Laid Off From Work? Here’s What You Should Do Next

You just lost your job. You may be devastated. You may be in denial. You may realize your work was toxic and be genuinely happy you never have to go back. Or you may not fully understand how you’re feeling.

Regardless of where your head’s at, it’s hard, and starting a job search can be even harder. Many people simply update their resume and apply for positions that look interesting. That’s one approach, but if you’re like most, you need to give yourself time to process the loss.

I’ve been in the exact spot you’re in now. I was laid off from an investment bank at a time when finance roles were hard to come by. Through personal experience, and through my work as a coach helping countless people find jobs, I’ve put together a timeline of how to handle that first week after layoffs.

DAY 1

The very first thing you should do after leaving the office is find someone to talk to. You probably won’t be in the mood to talk to everyone about your situation, but speaking with a close friend can help.

Once you’ve had the opportunity to vent, it’s time to start writing. I’m serious. Write about what just happened, how you’re feeling, how this impacts your plans, and what you might do going forward. The goal isn’t to come up with a game plan for what’s next. The goal is to capture the thoughts and emotions you’re experiencing so you won’t replay them over and over in your mind. Just write.

I recommend that every day during this period you spend at least 10 minutes journaling. Journaling consistently has been found to help people visit the doctor less, feel better, and have healthier immune function.

DAY 2

When I was unemployed, I spent days sitting on the couch. My wife would get home from work to find me in the exact spot as when she’d left in the morning.

Without the structure of a job, you’re likely to feel less productive and your well-being might suffer. That’s okay. But even if you’re not ready to start looking for work, there are other things you can do, including filing for unemployment benefits if you’re eligible. This was a step I didn’t take for a few months and I missed out on a lot of money. Don’t let that happen to you.

DAY 3

The next step is to update your resume. Depending on the condition it’s in, this may take more than a day. There are countless resources to help you here, but I’ve found The Muse to be particularly valuable.

Once you’ve updated your resume, I recommend sending it to several trusted friends or mentors for feedback. Know that resumes have evolved so you may get feedback that’s no longer relevant.

DAY 4

With your resume in good shape, let’s turn your attention to LinkedIn. Here are two articles I’ve written on how to get your profile looking amazing:

But seriously, if you’re not ready to go there yet, take another day or two.

DAY 5

Make a list of companies you’d absolutely love to work at. Start with a minimum of five, but no more than 15. Once you have this list, think about people you know at each company. LinkedIn’s a great tool to help with this as the company page will show the first and second degree connections you have at each one.

Starting with companies rather than just looking for openings will put you in the mind-set of pursuing opportunities that energize you, rather than looking for what’s available. Interestingly, most roles never get posted, and the majority of people find jobs through networking.

DAY 6

With your networking efforts underway, now you can start searching for positions. Depending on your industry, you may also find these niche job-search websites valuable.

Pro tip: Don’t forget to set up alerts on each site as this will automate a lot of your search, saving you both time and energy.

DAY 7

Make a list of 10 people you haven’t connected with in awhile and invite them to lunch or coffee. This may take you out of your comfort zone. Do it anyway.

Then, I strongly recommend sending an email to your network letting them know you’re looking. Head over to LinkedIn and click the “My Network” tab. In the top left, you’ll see your total number of connections. Select “See all.”

From this list, identify people who can help. Put them into two groups: those who’ll receive a personal note and those who’ll get a mass email. In your message, explain what you’re looking for and how they can help. The more specific you are, the better they’ll be able to help.

Final Thought

Everyone experiences layoffs differently. This is A LOT to do in your first week, so if you’re not ready to update your resume or your LinkedIn profile, that’s okay. Give yourself space. Get outside if you can. Spend time with loved ones. Read a book. Do things you enjoy that your work schedule didn’t allow. Then dive back in.

Losing your job is hard, and we all handle it in different ways. Give yourself the space you need. Be confident in how you’ve grown. You may even find a that’s better than the one you had before.

Difficult Conversations: Why They’re Important and How to Have Them (Episode 9)

Too often we avoid having difficult conversations because we tell ourselves it’s just not worth the effort. Nothing will change.

We tell ourselves that our manager or whoever’s involved doesn’t care about us and that there’s no point in speaking up. Often it’s easier, and quite frankly safer, to believe these things rather than to take action.

While no one likes having difficult conversations, when we avoid them, we trade short term discomfort for long term dysfunction.

In this episode, I share why it’s critical to have hard conversations, a framework for guiding these discussions, and three tips that will ensure you’re successful in having them.

As a reminder, The Not Your Parents’ Workplace Show is now available as a podcast. Please consider subscribing and leaving a review on Apple.

Don’t Follow Your Passion! Do This Instead. (Episode 7)

The most popular career advice out there is that you should follow your passion.

“Do what you’re most passionate about!”

“Find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life!

You hear it all the time. While well-intended, I’ve found this to be the worst career advice that’s out there. In this week’s episode, I’ll explore why you shouldn’t obsess over finding your passion, and discuss three practical things to do instead.

As a reminder, the Not Your Parents’ Workplace Show is now available as a podcast:
– Apple: https://apple.co/2T8URbu
– Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3dPs2so
– Google: https://bit.ly/3bECFwu

3 Daily Practices to Thrive During COVID-19 (Episode 5)

I don’t know about you, but for much of this COVID period, I’ve been in survival mode, learning on the fly how to cope with this new reality. But recently, I was challenged to look at things from a different perspective.

Rather than merely survive during this period, what if it were possible to truly thrive? What if it were possible in one year to look back and say that we experienced more personal growth and were more productive during this time than any other?

Over the past few weeks, I’ve come to believe that, while difficult, holding a new perspective is possible. In this video, I share 3 daily practices for thriving during COVID-19 and any other challenging period.

For more videos, click here.

Fortune Favors the Bold (Episode 3)

Being bold is important in all aspects of our lives, but it’s especially critical in our careers. I learned this lesson firsthand when my friend Ned’s boldness and creativity helped him find his dream job.

In Episode #3 of the Not Your Parents’ Workplace Show, I walk through why fortune favors the bold, share the story of how Ned landed the job, and provide two tips on how YOU can be bolder than ever.

What Pitbull Can Teach You About Building a Powerful Network (Episode 2)

What comes to mind when you hear the word “networking”? If you’re like many, you think of an extreme extrovert at a cocktail party or networking event, glad-handing and dishing out business cards to everyone in sight. Ughh. We know networking is important, but does it have to be so painful?

In my second video, I share tips on how to network in a more focused and authentic way, as well as how to build a personal board of directors.

Going forward, I plan to post one video per week. If you like what you see, subscribe to the channel so you can catch future ones!

5 years ago I published the career strategy book, Not Your Parents’ Workplace. In it, I share the challenges I faced and the lessons I learned during the 2008 financial crisis and beyond. Within a year of graduating college, I worked at three companies, enduring the largest bankruptcy in history at one and getting laid off by another. It was a brutal period I’ll never forget.

We’re now in another period of economic uncertainty. Many have lost jobs and others are worried about what the future holds. In light of this, I’ve decided to try something new. I’ve kicked off a series where I share stories and lessons from Not Your Parents’ Workplace as well as insights I’ve had over the last five years.