Bouncing Back After the Let Down of a Layoff

laid-off-from-jobGetting laid off is not one of life’s surprises that you look forward to. It honestly feels like someone pulled the rug out from under you emotionally, financially, and physically. A layoff can leave you questioning your worth. Once you get over the initial shock of having the wind knocked out of you, it’s time to dust yourself off and chart a new course for your life.

How you process and move through a layoff is all a matter of perspective. You could allow your thoughts to turn inward and shut down because of fear, rejection, anger and hopelessness. Or you could choose to tap into your emotional reserves for the resiliency and courage you need to think outside the box. Instead of viewing your circumstances as a disaster, think about how exciting the prospect of starting a new adventure in your life can be.

Here are 4 tips to develop the right mindset to successfully navigate the transition:

  1. Reflect – Every work experience you’ve ever had has tremendous value in it. Make a list of all the skills you acquired, contributions you made and special projects you spearheaded. Whether interviewing for a new position, or working through entrepreneurial options, you need to know what assets you have to offer. Success as an employee or solopreneur comes from leveraging your greatest strengths.
  2. Network – As by business coach has taught me, “Your net worth is in your network.” So make a list of all the contacts with whom you had great business relationships. Start networking with them. Having worked with you, they have the ability to offer endorsements that might get you in the right door, land you the position you have always wanted, or offer guidance for breaking out on your own.  
  3. Invest in YOU – Don’t waste time wallowing in perceived misfortune. Invest in your mind, heart, body and spirit to re-energize, refocus, learn something new, and begin thinking about all the possibilities before you.  No one but you can limit your potential.
  4. Break free from convention – If you have an entrepreneurial spirit, and a burning desire to own your own business, there’s no better time than the present. The economic climate and unemployment crisis are causing people to rethink their future and find creative ways to carve out their own niche. Consult with your friends, mentors and family to see if this might be the right fit for you. Just make sure you leverage your strengths, and find the option that will meet your financial goals.

You must take the time to listen to what your gut is calling you to do. Your life is what you make it, so don’t let anyone sell you a different story. You are not defined by your circumstances, so create the future that you’ve always wanted. Create a plan to begin reinvesting everything that makes you amazingly YOU in a new direction. Instead of a layoff being a tragedy, it could be your greatest opportunity for change. “Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain.” – so if you’ve experienced a layoff, it’s time to put on your dancing shoes!

About Dr. Shannon Reece (24 Posts)

Peak performance psychologist and former competitive athlete, Dr. Shannon Reece is a leading authority on how smart women can launch and grow their business in a man’s world, leveraging their unique strengths to drive peak performance. Her website, educational products and speaking engagements are built around the fundamentals for success which include, putting yourself at the top of your list of highest priorities without guilt, transforming your fear from a liability into an asset, and understanding that being competitive is not about conforming to the status quo.


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  1. 1
    Anna says:

    This was a really great article. It’s been awhile since I was laid off from a workplace I worked for 4 years and I haven’t really recovered from that. Although I am doing it little by little and this article was really a bit of an inspiration. It gave me a little push so yeah. Great article.

    • 1.1

      Anna, Thanks so much for sharing your comment! Being laid off can feel like the rug of your life is being pulled out from under you. When you consciously choose to shift your perspective from “Oh no, now what?!” to an objective assessment of your value by identifying your experiences, strengths, gifts, interests, etc., you can develop a brand new outlook on what’s possible, and begin to move forward. Don’t be afraid to push past your mental comfort zone to think about how your layoff can be an opportunity to pursue the future you’ve always dreamed of. For me, it was a matter of taking one step forward each day to build a new plan for my life, and then putting action behind it. You can do it!