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

What did you need at the time you hired Lori?

I wanted to work in my industry and didn't know how to progress any further than I was. I knew I had much experience that could be put in the industry of my choice but not how to parlay that experience. I needed guidance.

What did you and Lori do together?

Many, many things. Overall, to get clear in my mind what I offered and really what I wanted in a work environment. Every week was another epiphany after another. One of my favorites was the "knowing your core values". Having had some experience on this subject I was all ready to dive-in. Core Values is key. Knowing your core values. 

Lori makes it so easy to pinpoint. One time we were speaking about something else and we both realized...OMG...that is a core value for me. I hadn't written it down before, but discovered later that if ever a core value fit me...it was the one I mentioned at that time.  Knowing that piece of information also answered a long standing question in my head.  One of the "why's" as to my constant upset with other places I had worked.

What were the results from working with Lori?

Many things. One is a great looking resume. I thought, wow, I look good and it was all from work I had already done elsewhere but didn't know how to say it or present it. Another is the clarity of knowing where I will feel good when I do work. What I really want and with the kind of people I really want to work with on a daily basis. This entire process is so valuable. The best money I ever spent and I am not kidding or exaggerating. I was only hoping it would be valuable and it really was valuable.< I know stuff and it has value and is marketable. Lori showed me those things and it gives me confidence.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Lori delivers above and beyond. The highest quality of exchange, 'more than you expected.' I told my friends this over and over: 'I wish I had her 10-20-even 30 years ago.' Every one, and I mean EVERYONE, needs a Lori. Her understanding,patience, how she problem solves, putting things in simple terms, was mind blowing. I wish I could that well. I present a problem and she could turn it around and yes...another epiphany.

Lori, is worth every penny. It isn't about a title. It is about enjoying everyday doing work you love with people you like and are like minded. You'll know what you are looking for when you interview.  I never say this, but I will say it here. Lori is a major key into the rest of my life doing what I always wanted to do. That is: Being happy doing what I do, everyday. Something I have been saying for years. Allowing Sherlock...to be Sherlock.  Finding my people. They are out there and now I know what I am looking for in that respect.


Sherlock Ganz, Los Angeles, CA