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Navigating Layoffs: Six Steps to Get Back on Your Feet

Let's talk about something that's touching a lot of people right now — getting back on your feet after facing a layoff.

This blog post lays out a 6-step guide to take you from that moment when you first hear of your company's RIF to well into the job-search process.

First, I want to acknowledge that a layoff does not define your worth as an individual. It's a reflection of the company's decisions and external circumstances, not a reflection of your skills or value.

I've personally experienced the impact of layoffs, both in my own career and while supporting others through similar situations.

1. Understand and Process the Situation

The very first step is to emotionally adjust to your new reality. Easier said than done, right?

When facing a challenging situation like a layoff or a significant job change, it's super important to take the time you need to get your emotional bearings. I've never heard someone say, "I made a great decision while boiling hot mad!"

My Navy Captian PopPop used to say, "Take your time to find your sea legs," when any big life change was happening. That means slow down, assess the situation, and figure out how to ride the waves.

It's okay to feel overwhelmed, sad, or confused – these emotions are natural responses to the shock of a sudden job loss.

Personally, I've experienced layoffs in my career, both to my coworkers and once to myself, and I know how unsettling they can be. You can't make great decisions when you're holding a lighted match; you can only burn bridges.

That's why acknowledging your feelings is the first step to emotional regulation that will lead to a professional response. Recognizing and accepting your emotions allows you to start moving forward with a plan.

If you find yourself struggling to cope with the changes, don't hesitate to seek support from friends, family, or a counselor. Talking about your feelings and getting guidance can make a world of difference in how you manage your emotions during this time. Personally, talking to my therapist, friends, and family has helped me calm down and see clearly again.

Take the time you need to come to terms with the situation, process your feelings, and create space for acceptance. It's okay to feel a range of emotions, and it's important to give yourself permission to experience them fully before moving forward. Reaching out for support is a sign of strength, not weakness.

2. Identifying Your Unique Skills and Passions

Next, align your job search strategy with your skills, passions, and personality.

Think of it like a three-circle Venn diagram. In one circle, you have your skills; in the other, your passions; and in the third, your unique personality traits. What job uses all three? Where can you use your strengths and strengthen your weaknesses?

By understanding what drives you and where your strengths lie, you can tailor your search to find a job that truly resonates with you. As part of this process, I recommend joining group coaching sessions that offer invaluable support and guidance in your job search journey.

We apply this exact process in our group Find a New Full-Time Job. We meet on Wednesdays.

3. Set Clear Goals and Plans

Once you've identified your target job titles, it's time to set specific job search goals and outline a clear plan to check all of those goals off.

Having well-defined objectives and a roadmap in place will enable you to focus your efforts effectively and track your progress along the way. I call this "plotting your path."

Some goals might involve networking and reaching out to people on LinkedIn or over email. Other goals might include redrafting your resume and applying to a certain number of jobs every day.

Remember, each step you take brings you closer to your next opportunity. Plot your path and walk it, and you'll get to your next best-fit job.

4. Network and Build Connections

Networking and building new connections play vital roles in the job search process. According to recent studies, over 80% of individuals securing new jobs found them through direct networking. That means connecting with current and past colleagues, going to industry-specific networking events, and reaching out to strangers directly to get to know them.

That whole process can be a little intimidating. I get you.

Do it anyway. Grab a template. Schedule a time. Body double with a friend. And get it done.

If you need help, reach out. I help people with their jobs and money all day, and I'm happy to help you, too.

5. Take a Good Look at Your Personal Budget and Trim It Down

The very first question I get asked when someone is laid off is usually, "How do I pay my bills?"

This is when we enact what I call an emergency budget. I've written about them before, given quite a few trainings, and discussed them in my podcasts. Here's the long and short of it:

  • An emergency budget is your regular budget with all the fun and discretionary stuff taken out.

Figure out what you have to pay and what you don't have to pay for. Cancel subscriptions. Stop going out and getting delivery. If you need to, cancel vacations. Look, I know that makes me the bad guy here, but I really don't want you to go bankrupt.

According to FlexJobs, it takes 3-6 months to find a new job from start to finish. Let's hunker down and minimize the financial impact of that loss of income.

Again, if you need help, that's what I do all day. Saver Street has really affordable group coaching programs. Let's get you in financial shape and get you a new job.

6. Seek Help and Guidance

Finally, don't hesitate to ask for help when needed. Whether you reach out to friends and family for support, consult with career professionals, or seek guidance from mentors, seeking assistance can offer valuable insights and perspectives as you navigate through this phase.

I'm here to help with both the job search and the financial side. Book a complimentary consultation right on to see if it's a good fit for you.

If you or someone you know is currently facing the challenges of a layoff, remember that you're not alone in this journey. By following these steps and staying focused on your goals, you can find a new, better-fit job and come out stronger on the other side.

You've got this.


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