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Lessons Learned from a Layoff

Kendrah Wick
4/20/18, 9:16 AM

layoffsA couple of years ago I fell victim to a round of layoffs at my place of employment. I had taken a vacation day for a long weekend and received word from a handful of co-workers who had already gotten their notice. My heart sank. I wandered into the office Monday morning, packed up my desk and collected by final paycheck. I was unemployed.

I felt an array of emotions over the course of the next few weeks. I struggled to feel useful and productive, even though I was actively looking for a new position and had several prospects.

Layoffs can be disheartening, but there are some lessons to be learned. Lessons to get you through to the other side:

1. It's not personal: Layoffs rarely are. The most common cause of a layoff is cutbacks, but its hard not to take it personal. Of course I took it personal. I was angry and upset, I may have cried a little. I had been there a year and half, I liked the people and the job. Once I got through the initial shock and sadness, I spoke with others who had also been laid off. We were a solid workforce. I came to realize it wasn't about my talent or hard work. It was out of my hands. This gave me the confidence to move forward and find my next position.

2. Trust in the timing: Of course there is no good time to be laid off, but in this case, it worked in my favor. I had a planned cruise vacation coming up and while financially it may have been wise to pull out and skip the trip, I actually needed it. Being away from real life for a week changed my whole perspective. I could forget about the layoff, start fresh when I returned and a little sunshine definitely helped.

3. Re-invention is magic: After some time away, I got straight to curating a new position. I had been doing some general administrative and client service work for the company that laid me off, but I wasn't itching to get back to that. I wanted something new. I accepted a position in market development. It was outside my comfort zone, my skills were a little green, but it was different and the company was young and fun. I learned a lot over the next 5 years and it ended up being right where I needed and wanted to be (see #3). It expanded my skill set, was flexible with my life schedule and provided me with far better opportunities than I could have imagined.

4. Celebrate: Sure, being laid off is a bummer, but you know what, it happens and now you are standing at the path of endless possibilities. Layoffs, as I mentioned, are often times due to financial issues or internal restructuring- be glad you aren't feeling the weight of that when you walk into the office in the morning. I know being laid off does come with a certain level of stress, but allow that stress to motivate you and lift you up. Celebrate your education, experience and expertise and take the next step in your career journey.

5. Prepare and move forward: Don't worry. You'll come out of the layoff blues. All the worry and stress will melt away when you focus on the next steps. Check out the list below for some great ways to get back in the workforce-

How to collect Unemployment

Ways to refresh your resume

Continue your education

Consider contacting some recruiters

Pick up some hiking boots and get in some zen


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