Layoffs in the tech sector have been dominating headlines in a big way. If you haven’t been impacted by a layoff directly, chances are you know someone who has. You might even be asking yourself the all-important question, “Could I be next?” According to research by the staffing firm Insight Global, 78% of U.S. workers are concerned about losing their job. Not only does this create anxiety, but it also negatively impacts a person’s overall well-being.
Yet, despite the current job market, there is a silver lining. While it can be a traumatic, ego-crushing experience, a layoff isn’t necessarily a setback. In fact, if you handle it in the right way, it can lead to even better opportunities.
If you’ve been recently let go, it’s time to gain perspective so you can plan your next career move. Let’s look at some steps you can take to reinvent your career after a layoff and make the most of this uncertain time.
1. Take a pause after a layoff
Whether it’s your first or your fifth, don’t underestimate the emotional toll of a layoff—especially if it took you by surprise. Once the initial shock wears off, take some time to process your feelings and what you gained from your work experience. Be prepared to slowly process a range of emotions from sadness to anger to possibly relief. This is also a critical moment to practice emotional and physical self-care. Take time to exercise or revisit hobbies you may have neglected for a while. Putting yourself in the right mindset will be important as you plan your career.
2. Reevaluate your values and priorities
Now that you find yourself with a clean slate, it’s time to hold on to what you value and let go of what you don’t. Reflect on your values and priorities and whether they were aligned with your previous job. If not, it might be time to consider a career change.
Ask yourself questions like:
- Do I want a similar position?
- Am I interested in working in the same industry?
- Is it time to finally pursue my passion?
Then make a list of your top ten values and post it somewhere you can see it every day. That way, you’ll be more likely to keep them in mind as you strategize your next move.
3. Stay productive while job hunting
Contrary to the old adage, job hunting is not and should not be a full-time job. If you spend 40 or more hours a week looking for a job, you’ll go mad. Instead, create a schedule. For example, you might dedicate three days each week to your job search. Or you may decide to block off a few hours every day for those activities. The key is consistency. Think about what works best for you and settle into a daily routine. Also, make it a point to balance your job-hunting activities with other interests. For example, look for opportunities to volunteer, which is a great way to network while learning new skills and doing something good for the community.
4. Ask for help after a layoff
Returning to the job market can be daunting, especially if you’ve been with the same company for a while. It’s also common for job search strategies to change over time. At this point, you may not know exactly how to build out your network on LinkedIn or optimize your resume for applicant tracking systems. That’s why outside experts can be helpful. Engaging with a coach or mentor will allow you to lean on someone with specialized resources and a fresh perspective. It’s also nice to have an unbiased party in your corner as you navigate the evolving employment landscape.
5. Remain connected
For many people, their work buddies are a big part of their social life. Leaving the company can be isolating, but it doesn’t mean you need to leave friends behind. During times like these, friends and co-workers can be the best people to lean on. If they don’t reach out immediately, it may be because they’re not sure you want to hear from them. In that case, reach out to your network when you feel ready. These days, many people are even using platforms like LinkedIn to announce that they are looking for a new challenge.
A layoff doesn’t have to be the end of the world. You can even reemerge from it more resilient than before. Just look at it as a stepping stone rather than a stumbling block. That way, you’ll be in the right frame of mind to create opportunities for yourself that you never thought possible.