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Five Things to Do When You’ve Been Laid Off

It’s difficult to handle rejection, even under the best of circumstances. And getting let go from your job? That’s never going to qualify as “the best of circumstances.” There’s a grief period that needs to be respected, and without taking time and the right actions, you might have trouble reaching Acceptance. So here are a few things you can do to help yourself after you’ve been let go from your job.

1. Take it easy (for a bit)

Even if you were expecting this, it’s still a bit of a shock to the system. In truth, most people go into mourning for their job – a source of their identity, not to mention their primary income. You wouldn’t tell someone who’d lost a loved one that they should rush back to work the next day, and the experiences have a lot in common.

My best friend and I created a tradition: when one of us lost our jobs, the other would take him out for lunch. As remedies go, it didn’t solve anything – but it provided a sympathetic ear and some company. So go out for lunch with your spouse, take your kids to ice cream after school, or just see a movie by yourself – do something that helps take your mind off the topic, even for an hour. Take the day to remember that you’re a human being who has a life outside of work.

2. Don’t take it personally

This happens to thousands of people each day. Really – the layoff tracker site shows that 2023 averaged about 1,100 tech workers laid off every workday. So believe Michael Corleone from “The Godfather” when he tells you: it’s not personal, it’s strictly business.

3. Get back on the horse

Yes, I just said you’ll be in mourning. But that doesn’t mean you should sit around eating bonbons all day, either – if you get used to being idle, it will be that much more difficult to find something new. Take your day off, enjoy it, and then start hunting tomorrow.

4. Find something to do with yourself

Spend an hour a day improving your skills, learning something new, or generally keeping yourself sharp. It’s easy to fall down the trap of “apply until my fingers bleed,” but that’s a quick way to burn out on job hunting. Instead, set up a daily schedule that lets you focus on finding a job for an hour at a time, then pushes you to do something else for a bit: go for a walk, take an online course, even build a spreadsheet for fun!

5. Set goals – but don’t expect much during the holidays

Set realistic goals for how many job applications you’re submitting each day, and then track them – if only to show yourself just how much work you’re putting into this search. As they say: job hunting is a full-time job! But remember that few companies are hiring in November and December because of the holidays, so temper your expectations during that time period.

Whatever happens, good luck – and reach out if you could use a boost to your search!

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