Laid off? Some tips for how to move forward.

“A few of my colleagues who have worked for the same company for 30 years are getting laid off. Could you write a column about what they should do? Most of them don’t have any idea.” This comment came from a reader, so here’s a step-by-step plan for them:

  • Catch your breath. Getting laid off can be a huge shock, and it’s likely that you won’t be thinking straight for a while. Rather than updating your LinkedIn profile immediately, go into crisis mode instead, until your head stops spinning. Talking with someone you trust about your feelings and options has been shown to speed up transitions significantly. This best choice for this may not be a family member, as they could be in shock, too. Speaking with an Employee Assistance Provider (EAP) counselor connected to your benefits package is a good resource.
  • Assess your financial situation. You might be at the point where you could afford to take a job with lower pay. Working part time, in a less stressful niche, or in a field that has always intrigued you could be more appealing than jumping back into your former line of work.
  • When your head and focus become clearer, create a transition action plan. Depending on your career target, that might include brushing up on some rusty skills, or getting trained in new ones. When you do jump back into the job market, you want your experience to be competitive.This will also include a presentation strategy for your resume, LinkedIn, and interviewing skills, keeping in mind that you want to share information geared toward where you’re headed, and not necessarily where you’ve been, to attract opportunities that fit your goals. Working with an expert on these steps could greatly shorten your job search while increasing your changes for landing in work that you love.

Finally, recognize that getting laid off is a common occurrence affecting more than 20% of workers at some point during their careers.   Getting through it may be hard, but as Robert Schuller says, “Tough times never last, but tough people do.”