Career Off Script | What To Do If You’ve Been Laid Off: Your Next 6 Steps
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What To Do If You’ve Been Laid Off: Your Next 6 Steps

It doesn’t matter if you saw it coming or you didn’t, if you enjoyed your job or went home everyday crying and fantasizing for a new one, getting laid off hurts. Trust me I should know, it’s happened to me twice already. So I absolutely empathize with the punch in the gut you and your ego have suffered. But I am also here to tell you that there is a way to overcome this, and I want to lay it out for you; the exact 6 steps that I went through to pick myself back up, dust myself off and get moving again. This is the swift kick into action that you need right now. Life can be difficult, being laid off is an example, but how we respond to these difficulties is our choice. Ready? Let’s get started!

** I couldn’t include everything on this post that I wanted to, so I created a checklist you can use to help work through these steps. I included some insider tips (pssst, I used to be a recruiter) and exercises to help you figure this all out. Get it here.

Step1 – Apply For Benefits

Without a doubt the first thing you should do is apply for Employment Insurance. There will always be a certain period of delay to start receiving money, and you don’t want to prolong that time by dragging your feet with this step. There will be a few different things you need to complete your application, ranging from information about your work history, employers and banking details. If you reside in Canada, the most important of these will be your ROE (Record of Employment). Your employer will typically submit this on your behalf, but it is your responsibility to verify that it gets done.

Step 2 – Let It Hit You

I know I promised a “swift kick into action” and we will get there, but now that you’ve gotten your benefits out of the way you should really take a moment and acknowledge the shitstorm you have just been thrown into. Getting laid off is a huge blow to the ego, and you should give yourself an adequate and reasonable amount of time to just let yourself go through it. Once you have, you will then be able to move on to the next steps with a much more clear and focused head. Bring on the ice cream and Netflix! Just don’t overdo it or you will never get to step 3. 😉

Step 3 – Go On A Financial Diet

Each time I got laid off, I took a magnifying glass to my spending and looked at every single way I could cut back. You don’t have to eliminate all luxuries in your lifestyle. But you need to financially prepare for what may be the long haul. It’s just about looking at needs vs wants. And when your level of income returns to an amount you are more comfortable with, you can bring back some (or all) of the wants. When I was laid off, I gave up my data plan. And guess what? I never went back! I know, a city girl without data, crazy. But you would be surprised what you actually don’t need and can live without if you just give yourself the opportunity.

Step 4 – Make Your Next Move

This is when you start your job search. It’s a daunting task but a necessary one if you’re going to eventually find a soft landing. My advice is to spend some time everyday on your job search, and resign yourself to what may be the long term in looking. Also go in with the right mindset – a new job always means new opportunities!! Lastly leave no stone unturned in the resources you attack. Search using keywords instead of job titles, use a variety of job boards and use recruitment agencies to your advantage.

Step 5 – Develop A Routine

Now that you have begun job searching, you’ll want to set some boundaries around when you do it and how much of it you actually do. Otherwise it will consume your life and you need to maintain a healthy attitude right now. When I was laid off I set myself a schedule where my wake up time pretty much aligned with when I would have been waking up for work (it was Summer and I knew I didn’t want to waste the day). I always ate a solid breakfast and then from roughly 9am – 1pm everyday I focused on my job search. At 1pm I shut my laptop and went out to enjoy the day. The point is to develop a routine that keeps you focused on your next move but also keeps your spirits up.

Step 6 – Don’t Settle

So let’s be honest, you will most likely have to take a less than ideal job to keep money coming in. Temp jobs are great here. So is online admin work. If you’re willing to be flexible (and you should) there will be a ton more options available to you. But that doesn’t mean you should stop working towards that ideal job during this time, or even once you’re in your next role. The time will pass anyways, so you might as well use it to upgrade yourself and zero in on work that fulfills you for the long haul.

And there you have it! I hope you found this post helpful. Just remember to be gentle with yourself during this time. Getting laid off sucks and you have to be your own best friend right now. There will be days that will be harder than others, times when you don’t even want to change out of your pj’s I’m sure. But these steps are meant to add that necessary structure to your life right now. To make it all a little more manageable, and put you on a path to start pressing forward on. See you on the other side my friend. 🙂

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