Noted
Toby Egbuna
September 21, 2021

How to Handle Getting Laid Off

I’m sure that if you’re reading this article, you don’t need me to go review all of the unemployment numbers. You know that COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on the job market, and it’s only going to get worse in the coming weeks as more companies announce lay-offs and furloughs.

If you’re someone who has recently been laid off, I want to start by saying that that I’m sorry. I know that this is tough and unexpected, but I hope that this guide helps you plan for what’s next.

Immediate actions (within 1 week)

1. Give yourself time to process emotions

It’s okay to be mad or angry or upset or resentful or frustrated. There is no point in pretending like everything is fine. In fact, doing so could actually bring on more of a mental weight. Give yourself a few days to process your emotions and let your feelings settle.

2. Tell people

This one might seem a little weird. I know that telling people “I don’t have a job” might be hard to do, but people can’t help you if they don’t know that you need help. You never know who in your network can help you find your next career move. Don’t be afraid to share your story on your LinkedIn page or on Facebook. There are a lot of people going through the same thing, and you might find some solace (and a new job) from letting people know.

Here’s a template that you can use for a LinkedIn post or an email to people in your network:

Hi friends,

I’m sure many of you know about the mass lay-offs happening. Unfortunately, I was laid off at my job at XYZ company. While I am sad about this change, I’m hopeful and excited about my next opportunity.

I’m looking for a role with a marketing team at a mid to late-stage startup in the NYC area, but I am open to other options. I have experience in inbound marketing, social media strategy, and content management. If you know of any job opportunities, please let me know! You can contact me at name@email.com.

Thanks for your help! I hope that you are staying safe during this time, and I hope to hear from you soon.

Best,

John Doe

3. Consolidate finances and update your budget

Take a look at your finances as soon as you can. If you got severance money from your employer, compare that to the money you’ll receive from unemployment and any money that you had saved to see how much you have to work with while you look for your next role.

Next, look at your monthly spending. Consider your monthly fixed costs: rent, utilities, phone bill, etc. Then look at variable expenses: paying off debt, investment/savings contributions, food, entertainment, etc. Compare these expenses to the amount of money you have available.

You’ll need to tighten up your budget. Try to cut out expenses that you can either lower or cut entirely. The good news? We probably won’t be able to go out to bars or concerts for a while, so any money that you usually spend on things like that gets to stay in your bank account (yay?).

Longer-term actions (2–4 weeks)

1. Update your resume & LinkedIn profile

Think about all of the different experiences that you gained in your time at your previous job. What impact did you make in your position? What new technical or soft skills did you develop? What leadership roles did you take on? Update your resume to reflect these experiences.

If there’s a specific type of job that you’re gunning for, don’t be afraid to reach out to someone who currently has that job and ask her to give you some feedback on your resume.

2. Work on your skills

Know your strengths, but more importantly, know your weaknesses. Think back to your last few performance reviews. Was there anything that your manager said that you needed to work on? Or, is there a skill that you admire in people that you’ve wanted to develop for yourself? Now’s the time!

Plenty of online services are offering free or reduced-price courses for people looking to learn. Here are some of our favorites:

3. Consider going back to school

I know what you’re thinking: “that’s just what I need: MORE DEBT!”

Hear me out. No one knows when things will return to normal and when the economy will pick back up. While companies get their acts together, you can look into going back to school for your graduate degree. If you have a passion that you want to learn more about, or if you’re looking to make a career change, grad school could be a great option.

If you’re worried about the debt, look into different ways of funding your education. You don’t have to do it the traditional way, either. More and more programs are offering non-traditional options, such as online or part-time programs.

4. Launch that idea!

“Every person in their life has had a million-dollar idea.”

- Sara Blakely, CEO and Founder of Spanx

Is there an idea that’s been in the back of your head for a while? Maybe you want to start a podcast about your favorite TV series, or launch a business selling hand-made bracelets. Well, try to make it happen!

It’s cliché, but there really is no time like the present. There are so many technologies out there that make it make it possible to act on an idea (trust us, launching Dyversifi would have been very difficult without such technologies). Find people that are working on similar projects and ask them how they got started. Almost every idea can be tested for little-to-no money, so you can at least see if there’s a market for your idea before diving in fully.

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Getting laid off isn’t easy. You have a lot to worry about, and it’s important to give yourself time to digest it all. However, you can come out of this in a better position with the proper planning and execution. It stings now, but use this experience as fuel for your next career move.


Toby Egbuna
Toby Egbuna is a Co-Founder and CEO of Chezie. He is also an aspiring movie buff, an Ed Sheeran stan, and a mediocre cook.

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