Laid Off? Now What?

It happens to the best of us. If you get laid off, it can make you feel helpless and stressed. Here are 9 things you can do immediately to start regaining control.

1. Take a full breath in, hold it for four counts, and let it out for four counts, for a total of eight times.

Deep breathing reduces your heart rate and makes you feel calmer. It allows your brain to think clearly, making you feel more confident. It brings you into the present, which prevents you from dwelling on the past or fretting about the future. It opens you up to new possibilities and opportunities. For best results, make this a daily habit.

2. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Did you like your last position?
  • Do you want another one just like it, or was it just a job with a salary?
  • Now that you have a break, what else might you like to do to make money?

3. Start researching companies you’d like to work for and see what jobs they have posted.

4. Make a list of all your skills.

List all the job responsibilities you’d like to have, then all the responsibilities you dislike. Your new job should have an 80:20 ratio for it to be a good fit.

5. Update your resume.

Go to the Internet or YouTube and research all the different resume styles out there and ways to create a compelling resume, or find a professional resume writer to work with.

6. Create a contact list of all your friends, colleagues and business acquaintances.

Collect their contact information on an Excel spreadsheet and start making “coffee appointments.” Tell your contacts what you’re looking for and what steps you’re taking, and ask them if they have any advice on conducting an effective job search. Updating them periodically on your progress is a good practice. Consider these contacts as members of your networking team.

7. Volunteer with an organization whose mission is your passion.

You will meet new people to network with, give back to the community or the world, and use your “free time” effectively, time you may not have had when you were working.

8. Hold a 3-minute “complaining session” and create a “happy routine” to counteract it.

Using an egg timer, indulge yourself in three minutes of complaining, whining, and feeling like a victim, expressing any and all negative thoughts or feelings you’re having. Do this exercise just once a day.  Then, think of a phrase or image that makes you feel happy and positive. Invoke your special phrase anytime throughout the day when you sense yourself drifting into negative thinking. Negative thinking zaps your energy and limits your ability to move forward.

9. Plan something fun to do – and do it!

Plan and follow through on things you enjoy doing but haven’t had the time to do.

For more information or for help with your job search, call or send me a text at 646-320-1126, email me at, or visit my website at

“Yes, being laid off is a major life change. If you embrace the change and treat it as an opportunity, you can turn the change into a gift. It only takes courage and a plan.”  – Terrylynn Smith, Career Coach

Change Happens: Take Control!