Recovering from a Layoff


This past weekend, I attended a great party with tons of food, great conversation, and reacquainted with old contacts. The occasion? A house warming and get together of people who had been laid off at my wife’s old work place about three months ago.

Naturally, a lot of the talk was centered around jobs, companies, who was hiring, who was hired — and what decisions people had made when it came to going out and getting hired again.

With 40 people or so in attendance, you can imagine that the range of what had happened went from “not looking yet” to “found a job in three days.”

Here are some of the conclusions at this point in time from the people who were there:

  • Flooded with interview requests in one week — had to decide which companies I wanted to talk to first.
  • Accepted an offer one week after I was laid off — and shouldn’t have; it turned out to not be the right job for me and I don’t like where I am now.
  • Thought I could retire — but I actually cannot. I’m close, but have to go back to work.
  • Haven’t started looking; instead, I’ve been working on stuff around the house.
  • I’d like to start looking, but I don’t know what I really want to do. I didn’t like what I was doing, but don’t know what to do next.
  • Took the time off so far and took a class on “X” that I’ve been wanting to do for a long time. I’ve never been so relaxed.

These are all very smart people and to listen to them as they talked through what they have gone through was a privilege. I write about this stuff here; these people are living it. None of these people were bitter at the company for laying them off (indeed, some who still work there are not happy campers) and no one regretted the decisions they had made so far.

The one thing I didn’t hear? Everyone knew this was coming; the only issue was how much was the severance and when was it going to happen at this company.

I didn’t hear about “I had a plan if I got laid off and here’s how things worked against that plan.”

One cannot plan for every eventuality, of course. However, if we are consistent in treating “career management” as something that is done every day, we can mitigate some of the struggles of being laid off by knowing what we would want to do next and knowing a bit more about what type of job we would accept.

I really admire these people and what they are working through.

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