How to Make a Graceful Exit if You Lose Your Job

January 19, 2010 in Career and Job Search Tips


“Rightsizing.”  “Staff reduction.”  “Position elimination.”

Regardless of what you call it, a layoff still hurts when it happens to you.  And in today’s economy, it seems to be happening far too often.

But while you may not be able to control whether or not you lose your job, you can control how you handle the situation.  I recently read a great article on this topic by Amy Levin-Epstein entitled “Laid Off? 7 Rules for a Graceful Exit.”   In it she outlines practical steps to handle your job exit with aplomb:

  1. Don’t freak out.  Although it may be difficult, try not to take it personally.  Realize that it’s a business decision, and that you’re not going to change anyone’s mind by debating the issue.  If you need to vent, seek out non-colleagues, a career coach, or other professional help.
  2. Negotiate your exit.  Before you leave the table, ask for what you need most:  letters of reference, outplacement service, extra insurance coverage, moving costs, or even reinstatement if the economy improves.
  3. Fine-tune your to-do list.  Instead of trying to tie-up every loose end in your job, focus only on the most important priorities (this includes your need to find a new job).
  4. Save your contacts.  Download your address book ASAP.  These contacts may be your best avenue to new employment, so start reaching out to them immediately.
  5. Be kind to yourself.  Being laid off is traumatic.  Ease the blow to your system by exercising, eating and sleeping right, and engaging in enjoyable activities.  Stay connected by interacting with others in a way that showcases your talent – be it via a networking group, charitable organization, or even a personal web site or blog.
  6. Update your networking protocol.  Networking isn’t new, but the technology used to accomplish it is.  Beyond reaching out via phone and e-mail, use Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter to round out the mix.  When using social media for networking, only post information you’d want a potential new employer to read.
  7. Drink responsibly.  If you choose to grab a good-bye drink with former co-workers, err on the side of sobriety.  After all the steps you’ve taken to make a graceful exit, you don’t want to spoil your efforts by publicly drowning your sorrows in tequila shots.

Recently Laid Off from the Food and Beverage Industry?

Kinsa Group can help.  We specialize in matching talented food and beverage industry professionals with leading employers across the nation.  Search jobs here.