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