their passion projects without compromising their health.