What To Do When You Get Laid Off - 7 Steps To Take

laid off.jpeg

The first time I got laid off was in September 2017 and it felt like barely anyone in my industry understood what I was going through. Since then, so much has changed and it seems like every week another magazine folds or a publication cuts jobs.

Since I’ve now gone through two rounds of layoffs (not to brag, lol), I thought it might be helpful to write this post just in case anyone has recently lost their job and is feeling a little bit lost. It won't solve all of your problems, but it will give you a sense of direction of how you can start to re-build and move on. Here are seven things you should do if you’ve been laid off:

Take a full day off to process what happened

When I got laid off from Nylon, I spent a solid eight hours crying the day it happened (seriously) and I forced myself to do nothing the next day just to allow myself to process what had happened. The more space you can give yourself to come to terms with your emotions in the immediate aftermath of getting laid off, the easier it will be to move on. For many people, especially if you work in media, jobs can be incredibly personal so if you had a strong connection to your previous employer its totally normal for you to feel disheartened. Nylon defined so much of my career and even my persona, and stepping outside of that version of myself took some time.

File for unemployment

Just do it. If you get a new job again right away, great, but fewer companies are offering severance to the employees they lay off and you might as well take some money from the government while you’re sorting things out. For reference, I got two weeks pay of severance from Nylon and nothing from Interview.

Get people’s personal email addresses and add them on LinkedIn

It’s important to keep in touch with your former co-workers after layoffs happen because they know what you’re going through and they can also keep an eye out for any jobs that you might be a good fit for. Let them know what kind of work you’re looking for and if it aligns with the work you were doing in your previous position or if you’re hoping to get into something totally different. Add them on LinkedIn to stay up-to-date on what they’re doing as well and see if any of them will agree to act as references for you should you need them. If you’re even closer, form a group text. I have one with my former Interview co-workers and we use it to stay in touch whether that means celebrating someone’s new job or passing on a potential employment opportunity.

Share the news publicly

When layoffs happen, it may feel weird but it will benefit you greatly to let people know as soon as you can. Many journalists are active on Twitter and will often re-tweet any tweets from people who got laid off who share that they’re looking for work and include their email addresses. You never know what editor may be scrolling through that day looking for new freelance contributors and if you happen to write about what they’re looking for, you could already have some work lined up. Also update your LinkedIn and if you’re actively looking for work, say so. Here’s what I tweeted out when I got laid off from Interview:

Start applying to jobs again as soon as you can

Your dream job may not be listed on Indeed right when you get laid off, but start applying to anything that interests you anyway. Answering questions on job apps and going on a couple of interviews is great just in case you stumble upon something you love. If you don’t it will give you practice so that when that perfect job appears in front of you, you’ll be as prepared as possible to ace the interview.

Consider what you want your career to look like long-term

If the industry you work in is changing quickly, maybe the job you were doing before isn’t the one you should be pursuing going forward. Think about what your long-term career goals look like so you can make a list of what is important to you in a job so that you can reference that list as you continue your search. For me, many of the skills I learned about how to put a magazine together aren’t relevant to jobs I’d be interested in anymore but learning skills like writing copy for marketing emails, product descriptions, and other shoppable content is a much more marketable skill.

Take advantage of having free weekdays while you can

Even if you get another full-time position straight away (good for you!!) take at least one day to do your laundry in the middle of the week, sign up for a mid-day workout class, or go grocery shopping at 12pm just because you can. It’s probably one of the only benefits of getting laid off so you should definitely try to enjoy this freedom. You’ll be amazed how much less stressful these activities are when you’re not trying to squeeze them in before or after work.

What other questions do you have about layoffs? Leave them in the comments.