A 7-step framework that could be helpful immediately upon being laid off.
Being laid off is never pleasant. We tie a big part of our identity with the work we do. After all, the first question we get asked by someone we meet is ‘what do you do?’
What if this can be a gentle reminder to each one of us who often conflate the ‘work we do’ with ‘who we are’?
1. Acknowledge every single emotion you feel. Each and every one is valid. You are allowed to feel sad, frustrated, let down, relieved, shocked, vulnerable, excited, happy, anger, disappointment, <insert emotion>. Our livelihood takes up a majority of our waking hours. When it is taken away from us, we feel a range of emotions. Let each one wash over you. Process it. Let it pass.
2. Be kind to yourself. It almost never is singularly your fault.It is natural to beat yourself up. You could ask ‘why me?’. There are often reasons not in your control when one gets laid off. A fast-changing economy. Poor staffing plans. Hasty leadership decisions. Just bad timing. What you can do is accept the outcome. Understand the needs of a new economy. Keep learning and up-skilling.
3. Reach out for help. You don’t have to do it alone. It’s natural to feel isolated in the face of a lay-off. Lean on your support system. Family, friends, co-workers, pets, mental health professionals. Build a community of cheerleaders who will carry you through.
4. Take time to sort out practicalities and logistics. Make a list, prioritize, and check-off. Even when you feel down and out, somethings can’t be put off. Severance contracts, medical insurance, bills, 401K rollovers etc. Take a deep breath and check-it off the list in order of priority.
5. Re-connect to your center. Your job did not make you YOU. Rediscover activities that put you in a state of flow. What sparked joy? What felt effortless? Do more of those things. Tap into your core and strengthen it. It will serve you well before you go out again to find a new job.
6. Reassess your priorities for life and work. Reimagine alternate possibilities. We often feel trapped in our own thinking. We believe the myths we and others repeat about us. While we should constantly question if we are living our best life, layoffs offer an even better time to do this. Think blue sky!
7. Look for the silver lining. Even if you can’t see it right away, it’s there. The best of times and the worst of times have one thing in common – they both shall pass. Looking for the best in any circumstance is a muscle we all can build. Years from now, the dots will connect.
So let’s chin up and keep moving forward!