The Layoff Learning Gold Mine: Tips for Navigating a Layoff

Golden Tips for Navigating a Layoff

Yesterday, Meta announced the layoff of more than 11,000 people due to a 50% profit decline in the third quarter. Over the last few months, companies like Twitter, Peloton, Stripe, Twilio, Zendesk, etc. announced layoffs. This laid-off talent will now have to navigate through an emotional few weeks, even more so with the upcoming holidays, the volatile economy, and the uncertainty ahead.

For the people laid-off, I understand the emotions you may be navigating through. Two months ago, I was laid off as well. You are not alone! The emotions from a layoff can swim around in one’s brain and fluctuate from grief, to sadness, to anger, to gratefulness, to fear, and to a state of “I don’t even know.”

Here’s what I can tell you from my experience. It will get better. The layoff wounds heal and the sensitivity fades away. Once the energy is redirected to being your best self and towards living this new way of life, you will find that the layoff has gifted you with something new. You have been gifted with an opportunity.

Over the last few months, I have had the opportunity to meet with wonderful people that I would not have had the energy or time to meet while working my previous job. In meeting these people, I have found a gold mine of information, lessons, and networks.

Below, I will share what I have learned, the gold I have found, during my layoff period. My hope is that by sharing these learnings/tips, you can find the positives in your situation and learn from it as I have. (There is also a section with some tips for employed individuals that want to help)

The Layoff Learning Gold Mine, Tips for Navigating a Layoff:

  • There is a grieving process.
    All of a sudden the people you interacted with every day, the ways you interacted with them, the routine, and the work you found meaning in are (temporarily) gone.
  • You have to take time to do what you enjoy in order to recover from a layoff.
    For me, this was yoga, watching baseball, playing with my dog, seeing friends/family, and listening to music. This can be different for everyone.
  • Focus on your responsibilities but be sure to pick up leisurely activities as well.
    For me, this involved going through with my move to Manhattan, taking care of bills, setting up doctors’ appointments, and taking care of my dog.
  • Focus on landing the next job (apply for jobs, interview), and continue to focus on your responsibilities and hobbies. 110% focus on the next job can cause self-inflicted pressure.
  • Time management is everything. Once you’ve recovered from the layoff, your new job is looking for your next job while maintaining healthy habits and routine. You need to time manage applying for jobs, meetings, interviews, while maintaining your healthy habits/hobbies.
  • Breath-work will keep you grounded through the fear and anxiety
  • Journal and take notes. Journal emotions, take notes each time you learn.
  • Meet new people.
    This list of “gold” evolved based on advice provided to me by the people I’ve met.
  • Get out and about.
  • Go to new places. Consider staying local to expand your local network
  • Leverage LinkedIn. Most people want to help, it is simply easier if you can direct them on how to help.
  • Tell people about the layoff. You never know who is willing to help if you don’t talk about it.
  • Say yes! A friend connected me with someone who then invited me to a dinner where I knew no one. It was the greatest decision for my mindset.
  • Know when you’re not in the headspace to go and don’t go. This is a bit of a contradiction to “say yes” because it is dependent on the timing. In the first few weeks of my layoff, I had to recognize when I was emotionally tapped and could not be my best self for an event, then I chose to stay home.
  • Spend time with loved ones.
  • Take classes or try something new. The third action I took when I was laid off was signing up for a certified scrum-master course. The layoff gave me time to take the course that I had always had curiosity in. Now I’m looking into cooking classes!
  • Look for the opportunity/lessons in everything.

How You Can Be Proactive During the Holidays, even if you’re taking time off:

  • Meet new people. Set a goal to meet with at least X number of new people per week.
  • When meeting new people, be open to where the conversation goes. Not everyone knows of a job opportunity but they may be able to connect you with another person or they may teach you something new.
  • Put on the lens of “what is the learning opportunity” in each situation.
  • Utilize LinkedIn to engage with more people. With the giving season, people will be more inclined to help others.
  • Read
  • Listen to educational podcasts
  • Nourish friends and family, and new connections.
  • Reflect on what you’re next role will be and the work environment that job will be in.
  • Create a target list of places to work however, be open to the idea of going somewhere unfamiliar to you. There can be great opportunities in places we learn about through others.

How The Fully Employed Can Help:

  • First off, take care of yourself. These are scary times and you still need to prioritize your well-being.
  • Reach out to your friends and family to see if any of them were impacted by a layoff.
  • Check in with coworkers that were impacted and offer how you may be able to help them over the next few weeks.
  • Create a list of strong connections that you are willing to make introductions to and that you know will be open to meeting others. Have this in mind as you engage with those impacted.
  • Listen. For some people, the only way you may be able to help is to listen to their situation. It’s ok if you don’t know of job openings or have a connection tied to their work or their industry.
  • Encourage people to look at your LinkedIn and offer to make introductions if there is alignment. This approach works best when someone has a clear idea of the next job title and/or company they want to work in.
  • If people cold contact you, or if someone was introduced to you, view this as an opportunity to expand your network as well.
  • Provide encouragement.
  • Choose to be a friend, mentor, or resource.

A few final thoughts. I want to thank everyone that has taken the time to chat with me. You are the reason I have the courage to write this post. Additionally, I hope this helps at least a few people. If you were laid off, please feel free to contact me directly if you need someone to talk to. If you are hiring, let’s have a conversation.

Oh and for some inspiration, remember that these companies were founded during a recession.

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