Layoffs suck… that’s the end of that story. Obviously, it stinks for the people losing their jobs. It stinks for those left behind who get piled on because the work never seems to shrink even though the workforce does. It stinks, of course, for those who have to deliver the news because who wants to be the messenger of that?!

These things happen though, and they can often happen to us. You know they have happened to one of your colleagues, friends, or family members for sure. Such is the cold, hard fact of corporate life. What can we do about it? A few things help.

  1. Get Your Questions Answered. At the moment, it can be shellshock. You were not expected to be able to understand everything they told you at that moment. Read through the materials when you have clear eyes. Understand what the benefits are and what they are not. Call the company’s HR and get your questions answered!
  2. Take Time to Breathe. Some layoff packages come with just two weeks and some come with a month of severance per year of service. Regardless if you have just a few days or you can afford a few months, stepping back is important. Why? These kinds of things can be a trauma and we don’t always realize it. It gives us time to think, reflect, and to come to terms with the decision the company made. You don’t want to go into your next job interview resentful—they’ll smell it no matter how well you try and hide it.
  3. Refresh Your Network. Many people have a LinkedIn account and a box full of business cards, but never spent the time to do much with them because the demands of their jobs, etc. kept them from it (feel free to look up ‘ironic’ right now if need be). Well, today’s the day: get on LinkedIn, start reaching out, and refresh those relationships you have made over the years. Look, we all know when some get active all of a sudden on LI why – embrace it, it’s not a secret. Your network wants to help you but you need to engage with it.
  4. Talk to Survivors. Many people have been through this, and many more have been through it with friends, family, and good colleagues. People want to help. They know the tips, and they know what works and what doesn’t’ work. Talk to who you know in hiring roles about what they look for and what they don’t care about when dealing with the victim of a layoff. So often, what we think is a major blemish to try and cover up are those same scenarios that the person across the desk knows all too well.
  5. Make a Plan. Make plans for your time off, make plans for your job search, and make plans for you! These periods of downtime can truly be reset for your psyche and you. The plans you make will give you the chance to not only look at the path but at the destination. Most of us are/were in jobs that our high school guidance counselor didn’t even know were options. What else is out there for us that we—when we first got into the business we’ve been in—didn’t even seem like an option. Make a plan to explore!

Enjoy the downtime. We don’t get these chances too often.

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