Recently layoffs at big companies like Best Buy and HBO Max have been in the news, and some economists are predicting that more could be on the way.
“If your finances allow, don’t rush right back into another job, give yourself time to heal. If your company has resorted to layoffs, chances are things have been brewing for a while. The closed door meetings, the leaders canceling all-hands or suddenly wildly changing priorities, or budgets suddenly being slashed turn company culture upside down, especially if it was already toxic to begin with. You don’t even realize how much the months leading up to the layoff actions have affected your mental health until you’re fully away from it.”
“I was laid off and it took me nine months to find a job. How did I cope? I applied for any job I could, but when it was clear I lacked experience in a key area for my field, I volunteered at a non-profit doing work that I wanted to get paid for. Then, I milked the hell out of that brief bit of experience on my résumé and in interviews. It paid off and I got a job I wanted.”
“I’d been laid off from a corporate job with no desire to return to anything on my résumé. My local employment office set me up with a counselor to help me figure out what I DID want to do, and what I needed to do to get that job. We landed on a career as a paralegal, which was the opposite of my experience and education.”
“My counselor helped me identify the most successful programs in the area, and not only helped me get accepted into the program, but my tuition was completely paid for thanks to a grant he applied for through the office. I’m now working in the legal field, and my counselor regularly checks in with me to make sure I’m still happily employed, ready with job suggestions if I’m not.
I could not speak more highly of local employment counselors; I’m honestly upset I’d turned my nose up at the idea of ‘needing that kind of help’ for so long in my life as part of the work force.”
“I was fired from my job with no warning or probationary period beforehand. I am a single mother of two young sons, so I was very scared as to how I would be able to financially support them as well as myself. I applied for unemployment benefits immediately and called 211, which is a local helpline to locate other resources available to us such as rental assistance, food stamps, etc.”
“I was laid off in 2020 and I truly believe what helped me get another job in a short amount of time was that I paid for a résumé writer to update my résumé and LinkedIn profile. You can obviously do it yourself, but someone who does it for a living will know how to get your résumé through the ATS [Applicant Tracking System] scanner and make you stand out.”
“Two big things kept me sane: First, your new job starts today, and that’s finding a new job. Search listings, update your resume, etc. Make a goal of applying to five jobs per week, which is also the minimum number you need to apply for to get unemployment benefits.”
“The second is figure out what in your new budget you can afford to keep things fun. Before getting laid off, I was going out to eat three or four nights per week and most lunches. I loved that, but my new situation forced me to only go out once a week. I learned to cook a lot more which was also really rewarding and fun and saved a ton of money.”
“Being laid off is so weird. First things first, update your résumé to include ‘position was eliminated due to budget cuts.’ In most industries, especially now, that is so relatable. The second thing is to take the first job that comes along if you need to make rent. Yes, the job could suck and not pay as much. It’s okay. Keep your résumé out there so you have money coming in, you have a little breathing room, and can focus on finding the job you actually want.”
“Go ahead and cry it out. It’s a pretty crazy and somewhat traumatic experience to go through, and your feelings are 100% valid. I also made sure that I pooled enough savings to last me two to three months at least.”
“Then, brush up on your résumé. I went through mine to make sure everything was up to date as well as adding more skills and accomplishments that gave my résumé a much-needed boost. I also did research in my industry to see where and how people were hearing about job openings (depending on the industry, it could be through job boards or the company’s job page itself).
Use your network! These days, layoffs are so common that you would be surprised how many people have been through it themselves. When people hear you’ve been laid off, they are (most of the time) more than willing to pass your name along to others. I’ve had friends who posted about their layoffs on LinkedIn, and then their post got shared 1,000+ times. They ended up having over 50 interview invites! You never know who knows who, and it doesn’t hurt to reach out for help.”
—Annie, Los Angeles
“I was laid off in March 2021 and then again in June of this year. The first time I was unemployed for three months and only two companies reached out to me during that time. I did have a nice severance since I had been at my last job almost nine years. This year’s severance was only four weeks. The day I got laid off, I started applying and I applied to just about every remote job in my field that I saw (I was picky about applying to jobs the year before).”
