How to deal with the emotional blow of a lay off

Regardless of age, position or occupation, being laid off is a heavy blow. Perhaps you knew it was coming, or maybe it caught you completely by surprise. Regardless of the circumstances, it’s a time of vulnerability and uncertainty that can be hard to handle.

Being laid off sparks a spiral of emotions.You might be shocked, upset, angry and apprehensive about the future. All of those are normal human reactions, and perfectly understandable during a layoff. Increasingly large numbers of Americans link their work to their identities, saying that it gives them a sense of purpose. When this link is broken by a lay off, it can make us especially vulnerable, not just financially but also emotionally.  

So how do we deal with those emotions, handle the transition and prepare for the next stage in our careers? Here’s some practical tips to help you manage the emotional rollercoaster of being laid off.


Acknowledge your emotions, but try not to dwell

The hurt and disappointment of a lay off is natural, and anyone would expect to feel low and sense of rejection. However, those emotions can become problematic if they become a habitual cycle, or the filter for everything you do next.

Accept those negative emotions for what they are, but don’t let them stop you from taking action. The next step in your career awaits, opportunities are coming and the negative emotions from a layoff could hinder your ability to find your next job.

Handle the practicalities

It's essential that you address the practicalities of your situation, and how you're going to manage them moving forward. Depending on your particular situation you may need to think about:

·      Severance packages

·      Health insurance

·      References and resume services offered by your previous employer

·      Returning company equipment

·      Finances and budgeting

 Taking action on the fundamentals of job transition leaves you better equipped to handle this period of uncertainty.


Look after yourself, in mind and body

People who have been laid off know the common temptation: to sit around in your pajama pants, Netflix and a tub of ice cream your constant companions. But not only is this bad for your physical health, there are serious mental health consequences to unemployment as well.

It's important to look after yourself during this time, and not fall into habits that can feed poor negative physical and mental health.

Here’s a few tips to stay sharp and focused during a lay off:

·      Treat your job search like an actual job – keep regular hours and stick to them

·      Maintain healthy relationships, both personal and professional

·      Stay active and eat well

Have you been laid off? Join our community of people who are going through a similar experience.


Train, upgrade and upskill

A recent survey of 2,000 employers found that 77% of respondents were more likely to shortlist a candidate who has regularly upskilled. So why not use this time todo exactly that? You've unexpectedly been given a gift many people crave: more free time. It's the perfect opportunity to expand your knowledge, finally complete that online course you never had time for, and to learn a new skill that can increase your marketability. It's possible that you can actually emerge from a lay off more equipped and better skilled than ever before, ultimately boosting your chances in the job market.

Remember: this does not define you

Businesses grow and shrink, shift and change. You’re not the first and you certainly won’t be the last person to be laid off.

Work is just one aspect of who you are. We also have friends, families, hobbies, values and interests that make us wholly human.We may be going through a tough time professionally, but it doesn't mean it has to tarnish the other beautiful aspects of our lives. As the saying goes, 'as one door closes, another one opens'. It's a cliche but it's timeless for a reason: it's generally true. Recruiters are always on the look out for talented candidates and new opportunities open up.

A lay off is tough, but it's temporary – and it doesn't have to define you or cripple your career. It may actually be the catalyst for a new beginning, and an exciting new path waiting to be discovered.

 Silver Lining is a project to help those affected by lay offs. Our mission is simple: to capture the right candidate information and put it in front of recruiters in a single place. Have you been laid off and looking for work? We can help. Submit your profile or Contact Us to get started.