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I got laid off, now what?

By definition, layoffs are unplanned and feel like a suckerpunch. What do you do now? Here’s a few things you should do before doing anything else. Photo by Christian Erfurt on Unsplash

You try not to freak out that it’s 9pm and your boss texts you that your skip-level manager wants to have an 8am zoom meeting with the two of you. It’s 7am their time. Surely this is no big deal right?

And when you realize HR is on, and the zoom is recorded — you know.

You’ve been laid off.

This is not a post about networking or finding a new job–yet. This is a post about how you can care for yourself in a time of intense, unexpected and frightening transition.

The first things you should do after being laid off

After making sure you have set yourself up with severance or clarified any matters with your termination, TAKE TIME OFF.

Here are some ways to take a little time off before resuming your career

1. Find Your Happy Place

Surround yourself with a few people who love you no matter what (including yourSelf). If possible, somewhere where you feel you absolutely belong, 1000%.

Keys: Be in a place where you are empowered, safe, loved, comfortable.

2. Get Offline

Turn everything electronic off for a while. Days if you can. A week if possible. Just a night if you must, but do it.

Getting some time away from electronics is crucial to your post-layoff recovery. Do it!

Sleep in. Breathe a lot. Move your body. Walk. Play. Do something creative you haven’t done since you were younger.

Listen IN

Write about it. Cry about it. Scream about it. Make a stupid song up about it. Dream a little. Cry some more.

3. Come Back On Your Terms

Now … when you’re ready, (inhale deeply, exhale deeply), reach out to a few trusted colleagues and let them know you’re looking for something new.

4. Curate Your Social Media Exposure

After you come back online, be very careful to avoid most social media.

Set timers for yourself.

Remember that CREATION > consumption. Be very careful about just consuming content. Make sure you are putting things in.

Beware of doomscrolling.

It’s probably a really good idea to avoid the news in apps, tv or online. Fear sells news and gets clicks. You don’t need that in your life. Long-form, well thought out journalism, perhaps, but don’t fall for the sensationalism. You don’t need that in your life.

Avoid the news and social media — its designed to trigger you. You don’t need that right now (or… ever?)

5. Remember Who You Are

Cheesy, I know, and probably reminds you of at least one parental figure in your life, but not losing track of yourself (and not tying your worth to your former job (or any job)) is really important.

You probably wont have an ancestor appear to you in the clouds, but, hey, still a good idea to remember who you are.

You are brave.

You are resilient.

You have been through hard things before, and those made you better.

You will get through this hard thing as well.

And this will make you better.

6. Look for the Helpers

After the Boston Marathon bombing, my wife was touched by stories of the people who selflessly helped each other, not knowing if there were more attacks or if they, themselves, were in danger.

It reminded her of this quote from Mister Rogers that is one of the truest Truths I think there is, and applies especially to you right now:

Look for the helpers

“If you look for the helpers, you’ll know that there’s hope.” – Fred Rogers

All in all, you will find that everyone wants to help you and nobody wants to hold you back or keep you down. You may be tempted to keep this all inside, but telling some trusted friends or parters what you’re going through will really help.

You got this.

Bonus points: Say a silent vow to never be so dismissive to recruiters in the future πŸ˜‰

By @AskRobMerrill

I'm Robert Merrill. I am the founder and principal consultant at ConnectedWell Recruiting and Talent Advisors, a boutique recruitment consulting agency. I have more than 15 years technical and professional recruiting experience across the US and fourteen other countries, globally.

Beside my writing here, I am working on helping make hiring more human again, publishing a newsletter, and Helping 1 Million people get better jobs in 5 years. The clock is ticking.

I also write on linkedin and medium, answer questions on quora, am funnier on twitter @askrobmerrill and trying to figure out instagram as well. Give us a follow, if you like.

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