Getting laid off can feel like a blessing or a curse. In one vein, you've just lost your job (and it may have come, seemingly, out of nowhere!). On the other hand, as the saying goes, when one door closes, another door opens (and you may have gotten a sweet severance package to cushion the blow!).
You might feel shocked. You might feel frustrated about your unemployment. You might feel relief that you never have to go back to work for that company or do that job. You might feel indifferent. You might not even know how you feel. And that's all OK. You don't have to feel any certain way — you only have to move forward because, frankly, it's all you can do.
Contrary to popular belief, while you might feel like you're alone in your layoff, getting laid off is actually quite common. It happens to people all the time. In fact, while the U.S. economy is actually recording the lowest rate of layoffs since the federal government started tracking job turnover in the last two decades, in 2018 alone, businesses across the country had laid off 21.9 million workers, according to the latest statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That's a lot of people who still are or have been in the exact same boat as you — laid off and left to grapple with the conundrum of "what now."
In other words, it's likely that you know someone or you know someone who knows someone who, too, has been laid off. And, you know what? That person is probably OK! Of course, getting laid off hits harder for some people than others, and we're not here to negate anyone's real struggles or disregard their very valid feelings surrounding their layoffs. But the sun still rises every morning, and you will, too!
You will get another job. It may not be your dream job. It may not pay you as well as your last job. It may not offer you all the same benefits. But with some hard work and a commitment to your career, you can find a new job in due time.
Here's how you can expect the next month to go after getting laid off, week by week.
Week 1: Grieve your loss.
What is the first thing you should do when you lose your job? Feel whatever it is that you're feeling, and just breathe. Whether or not you feel totally affected by losing your job, you need some time to process the layoff. You might not totally realize how it's affected you until it hits, and you may need a few days for the news to sink in.
Take a few days to relax, practice self-care and focus on your mental health. Besides, the last thing you want to do is go into a job hunt with zero self-confidence.
Week 2: Consider your career goals and revamp your resume.
After you've taken a few days to grieve the loss of your job, take some time to consider the career you actually want for yourself. This is your chance to start over new if you want! You can't look back; in fact, you have nothing you can do but move ahead, and you might as well do so in the way you'd always wanted. So think about how you can really turn this seemingly unfortunate experience into an opportunity for yourself to recreate or build your career.
Once you've thought that through, go ahead and get started revamping your resume. Tailor your resume, your LinkedIn profile, your portfolio and other application materials to the kind of jobs that you want to attract. You have way more time on your hands now (and hopefully a severance pay to support you throughout that time) to work on sprucing up these documents.
You can start looking through jobs that interest you during this time in order to have a better idea of the kind of language you should have on your resume, too.
Week 3: Apply for new jobs.
Apply apply apply. You may already have some job postings saved from Week 2. Now is your time to actually start applying to those jobs (if you haven't gotten to it already!). You've taken the time to process your layoff, shift your mindset to one that welcomes new opportunities and clarify your career goals, so now is the perfect time to apply for jobs with a clear mind.
How long does it take to find a job on average? Of course, your job search may take days, weeks or even months depending on your experience, skills, education, industry and the work you put into actually finding a job. That said, generally speaking, the average job-search process takes just more than six weeks (or about 43 days), according to research reported on Money. Be patient, but follow-up with jobs that interest you. And, whatever you do, keep your head held high.
Week 4: Take interviews and opportunities as they arise.
Eventually, you'll start hearing back from companies and being asked to come in for interviews. Don't be so picky! While it's important not to burn yourself out or waste time on job interviews for jobs you don't really want when you can be applying for jobs you actually want, it's also wise to keep an open mind. Take opportunities as they arise. At the end of the day, interview experience can help your job search process, even if you don't end up accepting the job offer.
How long does it take to get a job offer after an interview? That depends on the company! But, on average, Jobvite’s 2018 Recruiting Benchmark Report suggests an average time-to-hire period of 38 days, and Glassdoor reports an average of 23.8 days for jobs in the United States.
Again, be patient, but always make sure to send your thank-you emails and follow up with companies for which you really want to work.
You got this!
AnnaMarie Houlis is a feminist, a freelance journalist and an adventure aficionado with an affinity for impulsive solo travel. She spends her days writing about women’s empowerment from around the world. You can follow her work on her blog, HerReport.org, and follow her journeys on Instagram @her_report, Twitter @herreportand Facebook.