Surviving and Thriving After a Layoff

by Sue Morem | March 18, 2015

  • My Vault

If you or anyone you know has been laid off from a job, you know it’s not easy. Even when layoffs are imminent, it’s natural to hold on to the hope that your position might be ‘saved.’ If you were unhappy in your job, being laid off can be a blessing. However, if you loved your job and imagined staying there for some time, it can be devastating.

Being laid off may not have been part of your plan, but when a layoff hits, you realize life’s plan is bigger than yours. Some things are out of your control. You can choose to fight life or flow with it. You can feel bitter and angry or begin to create the next chapter of your life and grow from the experience. It is the most trying times in your life that will define you.

I was let go from one of my first jobs after only 6 months. I was young and naïve, and unprepared for the day I was terminated. It took me years to admit I was let go. The pain and embarrassment I once felt is replaced with gratitude that I got out when I did. It was an experience that helped shape who I am today.

A Layoff Often Leads to New Opportunities

At the time it happens, a layoff can be devastating, but it can be one of the best things that can happen to you. A layoff forces you to take inventory of yourself; to seek new opportunities. For some, it is the kick in the pants they need to pursue their true passion, start a business, work in a new field and change career direction. Layoffs have led people to uncover talents, start new businesses and reinvent themselves.  

Your Final Impression is a Lasting Impression

How you respond to being laid off is important. Leave with your head held high, your reputation intact. Be grateful for the experience and opportunity you had and the connections that were made. Keep your network intact for it may be through your coworkers and previous managers that you will find new opportunities. If you display resentment and bitterness toward the company it can backfire and leave people with a negative feeling view of you.

Next Steps

Take some time to process what has happened, but don’t try to do it alone. Start connecting and reconnecting with others to let them know what has happened, and that you are seeking employment. Update your resume, practice your interviewing skills. Think about how you will talk about what happened, and practice that as well.

If you aren’t sure what’s next, or what to do with your time, consider volunteering at an organization that resonates with you. It can help give you a sense of purpose, hone in on new skills and shows potential employers that you are actively working and being productive, even if without pay. It will broaden your perspective and connect you with new people and ideas.

You Can Allow a Layoff to Define You or Begin to Redefine Yourself in this Moment

Life is full of things that are out of our control, but the one thing we always have control over is how we respond to what happens. You can choose to be knocked down or you can choose to pick yourself up and move forward with purpose and positivity. You will survive, and you will thrive again!

For over 25 years, Sue Morem has been innovating, leading and motivating people and organizations, helping them to 'gain the professional edge'. She is a dynamic speaker, trainer and presenter; the author of 6 books on personal and professional development, a syndicated workplace advice columnist and has worked with many of the nation's top organizations. A nationally recognized career expert, she is frequently quoted in a variety of news and business publications and seen on national television. Her mission is to move people forward in their lives; to instill hope and optimism, to help people reach their full potential and their dreams. Sue can be reached through her website suemorem.com and her newest project TheYearofPossibilities.com .

Filed Under: Interviewing | Job Search | Workplace Issues

Tags: Layoffs

Close button

Get tips on interviewing, networking, resumes, and more directly to your inbox.

No Thanks

Get Our Career Newsletter

Interview, resume and job search tips emailed directly to you.