What to Do When You are Laid Off or Downsized?

Day Job

by Jayaram V

Summary: This essay is about the suggestions to follow in the event of job loss, downsizing or lay off.


We are currently going through an up cycle of economy where things seem to be bright, with the lowest unemployment rate in history and stock markets at their all-time high. However, as we all know, neither the economy nor the stock market is going to be stable forever.

Eventually, there will be a reversal of the trend, and we may once again experience the adverse effects of another recession, which may be mild or severe, depending upon circumstances. No one knows how it will change our lives, but it makes sense to be cautious and prepared for it.

Recession may not directly affect you if you are capable and talented. However, a recession like situation may develop your life and effect your personal finances if you lose a job or face a sudden reversal of your personal fortunes. Sometimes, it may happen even when the economy is good, and the world is progressing well.

Apart from the macroeconomic factors which effect all, certain micro economic factors may also particularly affect you and your career. For example, just as countries, companies and organizations also go through periods of ups and downs, which in turn effect the lives and careers of their employees. Companies may also go through mergers and restructuring, with positive and negative consequences for the people who work for them.

It is therefore necessary that professionals and career-minded people stay prepared for all eventualities, and keep a plan or a strategy that can help them get back into the groove in time if the situation warrants. We live in an uncertain world. Therefore, it is always safer to have contingency plans as a part of your career planning, so that you are not severely constrained by the uncertainties of life, and you can proactively take care of them.

Healthy ways to deal with job loss

If it so happens that you are downsized, laid off or learn that you are going to lose your job due to circumstances that are beyond your control, you can deal with the situation, with intelligent planning and suitable strategies. The following suggestions are a few important ways in which you can manage an adversity such as a job loss.

1. Stay balanced: It is normal to experience a rollercoaster of feelings and emotions when you lose your job. However, it is important to regain your composure and stay in control so that you can think clearly and focus on finding a new job.

2. Think of the next step: Losing a job can be very depressing. It takes time to recover from the shock. The uncertainty can emotionally drain a person. Instead of wasting time thinking about the past or what happened, focus upon the next step or what can be done to overcome the problem.

3. Consult your family: It is important to let your family know about the loss of job or gainful employment because they will be directly affected by it. You may seek their help and cooperation to weather the situation and mentally prepare them to deal with the consequences.

4. Keep your courage: When you lose your job, you may experience low morale or feel discouraged and lost. You may also experience low self-esteem and loss of confidence. You cannot afford to lose courage at critical moments. Focus upon your talents and strengths to stay cool and confident.

5. Do not make it personal: It is also natural to take the loss of job as a judgment on your self-worth or abilities. Companies hire and fire employees according to their needs and goals. It may be nothing to do with you personally. Therefore, do not let it hurt you or demoralize you.

6. Analyze the causes: People lose jobs for various reasons. Some are external, and some internal. Even in difficult circumstances, organizations tend to keep the best of employees. Therefore, you must ascertain the reasons to learn from experience and avoid repeating the same mistakes.

7. Manage your expenses: Loss of the job means loss of regular income. If you have a family or dependents, the situation becomes even worse. Review your income and expenditure to know how long you can last without a job, or what you can do to augment your income or find a suitable job.

8. Build a network of friends and mentors: Most jobs are not posted on the Internet or made public. Many hiring managers are comfortable with recruiting people based upon the recommendations of those who are already working. If you have friends, they can help you find job opportunities.

9. Remain focused: When you lose a job, you can have but one main goal, which is to find a new job. It must be your top priority, and everything else should be subordinated to it. Take each day at a time, and focus upon the daily tasks, with discipline and perseverance to reach that goal.

10. Look for opportunities: In this age of the Internet, we have many options and alternatives to look for suitable jobs. Therefore, apply through as many avenues as possible and do not give up even if you are met with a few setbacks or rejections. Keep pushing yourself until you reach your goal.

11. Use your strengths: Take a review of your strengths and weaknesses, and focus upon your skills, talents and achievements, when you prepare you resume, apply for jobs or attend the interview. It will also help you boost your morale and confidence and keep your hopes high.

12. Keep yourself fit: The loss of job can take a heavy toll upon your physical and mental health. You cannot afford to ignore it since it can adversely affect your chances of finding a new job. Eat healthy food, follow a healthy lifestyle and keep yourself fit with yoga, meditation, exercise, etc.

A person’s true worth, character and integrity reveal themselves in difficult circumstances. The end of a job is neither the end of the career nor the end of life. The job or the career is just the means to happy and successful life. They are not an end in themselves. Therefore, if you ever lose a job, do not lose you focus or courage or integrity. In those difficult times, bring out the best in you and prepare yourself to be the best. Consider that an opportunity to review your life and achievements and prepare for a new beginning and a new future.

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