Laid-Off, Now What?

What are the First Moves to make after Getting Laid-off?

The amount of time you have before your unemployment kicks in depends on your state of residence. In some states, it’s only a week or two before you can start receiving unemployment, but in most states, it will be a few weeks to a month after your employment ends that you’ll receive your first unemployment check.

However, getting laid-off is not something most people expect, and the shock value alone could make for a lot of aimless days spent waiting around wondering what to do next or how best to spend your time. You need to make the most out of every day, whether they lead up to an interview, another job offer, or if things don’t work out at all and you have no choice but to wait for your severance pay that’s supposed to come 60-90 days from now.

This is the perfect opportunity to start that side-project or finally invest some real time into pursuing a passion project. If you’re going to have nothing to do for at least 1 month, why not try and turn it into something that could be beneficial in the long run?

With a bit of creativity and a lot of discipline, you should be able to keep yourself busy while also having some fun along the way. Here are my recommendations:

  1. Start planning your next job interview

I know what you’re thinking – “but I’ve been laid-off, I don’t even have a next job lined up yet.” And yes, that may be the case, but that doesn’t change the fact that you will need to go on an interview sooner or later. Rather than just waiting and hoping for a great opportunity and another great offer to fall into your lap, start now!

If your employer laid you off from your job, it’s likely because of some external factor such as downsizing or restructured work operations which means there is nothing wrong with you as a worker. The only reason they let you go was that they couldn’t afford to pay two people anymore. So why not use this time to polish up those interview skills? If necessary, take a course, or check out my article on How to Flip the Script on Tough Interview Questions and prepare yourself for upcoming interviews.

  1. Start preparing for your next job

Just because you’re currently unemployed, it doesn’t mean the other jobs out there aren’t hiring. Your first post-layoff activity should be to find out what is available out there. You can do this by checking job boards or using social media to connect with people active in your field who might have heard of upcoming opportunities. Apply for anything you qualify for right away, and make sure you utilize your network to get any insider information about new openings before the company makes them public.

  1. Take this time to learn something new

This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone – constantly learning new things is one of the most effective strategies for staying relevant during your career. And although constantly acquiring credentials through education can take up a lot of time and money, other options can still be beneficial.

For example, you could always try learning a new skill through an online course. This will take up a lot less time than going back to college, but it will provide you with the same benefits if done correctly. With so many great courses on every topic ranging from languages to mathematics and marketing, there are plenty of choices when it comes to choosing what you want to learn. Another option is to acquire industry certifications in your specific field, which has become more and more common in recent years. This can be particularly relevant when applying for jobs because hiring managers often see this as an indication that you’re really knowledgeable about your field and serious about your career.

  1. Get a side-hustle going

If you have the time and the means to spend a little money on your next goal, why not try starting your own business during this time? You could either start something completely new or take an existing service and make it fit for other people as well (which is much easier than building and launching a product from scratch). However, if you plan to create a new business, I strongly recommend getting some coaching in the early stages. This way, you will be able to avoid potential problems that usually come up when launching businesses, such as “running out of cash,” “not knowing what works,” and “getting discouraged.”

It’s also worth mentioning that having a successful business does not necessarily mean you will make a lot of money, but it definitely doesn’t hurt if that is your goal. Getting laid-off can turn into an opportunity to work for yourself. 

  1. Spend time with family and friends

When times are tough, we often hear stories about people going through hard times and how their families or close friends were there to help them get back on track. So don’t forget to take some time out from “working” to spend quality time with the people who really matter in your life. The last thing you want is for them to feel neglected when things aren’t going well, so if they’re available, now’s a great time to schedule some family dinner dates!

  1. Create a plan

And finally, after considering all these different options for what you might do next, you’ll need to develop a plan that outlines which of the above strategies you will be leading with throughout your search. It’s important to remember not all of these skills are transferable in the same way. For example, if you want to start an online business, it would make sense for you to spend some time learning how to do that properly when starting out, but on the other hand, listing yourself on job boards is something anyone can do right away. Figure out what works best for you and your current resources before making any future plans.

You rarely can plan on being laid-off, but you can make the best use of time after the fact.