10 Dos and Donts Following a Layoff

10 Dos and Dont’s Following a Layoff

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Even in situations where you sort of expect it, getting laid off can be a major sucker punch right to the gut.

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Even in situations where you sort of expect it, getting laid off can be a major sucker punch right to the gut. In fact, some people say getting laid off is worse than getting fired for cause — because while getting sacked for poor performance isn’t great for one’s career, at least it sort of makes the whole dismissal thing justifiable. A layoff, however, is a totally different beast, and a cruel one at that. Getting laid off can hurt even more because you didn’t do anything to deserve it, and in those first few jobless weeks, adjusting to your new reality can be a tricky mental process. Here are some tips to get you through it.


  • File for unemployment benefits immediately.
  • Review your severance agreement, and make sure you understand its terms.
  • Consult an attorney if circumstances surrounding your layoff seem shady or if the terms of your severance agreement seem ambiguous or unfairly skewed in your company’s favor.
  • Get dressed every day, even if you’re not planning to leave the house.
  • Leave the house (fresh air will do you good).
  • Reach out to contacts both recent and old.
  • Tell your friends what happened (they’ll want to offer moral support).
  • Dust off your résumé and put it out there.
  • Drown your sorrows in ice cream if that’s what you need to make it through.
  • Get away for a few days if you can afford to because a change of scenery will help clear your head.


  • Take it personally (sometimes layoffs happen to good, hard-working people).
  • Sign your severance agreement without fully understanding its terms.
  • Underestimate the power of staying positive.
  • Ignore former coworkers who reach out.
  • Keep the news to yourself; you never know who may know of a job opportunity.
  • Badmouth your old company on social media.
  • Lie about what happened during interviews.
  • Pretend your bills don’t exist (calculate your severance and unemployment benefits and rework your budget accordingly).
  • Spend your days doing nothing but watching TV; use this time productively.
  • Stop showering.

While getting laid off is a tough blow on many levels, it could also be a great opportunity to start fresh with a new company. Use your time off to research job openings on search engines specifically designed for open positions like indeed.com and monster.com. Take the time to utilize other free, online options to help boost your resume or online portfolio; it will only help you to put your best foot forward once you find a job you’re qualified for.

Before you know it, you’ll be gainfully employed once again, and your layoff will be nothing but a distant, albeit unpleasant, memory.

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