12 Simple Steps from a Career Expert To Bounce Back From a Layoff

5 minutes

Downsizing is the latest trend that seems to be dominating the job market. Yes, it is scary. Layoffs due to automation and a lack of skills is an industry-wide phenomenon. Losing one’s job is hard; it can be a traumatic experience. It is a threat to one’s mental health and self-esteem. There is no quick fix to overcome this very unfortunate and tremendously stressful situation, and it takes some time to recover from it.

Here are a few tips to help you bounce back:

1. Give yourself some time and grieve

Before you jump into another job, take some time to grieve. You need time to process what happened, and understand how you feel about it.

Don’t deny your loss. Don’t suppress it. Give yourself the time and space to get your mind around it and over it. Feel like sitting and sulking or gossiping or cursing for a while? Go ahead, vent it out. Get everything out of your system completely.


2. Analyze what went wrong

Look at the situation from another perspective and introspect. Ask yourself what went wrong? Could this be prevented? Was the layoff because of external factors (company problems, restructuring, management changes, etc), Or was it your own fault? In the case of the latter, what can you do to improve? Introspecting and finding the answer can give you the necessary closure to accept your situation.

3. Look at the positive side

It could be an opportunity to try the career options that you always had your eye on. Most of us stick with our jobs for too long, because then we’re within our comfort zone – Oh what a devil that is. We find it difficult to move on to something more interesting just to avoid the extra effort. Also, we may fear the uncertainty of the outcome. A layoff can be an opportunity to start afresh. It is the time to look at your varied interests and explore new career options.

4. Manage your finances

Watch your expenditure. See if you can cut back some of your expenses.  Let your family know about the situation. Lying to them will only cause you more stress. Be fully aware of the benefits you can claim (Provident Fund, severance pay etc).  If you have any savings and/or fixed deposits, see if they’re sufficient to sustain yourself until you find a new job. Don’t Panic! Stay calm and manage your finances wisely.

manage your finances

5. Approach your support system  

Vent it out! It’s cathartic and therapeutic. There is nothing to be ashamed of. Layoffs are frequent in today’s job market. Everyone knows about it. Having a support system, in the form of family, friends or a counselor, will help you handle the pressure.

6. Prepare your answers

Be prepared to answer tough questions. “Why were you laid off? Was it because of your performance? What was the cause of your low performance?” Prepare yourself and don’t be ashamed whatever that case may be.

7. Increase your visibility in job portals

Increase your activity on job portals and social media, that can fetch you a job. Start networking with people in the field that you’re interested in. Reach out to ex-colleagues and friends. Attend relevant workshops and seminars to learn new skills, meet new people, and to stay updated with the latest trends.

8. Take care of yourself

Eat healthily, get 6-8 hours of sleep, and adequate exercise. You might want to shut yourself away, but that’s not going to help you. You need to feel productive. You have to get out of the house even if it’s just to get fresh air.


9. Identify your core skills

Identify your skillset; problem-solving, critical thinking, analytical skills, etc. Then work to enhance them further to prepare yourself for your forthcoming jobs.

10. Be open to diverse employment opportunities

Be open to different industries and positions. Skills are transferable to various industries. List your strengths and weakness, and explore where all they can be used. If you’re confident about your skills, you can flaunt them in front of recruiters. You can impress them with the things you can do and the potential changes you can bring.

11. Be creative

In this highly competitive world, you have to be different and creative to grab attention. Think outside the box, do something unique.

be creative

12. Think beyond 9 to 5 jobs

Most of us are caught up in finding full-time jobs. It’s not mandatory to have a routine 9-5 job to make money. Look for part-time jobs and freelancing work. These can provide you with long-term employment, good money, and the time you want for yourself.

This article is a part of the #Fired2FiredUp Campaign by YourDOST. Visit the campaign for real-life stories, learnings, and tips from career psychologists and recruiters.

Have you experienced a layoff recently? Are you finding it difficult to cope with it? Talk to an Expert at YourDOST today to get personalized guidance. 

Sushma Hebbar

Sushma Hebbar is a Senior Psychologist at YourDOST. She is an experienced career psychologist with a Master's in Clinical Psychology. She has worked with clients of different age groups, dealing with a wide variety of psychosocial & life adjustment problems that people face in their everyday lives. She has an extensive experience of dealing with career confusions, academic issues, relationship issues, exam stress and skill development. She worked as a facilitator and trained children for the development of Higher Order Thinking Skills. During her internship at All India Institute of Speech and Hearing at Mysore, she worked with children having ADHD, Learning disability and even those who were intellectually disbaled and suffered from Down syndrome. Her belief is that every individual is unique and has the right to be happy, which clearly goes on to show her liberal mindset.