“I got way more responses and interviews this year. I kept a list of all the companies I applied to and the date. Then, I noted when they reached out to set up an interview or when they rejected me.
I also googled sample interview questions and wrote them on notecards with my answers on the back. Since all of my interviews were virtual, I had my notecards laid out in front of me or taped to my laptop. I practiced a lot before interviews, but having my cards right there was a big help. I also researched the company before the interview and wrote down their info on notecards as well.
Ask questions! I had plenty of those written out as well. And take notes during the interview so you can compare companies and offers later. Most importantly, know your worth! Don’t be afraid to make a counter offer — recruiters basically expect it. It can definitely be a scary and depressing time, but try to stay focused, busy, and positive. A new and better opportunity is out there! Also, it’s okay to kind of enjoy the time off as well.”
“Keep yourself busy in a positive way. Create a schedule. Do your best to stick to it. Don’t expect perfection from yourself either though. Some days you will be into your new schedule, other days you will feel a little lost. On the lost days, let yourself binge TV. Eat some good food. Maybe even let yourself get a small treat like a latte from your favorite coffee shop. Money may be tight but don’t let that rob you of a small joy that can help break your funk, whatever that means for you.”
“Over the last 20+ years I’ve been laid off a few times. Sometimes I knew it was coming so it was amicable, and other times I was totally blindsided and it was gutting. Some times were in the middle of the recession and it was super difficult to find other work, so I cut way back on every expense, took what I could to make things work, and did volunteer work and internships to develop my résumé and skills. Other times I had something already lined up.”
“Taking a beat to 1. Have a break from working and 2. Reassess what you want your next step to be is really helpful in the long run. It’s natural to panic but remember that your position was cut, not you.”
“I was laid off after my company promised that I wasn’t going to be. This was during 2009, so the recession had hit and everyone was cutting back. I had just moved out with my then-boyfriend, too. I was able to get some unemployment, but it dried up after only three weeks. I was so depressed and lost because no one was hiring. Finally, after about a month and some help from my parents (whom I paid back every cent), I got a shift lead position as a barista, so back to my old college job. In 2010, I got another job in my career, and I’m still here.”
“I was laid off and got COVID on the same day. Needless to say, it was an awful week. As soon as I received the news, I started reaching out to my network on LinkedIn. I asked former coworkers to write me recommendations on the LinkedIn platform and also polished up my résumé. I am in the final consideration set for three jobs and hope to receive an offer soon!”
“Having been laid off a couple of times in my career due to working in a volatile industry, one of the most important things in the 48-72 hours is to do whatever you need to in regards to ‘blowing off steam.’ While I’m certainly not advocating for a drug or alcohol bender, it’s vitally important to do something that helps you both blow off steam and clear your head. Anything related to physical movement, being outside, playing sports, playing music; whatever it takes.”
“This helps to both move past the initial emotions of the layoff as well as clear your head prior to thinking about your next moves, which is absolutely imperative to ensure you don’t do anything rash. It’s a marathon, not a sprint, to your next bigger and better role.”
“I was laid off from my marketing job at a smaller events company during the pandemic. They told me it was a last-in, first-out situation and purely down to financials and I had no reason not to believe them. Everyone around me told me that, as a result, I would need to compromise by being open to a commute (I walked to work previously) and by taking a pay cut.”
“I didn’t understand why I would need to make compromises when the loss of my job had nothing to do with my performance. I ignored that advice, jumped right into the job hunt, and quickly landed a position with higher pay, better benefits, and better hours. I got my current job the way I’ve gotten all of my jobs — I used my network and wasn’t shy about reaching out to connections BEFORE applying. And I still walk to work.”
“I was laid off during the height of the pandemic and it was terrible, though I was very lucky. I received a severance, as well as the supplemental unemployment payments for several months. I also have a partner who was employed throughout the nine months I was out of work, so we didn’t struggle as much as we so easily could have. We cut back on a lot of luxuries (cable, etc.) and though we haven’t fully recovered (even now I’m making $4/hour less than pre-pandemic) things are okay for us.”
Have you ever been at a company that laid people off? Share the telltale signs you noticed that made you think layoffs were on the way in the comments.