5 powerful strategies to bounce back after a layoff

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5 powerful strategies to bounce back after a layoff

Feeling lost after a layoff, especially during a crisis? Discover 5 powerful strategies to manage your emotions, finances, and job search - and turn this setback into a springboard for success!
  • LA Desk

04 Jul

Layoffs can be emotionally challenging, and it is essential before taking any steps, to first pause and process your feelings. | Representational image | Photo via energepic.com via Pexels

As thousands of jobs are being cut in India and abroad, many professionals are facing layoffs for the first time in a generation. Layoffs are one of the most stressful and traumatic events that can happen to anyone in their career. Whether you are the one who lost your job or the one who survived the cut, you may experience a range of emotions such as shock, anger, sadness, guilt, fear, and anxiety. The impact of layoffs can be even more devastating during a global crisis, when the economy is uncertain and the job market is competitive.

However, layoffs are not the end of the world. They can also be an opportunity to reassess your goals, explore new possibilities and grow as a person and a professional. Here are five effective strategies to cope with layoffs during a global crisis and turn them into a positive experience.

Take time to manage your emotions - Regain control of your confidence and purpose

    Layoffs can be emotionally challenging, and it is essential before taking any steps, to first pause and process your feelings. Most adults define themselves and their sense of purpose through their work or occupation. Losing your job can feel like losing a part of your identity and purpose. Give yourself  time to process your feelings and accept the reality of the situation

    It is normal to grieve for what you have lost and to feel angry or betrayed by your employers. However, do not let these negative emotions torture you or affect your self-esteem. Your worth is not defined by your employment status. Do not worry about what others think or social stigma. 

    And do not feel guilty you are letting down your near and dear ones. Do not isolate yourself or bottle up your emotions. Talk to someone you trust, such as a friend, a family member, or a counsellor. Seek support from others who have gone through similar experiences or join online communities where you can share your stories and get advice.

    Remember that grieving is a natural and healthy response to loss, but it is not a permanent state. You will eventually heal and move on from this loss. Settle your emotions first, before trying to solve the problem, or else your negative emotions will drag you down.

    “You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same, nor would you want to” Elizabeth Kubler Ross

    Assess your financial situation and plan ahead - Keep money pressures away

    One of the most pressing concerns after a layoff is how to manage your finances and pay your bills. The first step is to get all the necessary information regarding your severance package, unemployment benefits if any, health insurance and other resources that can help you tide over this difficult period.

    Next, create a realistic budget that reflects your sources of income and the most basic expenses. Cut down on unnecessary spending, recurring expenses, luxuries and prioritize your essential needs. Look for ways to save money or generate extra income, such as selling unwanted items, taking on freelance work or applying for government assistance if available. Pay attention to high interest loans, credit card debt and other debt instruments whose interest costs could undermine your financial position.

    "A budget is telling your money where to go instead of wondering where it went." John C Maxwell

    Finally, plan and set some short-term and long-term goals. How long do you expect to be out of work? What kind of job do you want to pursue next? What skills do you need to acquire or improve and how will you finance the learning for that? How much money do you need to save for emergencies or retirement? 

    Having a clear vision and direction can help you stay focused and motivated. If you have family dependant on your income, sit with them and have a frank conversation so that everyone participates in positive decisions.

    If you need immediate income, consider taking a temporary job or freelance work while you search for a permanent job and plan next steps. Try to avoid living off your savings to the maximum extent possible.

    Also read: Future-proof your career: How to stay relevant in the changing job market

    Update your resume and LinkedIn profile - Become relevant to the current situation

    Once you have taken care of your immediate needs and emotions, it is time to prepare yourself for the job hunt. The first step is to update your resume and LinkedIn profile with your latest achievements, skills and accomplishments. Highlight your previous achievements and showcase your strengths and potential.

    Make sure your resume and LinkedIn profile are tailored to the specific roles and industries you are targeting. Use keywords that match the job descriptions and emphasize how you can solve the problems or meet the needs of the employers. Avoid mentioning anything negative about your layoff or previous employer, as this can create a bad impression.

    A polished and professional resume and LinkedIn profile without errors and inconsistencies can make a huge difference in attracting attention and landing interviews.

    “The simpler you say it, the more eloquent it is.” August Wilson.

    Network and connect with your contacts - Build relationships

    One of the most effective ways to find new opportunities after a layoff is to network and reach out to your contacts. According to a LinkedIn survey, up to 85% of jobs are filled through networking rather than online applications.

    Networking is not just about asking for favours or referrals. It is about building genuine relationships based on mutual trust and value. Start by reconnecting with your former colleagues, managers, clients, partners, vendors, friends or mentors. Let them know about your situation and what kind of help you are looking for. Offer your assistance or expertise in return if possible.

    Also, expand your network by joining professional associations, attending events, participating in online forums or groups, or volunteering for causes you care about. Be proactive in initiating conversations, asking questions, sharing insights, and offering feedback. Networking can not only open new doors for you but also boost your confidence and morale.

    “Networking is not about just connecting people. It is about connecting people with people, people with ideas, and people with opportunities.” — Michele Jennae, author of The Connectworker

    Also read: How social media can help you land your next job faster

    Learn new skills and find new interests - Strengthen and refresh your capabilities 

    “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” Mahatma Gandhi

    Another way to cope with layoffs is to learn new skills or pursue new interests. Learning new skills 

    can have many personal and professional benefits. At a personal level it can:

    • Improve your performance and ability to learn better
    • Make connections between skill areas and enhance your existing knowledge
    • Make you a more interesting person and improve your relationships with others
    • Fight boredom and stave off depression.
    • Break old habits and create new skills to help you adapt better to change and cope with uncertainty

    Learning new skills can boost your employability and career prospects. At a professional level it can help you strengthen your resume by adding new value and demonstrate your intent to grow. You will be up to date with the latest developments and technologies in area. It will give your morale a boost and make you more prepared in your job search. It will also open new career avenues that was hitherto not available.

    Remember, when the motor car replaced horse carts, the horse cart drivers or coachmen were not without work. Most of them retrained themselves as chauffeurs, and started a new career in the growing field of automobiles.

    You can learn new skills in various ways, such as taking online courses, reading books or articles, watching videos, podcasts, workshops, or webinars. You can also learn from others by seeking mentors, coaches, or experts who can guide you and give you feedback.

    The key is to focus on something that interests you and aligns with your goals. In addition to professional development, it can be something fun, creative, or personal. For example, you can learn a new language, a musical instrument, a sport, a craft, or a hobby.

    The important thing is to enjoy the process of learning and celebrate your progress. Do not be afraid to make mistakes or ask for help. Learning is a lifelong journey that can enrich your life in many ways.

    Layoffs are hard to deal with, especially during a global crisis. But they are not the end of the world. They can also be an opportunity to grow and thrive. By following the five strategies, you can cope with layoffs in a positive and productive way 

    • Allowing yourself time to grieve and heal.
    • Assessing your financial situation and planning ahead.
    • Updating your resume and LinkedIn profile.
    • Networking and reaching out to your contacts.
    • Learning new skills or pursuing new interests.

    By taking this approach a layoff could even turn into a blessing in disguise. You can discover new possibilities, reinvent yourself, and achieve your goals. Remember that you are not alone in this journey. There are many resources and people who can support you and help you succeed. You have the power to overcome this challenge and create a better future for yourself.

    “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.” – Martin Luther King, Jr

    Also read: Level up your career: Build a powerful personal brand

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