Bouncing Back After a Layoff

December 3, 2018 in Career and Job Search Tips



Shock. Anger. Self-doubt. Grief.

Being laid off triggers a complex mix of emotions that can rattle even the most stalwart professional. After all, a layoff is one of the most challenging experiences you can face in your professional career.

If you’ve been handed a pink slip, it’s perfectly natural to feel powerless – even jealous of your coworkers who remain employed. You may even be tempted to verbally lash out in the heat of the moment. But remember this:

The way you conduct yourself after a layoff determines your future success.

Experiencing a layoff isn’t the end of your career! So take heart. By adopting a healthy attitude and take the following intentional steps, you can quiet your inner critic, learn from the experience, and get your bounce back:

Realize that failures don’t define you.

The way you bounce back from them does! While being let go from a job can feel like a punch to the gut, try not to internalize blame. Remember, making a layoff is often simply about a food & beverage organization’s headcount or bottom line – and has nothing to do with your performance or value. Make the decision right now that you’re not going to let this experience derail your career. Remind yourself that you can’t change the past, but you can control your future.

Challenge negative mind loops.

“I’ll never find another job that good.” “I blew it.” “Nobody will hire me after I’ve been let go.” Negative self-talk like this is common following a layoff. Left unchecked, however it can paralyze you – and keep you from moving on. If you find you’ve become your own worst critic following a layoff, find healthy ways to express your disappointment and frustration:

  • Give yourself a predetermined amount of time to wallow, allowing yourself to completely experience every emotion that arises. Once that time period is over, tell yourself “That’s enough!” and resolve to move on.
  • Be mindful of negative thought loops. When they crop up, write them down to get them out of your head and view them more objectively.
  • Challenge negative thoughts with questions. Regain perspective by considering how true, logical and productive those negative thoughts are. For example, if you keep telling yourself that your layoff is a disaster you’ll never recover from, think: What food & beverage career opportunities am I now free to explore? What have I learned from the experience that I can apply to my next job?
  • Channel your frustration and anxiety through exercise. If you can’t quiet the voice in your head, challenge your body. The release of endorphins will help you press the reset button on your mood.

Shift your focus from your weaknesses to your strengths.

If you can’t stop rehashing your shortcomings, try widening your perspective. Chances are, you’ve probably already faced adversity in your career. Call to mind those times you’ve made it through other difficult situations:

  • What personal strengths did you rely on to overcome those challenges?
  • What resources did you use?
  • What did you learn about yourself in the process?
  • How can you apply those strengths, resources and lessons to make it through this tough time, too?

Practice resilience.

Resilience is the ability to respond effectively to disruption, change and conflict. It’s what allows you to move beyond the strong emotion in challenging circumstances, maintain perspective and respond intentionally. Here are a few practices to try:

  • Consider what you’re not seeing. When you focus solely on the downside of losing your job, you blind yourself to the wealth of opportunity that’s ahead.
  • Remember that nobody takes a linear path to success. Every successful professional fails, and many are laid off or fired at least once in their career.
  • Practice self-compassion. Be kind to yourself. Banish those negative thoughts. Remember all of your skills, positive qualities, successes and professional achievements.
  • View job loss as part of growth. To find an amazing new opportunity, you must move on from the one you had. Think of the experience as the universe’s way of kick-starting your professional growth.
  • Build a negativity-free zone. Read motivating articles and books. Surround yourself with optimistic people. Follow uplifting accounts in your social media. Do whatever you can to expose yourself to more positive messages and create a protective zone of optimism around you.

Create a plan.

Experts in placing food & beverage executives and professionals, Kinsa’s discipline-specific recruiters are ready to help you bounce back after a layoff. Let’s work together to create a plan for moving on by:

Make Kinsa Group your career partner. Connect with a recruiter today.