Updated: Aug 17
There's no hiding it.
Since last year, the rate of unemployment due to layoffs and hiring freezes has dramatically jumped to an unprecedented level, especially in big tech names like LinkedIn, Netflix, Google, and Meta, to name just a handful.
And the talent and HR industry, the backbone of every organisation, is being hit the worst!
2023 in particular has been a year like no other.
Every time I scroll through LinkedIn, it's almost like everyone is writing the same post: "I'm sad to announce that I have been impacted by the layoffs at ___ so now I am back on the market."
I know all too well the initial shock, followed by the feeling of loss and grief, then the pain, then the anxiety and fear, of being laid off from a role.
You wake up with a sense of dread, where for the first time in what is years for most people, you have nothing to look forward to on Monday.
No sense of purpose or satisfaction of targets achieved.
No team meetings or company events.
No work emails to catch up on or respond to.
No annoying messages from team members who are in the habit of cc-ing you into correspondence at the last minute, then having the audacity to ask "Any suggestions or recommendations on the best way forward?"
And then to only make matters worse, all the rejection emails, ghosting from recruiters and hiring managers, and fake job postings from scammers claiming to be legitimate, are draining the life out of you!
How can you cope in such times when it seems like literally everyone is on the market right now?
Here are 5 ways to take care of yourself and cope after being laid off:
Take Time for Your Mental Health After a Layoff
This might just be easier said than done, but nonetheless it is essential.
Especially if you have dependants and you're worried about how to take care of them and the piling heap of bills, make use of external support such as friends and family, attending networking events, and even using helplines if you need to talk and offload your anxiety, grief, and shock.
Be kind to yourself and allow yourself time to breathe and grieve your loss. But at the same time, never internalize and blame yourself. This was not your fault, and you will get out of this rut soon!
Get out and go for walks to get fresh air so you're not constantly glued to your phone or laptop applying for jobs; exercise.
You can even pick up a new hobby or restart an old one!
I personally found that playing upbeat music and having my mother and people in my corner, really helped me stay positive when my contract ended early.
Also I maintained a routine similar to when I was at work, which kept me from falling into a state of depression.
I still woke up at 5am every morning and dressed in smart casual clothes, while job-hunting.
I still maintained the same lunch break hour, and I still allocated specific hours in my day for tasks and meetings, job-search related or not, that gave me a sense of purpose and structure to my week.
Try and maintain your work schedule while being unemployed, or at least create a routine that works best for you and your family, so that you don't fall into a lapse of depression or feeling like you're wasting your time.
Build an identity beyond your job title or employment status
Build your personal brand on LinkedIn
Be careful of the image you portray on LinkedIn. This is a valuable asset that you can use to attract employers and recruiters, so use it wisely and maximize every available space and tool on the platform to grow your brand.
Be consistent and strategic on LinkedIn. All your posts and engagement should be aligned and intentional.
Some best practices for building your brand on LinkedIn include building every section on your profile, engaging with others every day and sharing meaningful responses, expanding your network to connect with new people, and being consistent and strategic in your approach.
Never underestimate the power of people. When you've been eliminated from your job, you need people!
Surround yourself with positivity, and with people you aspire to be
And by "people," I mean surrounding yourself with recruiters and hiring managers, but also connecting with positive influencers, coaches, professionals in your industry with a growth mindset, and those who are already working for your ideal employer or role.
These are all positive forces that will keep you on track when you're tempted to derail.
Turn Your Skills Into Money
Find one skill that you have which people need. Turn that skill into a money-making machine.
Let your skills work for you. You have, no doubt, accumulated years of invaluable knowledge and expertise.
Don't waste time waiting for an employer to discover your talent.
Get out there and keep using it!
Turn it into a business idea!
Let your skills work for you
Even if it's just one or two clients a week, it's better than nothing.
You'll have a sense of accomplishment and the satisfaction of knowing you're working (even though still technically unemployed) which goes a long way for your mental health.
Also you have the added benefit of making some money to support yourself in the interim, while helping others at the same time!
Who knows, this "side hustle" may end up being your full-time gig!
Perspective is everything
Most importantly remember that you are not your work. Your key priority is to build an identity beyond and outside of, your job title or employment status.
Often, we get too settled and comfortable in our jobs, to the extent that we don't see the priority in self-development or personal branding, or even passive job-hunting while employed.
Let your sudden season of unemployment serve as the season of "you."
Use this time to discover yourself beyond the confines of an employer.
Build on your skills, identify your areas of improvement, get to know your core values, and embrace who you are.