What to Do If You Lose Your Job

Do you worry about getting laid off work? Perhaps it’s already happened to you.

I received a call from a client, Lynn, recently. She was in a panic. “My company is in trouble. It looks like another round of lay-offs is coming. I probably should update my resume and get some help. But I survived the ones that happened last year and the year before. I think I’ll survive this one, but I’m thinking maybe I should prepare, just in case. On top of that, I’m not sure I want to stay in this field anymore.” I didn’t hear anything from Lynn for four weeks. Then I received this message on my phone, “Lori, help! It happened! I was laid off! What do I do?”

I find this to be an all too common experience. You see the early warning signs: the best employees find another job, the company rumor-mill overflows with stories of difficulties and impending lay-offs, and then perhaps you are attending company meetings to reassure everyone that things are “fine.” Finally it happens: staff cuts and formal lay-offs. The writing was on the wall for months, maybe years, but you ignored it, hoping things would just work out.

So what do you do if you find yourself in this situation? If you missed the signs or are blindsided by a lay-off, here are few key actions you can take to gain control of your career.

  1. The first thing you need to do is visit your local office of unemployment to claim your benefits. Today you can do this in person or online! This will get money coming in right away. Most unemployment benefits are NOT retroactive, so sign up right away to get yours started. And pay attention to the rules of your state to maintain your benefits, and follow them to the letter. Treat that as a part time job.
  2. Next, set up a structure or schedule of self care. Losing a job is a significant loss, so treat yourself accordingly. Give yourself time and space to grieve the loss of your job. Make sure you are getting physical activity, fresh air, sunshine, and eating healthy foods. Take care of yourself physically and emotionally. You will need both mental and physical strength for a successful job or career transition.
  3. Get clear about what you want in your next job. Do you want a new career? Now is a great time to make that move. What do you want from your next job? Be specific. The most successful job searches in this market are targeted, so take some time to develop a clear vision of your target job and company. If you’re not sure what you want, consider hiring a career coach to help you get clarity.
  4. Now update your tools: resume, cover letter, LinkedIn profile. Refresh your connections with your network, in person and online. If you need support, don’t hesitate to invest in an expert (a resume writer or career coach) to help you with your job search. Remember, your career is the source of income for you and your family. Isn’t it worth an investment to have someone partnered with you to ensure you are able to create opportunities for success?
  5. Finally, create a tactical plan and detailed schedule to get the job you want. Then follow your plan.

Suddenly losing your job can be a scary experience. But you can regain control of your career and your destiny. Just follow these steps, get the support you need, and you will be have a thriving career again in no time.

As one final caution, if you DO see the signs, take heed, and then take action. Update your resume and LinkedIn profile. Refresh your contact with the people in your network. Lay the foundation to prepare for a new job search, and consider starting that search now.  And remember, I’m here to help and support you.  Click on the Programs and Services or Products tabs above to find the support that’s right for you.


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Client Stories

 I was looking to make large changes in my life, both job and city.  I was a happy midwestern resident for nearly 30 years but wanted to see what life on a coast was like and get a dream job.  This was a tall order and going into it I thought I would have to make large compromises on parts of my dreams to get any of it.  

I went to Lori to help me achieve these dreams.  It was the best decision I made.

She focused on two things right out of the gate:
  1. clarify my goals, both personal and professional
  2. get me to stop selling myself short

These twin achievements allowed me to approach my hunt with confidence, patience and focus.  My original dream job was to try and combine my technical joys with a personal one.  I enjoy large scale data processing with cutting edge tools, music and baseball.  Through the tools Lori taught me and helped me unearth in myself I got that gig that would have fallen into day dream territory before our work together.  

And yeah, there's platinum records on the walls of my lobby and I have tons of data to process.

Pat Christopher, Intelligence Engineer, Seattle, WA