Top 10 Things to Do if You're Laid Off

Being downsized, dismissed, let go of or laid off is never easy. No matter how much information we're privy to regarding our company or industry, it's always a shock when we're the casualty.

Here are 10 things to do should this happen to you.

1. Regroup.
Experience the shock, hurt and anger that you're experiencing but don't get stuck in the feelings. Instead, focus on the future and what it is you most want and need.

2. Mobilize.
Mobilize your resources. List every idea you have about what you think you'll need to do. Get the ideas out of your brain and onto paper. This will help you with brainstorming, with strategizing & with mobilizing your resources. Immediate action is required; mobilization is the step preceding action.

3. Think people.
List all the people you know. Make a plan about how you'll approach them, and for what purpose. How will you explain your situation to people, and what is it that you'll be asking for? Get clear about this last point so your communication with them is productive.

4. Think functions and transferable skills.
Think about the skills and talents you've tapped into in previous jobs. Creatively brainstorm what jobs would easily incorporate these transferable skills. Educators and social workers have successfully transferred their communication skills into corporate training positions, and financial planners have successfully entered other industries as analysts or educators. Successful sales people frequently job hop industries -- their communication skills transcend the product or industry.

5. Presentation Matters.
Immediately update and upgrade your resume. Have your resume clearly represent your personal best. Make sure that the reader has no doubt about how well you'd perform - have your resume express the best of who you are! This means that impeccability matters! Present yourself professionally and in a style that both flatters and communicates who you are. Give people a reason to hire you! If you don't effectively represent or promote yourself, why should a potential employer think that you'd effectively represent or promote their product?

6. Maximize resource utilization!
Don't dismiss newspaper ads because you've heard that most people don't get jobs through the newspaper. Think creatively about what resources are available to you and utilize them! Besides networking and the newspaper classifieds, there are professional organizations, alumni services, private and public employment offices. Look around your community for other available resources.

7. Focus on your strengths!
You're concerned about your future and worried about your income. While you might feel powerless and fearful or anxious about your lack of control, make a commitment to live from your strengths and not from fear. Identify your strengths and make a conscious decision to live from them - observe when you're not. The future will unfold in unforeseen ways when you apply and integrate this concept into your life. Work to maintain your self-confidence while being open to others' contributions. List on a piece of paper the qualities that make you unique and special - list your strengths, talents & skills. Look at the list daily, and add to it when new insights about your strengths emerge. If YOU don't believe in yourself, no one else will. Focus on your strengths!

8. Create a personal board of directors.
Consider creating your very own personal board of advisors. Apply Tom Peters' concept "the brand you" to your life - run your life as you would a business. Create a personal board of advisors who will contribute to your success. Invite people you respect and who have complementary perspectives, approaches and skills. Remember, we learn more from those who are different than from those who are similar. Differences of opinion create a more solid product. When others challenge you, know that they're actually helping to expand your vision. Let others contribute to you. Utilizing your very own personal board of directors will help you get beyond your blind spots.

9. Invest in yourself!
Investing time and resources into your personal and professional development is well worth the effort - regardless of your employment status. Structure personal/professional development into your schedule on an on-going basis. Consider it a necessary ingredient for success. The benefits will far exceed the investment.

10. Visualize the Future.
Don't let logistics or fear that your dream is crazy or impossible stop you from visioning the future! There's always learning in the listening - so listen to your dreams. Identify the essence of what most excites you. Creatively brainstorm how you can live from that space more frequently, as the more you do, the more powerfully you'll generate the future you now only dream about.

The layoff may be a blessing in disguise. What is the Universe trying to tell you? Is this a wake up call of some kind? You might unknowingly be on a path of personal discovery - let the layoff be the catalyst for self-discovery and powerful actions! Perhaps it IS time to move on to something more challenging and exciting.

Be open and listen. They may be a lesson and an opportunity in this for you.


Jan Gordon, LCSW is an Executive and Personal Coach who finds great joy in helping her clients achieve outstanding results! Ms. Gordon provides coaching to individuals and teams who are dedicated to enhancing their personal power and sense of fulfilment. Her coaching embraces the concept that challenge provides opportunity. Visit her website at: Jan can reached at

Copyright © 2001 by Jan Gordon. All Rights Reserved. This content may be forwarded only in full, with copyright/bio/contact/creation information intact, without specific permission, when used only in a not-for-profit format. If any other use is desired, permission in writing from Jan Gordon is required.

 Home Possibilities About Coaching Leadership & Success Reasons to Hire a Coach
Meet Jan Gordon Testimonials Media Quotes Program & Arrangements Newsletter Sign Up
Articles Mentor

Contact Info

 Jan Gordon

 Phone: 954.590.0592