It’s a secret that I’ve kept from everyone, except a few family members and friends. In January, I was laid off due to downsizing in my company which I had a feeling was going to happen. What I wasn’t prepared for was the anxiety and depression that came several weeks after my last day at work. I didn’t take time to grieve, breakdown, cry – nothing of the sort. The week immediately after my lay-off, I had several interviews, workshops, and I had high hopes. However, I learned this was not the best path to take soon after.
Why was I laid off? I cannot discuss this in-depth, but I will say that my role in the company didn’t exist a few years ago. While with my employer, I learned a lot about myself, strengths and weaknesses, and how to handle different PR-related situations. It was an amazing experience (working with editors and bloggers), but the timing (right after Christmas), was heartbreaking. But since lay-offs are trending and it’s not a personal attack on an individual or department (per say), I’ve come up with a few ways to deal with the weeks following a lay-off.
It’s Okay to Cry.
Being laid off can feel as a personal attack or leave you feeling that you’ve failed. It’s okay to cry, break down, hit a wall (okay, maybe your pillow), and let it all out. If you don’t start to process or grieve, it WILL show in future career workshops and interviews.
Take a ‘Me Day’
When I got laid off, I went straight into job interviews and workshops. I did not take the time to sleep, clean, or relax. This is probably the most important thing I will recommend for someone to do. Go get a pedicure (yes, whether you’re a male or female), cook, run, something. RELAX!
Clean and De-Clutter
Go through your closet, computer, and apartment/house. Look at what you’re wearing, not wearing, what’s used or not, and donate what you don’t need (you with those sneakers you haven’t worn since the second day you bought them in Spring 2013). Also clean surfaces, so get that Swiffer and mop out and have at it!
If you didn’t receive a severance package (and if you did), it’s important to reanalyze your budget. My mistake was I used my savings to pay students loans and credit cards a few months back, not leaving much in my account. If you have the money, talk to your landlord or banker on how to move forward. I paid January and February rent so I could save up from any unemployment and part-time jobs I took on, but it’s cutting it kind of close. Also, outings are a huge aspect so expect to cut down on Starbucks and Dunkin, forget about brunching, and meal plan. If you’re eligible, file for unemployment to help supplement some of your immediate needs (i.e. rent, health insurance, utilities, groceries).
Plan Professional Appointments
A couple of days after leaving my job, I called my university and made an appointment with the alumni career center. To be honest, it was a waste of time because my resume was in perfect shape and the counselor had nothing to say because I have three years experience in my field. However, friends of mine that didn’t have extensive experience were able to really grow during these sessions. Bottom line, make the appointments, talk to recruiters (both at a local university or your Alma, as well as headhunters), and stay busy.