13 things you should do as soon as you get laid off

Lehman Brothers layoffs employees comfort hugKate Gillon/Getty ImagesIt’s not an easy time.

In the moments after a layoff you may feel like you’re in a haze.

Oftentimes, we’re oblivious to the signs layoffs are coming, or we think, “It probably won’t happen to me.”

“The news of being laid off is a major jolt to anyone’s self-esteem,” Lynn Taylor, a national workplace expert and the author of “Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant: How to Manage Childish Boss Behaviour and Thrive in Your Job,” tells Business Insider.

After the initial shock wears off, she says it’s natural for a range of emotions to set in, like panic, depression, or anger.

“In the aftermath of the layoff you need to focus on getting back up, brushing yourself off, and just understanding where you are in relation to your arena,” says Tyler Parris, author of “Chief Of Staff: The Strategic Partner Who Will Revolutionise Your Organisation.” “Then you can jump back in and do what you do best.”

If you get hit with the disappointing news, here are a few things you can do in those following moments to help shake it off and prepare yourself to reenter the world of job hunting:

2. Don't view it as a personal attack.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Remember, a layoff likely isn't a reflection on you.

'While it's almost impossible to see a silver lining at a time like this, it's helpful to remember that a mass layoff by definition does not target you specifically,' Taylor says.

'There are reasons beyond your control that this has happened to you and others,' she adds. 'It's how you handle a setback that often matters more than the setback itself.'

3. Don't sign anything right away.


If HR asks you to sign a termination letter, take it home with you and look it over thoroughly before you sign it. Your signature could simply be an acknowledgment you received the letter, or it could be an agreement that you won't sue or compete with the company for a certain period of time.

9. Don't make any drastic decisions.


Penny Locey, a vice president with career management consulting firm Keystone Associates, advises against making any important life decisions in the heat of the moment. Don't cancel any family trips, call out any CEOs, or get any haircuts.

10. Have a response ready for when you don't want to talk about it.


Locey suggests having a response ready if you don't want to talk about the job search with inquiring folks.

You could try something like: 'My company closed its office. I am actively looking and networking. I am not ready to talk about my search at length but will keep you updated. I appreciate your concern.'

11. Jot down a list of your major achievements.


'It's natural to lose confidence after being laid off, and to feel like this setback will have long lasting repercussions. But while you were employed, you contributed a great deal,' Taylor says.

She suggests making a quick list of your biggest accomplishments to remind yourself that you have a valuable skill set that makes you marketable.

13. Look at the big picture.

'The prospect of changing jobs is certainly daunting. But as challenging as it seems, try to look at your entire career continuum and the experience you gained at the job,' Taylor says.

Your tenure could be a stepping-stone to greater opportunity, and your layoff could be a catalyst for more closely examining your priorities, career passions, and long-term goals, she says.

She points to many of today's business success stories about people who hit bottom, but were then catapulted to do great things.

'Have faith that this experience will ultimately be the change that you needed to take your career to the next level. That will be the first step in making it a reality,' Taylor says.

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