How To Make The Most Of A Bad Situation If You Get Laid Off

By Ella Carroll-Smith
·  6 min read
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Is there a scarier feeling than being laid off from your job, especially in this economy? While it might be tempting to fall into a pit of despair, with a little effort you can actually spin this experience into a positive one.

Losing your job can feel like your entire world has been upended. Suddenly you’re worried about how you’re going to afford your home, your food, medical bills, etc. These feelings are even further exacerbated if you have a family to care for as well. That’s why it’s always a good idea to stick to a budget and have an emergency savings account even during the good times – that way, when the hard times hit, you’ll be more prepared. No amount of planning can truly prepare you for the scary reality of unemployment, but it can ease some of the stress. 

Panicking during times of crisis might be a natural response, but it’s far from helpful. Instead of hiding under your covers or refusing to change out of your robe or moping around your living room after you lose your job, you need to take action. Okay, maybe you can mope for a few hours, but then it’s time to shift gears from park to drive and get some forward momentum going.

Searching for a new job might feel overwhelming, especially if your firing came out of left field. Maybe you’re still reeling or just need some time to process before so you can figure out your next move. Instead of jumping into the new job search right away, here are some tips to help you make the best of your situation and be intentional with your time: 

Take Some Time To Reevaluate

If you were truly unhappy in your last job, then maybe there’s a silver lining here. While you certainly want to begin your job search soon, take some time to think about the kinds of jobs you want to apply for. If you used to work in finance and hated going to work every day, then are jobs in finance really the types of jobs you should apply to now? Is finance the right career field for you in general? If the answer to that question is no, then think about why. Is there another career path that you’d find more fulfilling? 

If your original job was wearing you down, pursue something different even if you’re not totally qualified.

In life, it often feels like the farther we get down one track, then the harder it is to get off it. While that’s certainly true sometimes, it’s not always the case when it comes to your career, especially nowadays. If your professional pursuits are wearing you down, pursue something different, even if you’re not totally qualified for it. I’m not saying you should throw away all of your teaching supplies and become an astronaut, but if you really think about your skills, you’ll probably realize they’re applicable to more jobs than you originally thought. And even if they’re not, there are other ways to gain new experience. 

Start a Side Hustle To Explore Your Passions 

Have you always dreamed of turning your passions into a career, but didn’t have the time to pursue it? Well, now you have all the time in the world so it’s the perfect excuse to start that side hustle! Side hustles are a great way to gain new skills while also earning some extra income. Maybe you’ve always loved to play music but weren’t sure how to parlay that into a real job. Start a side hustle teaching music lessons! Or, if you’ve always been curious about copywriting, get a side hustle as a freelance copywriter and see how you like it.

There are tons of different side hustles out there to help you gain experience in all types of different fields, from fashion to sales to marketing and beyond. In addition to helping you gain new experience and explore different fields, side hustles will also bring in some extra income so you won’t feel pressured to take the first job you’re offered out of desperation. If you’re slightly more financially secure, then you’ll have the luxury of being pickier.

Visualize Your Ideal Future

What’s your five year plan? That question always fills me with low-level anxiety, so it’s okay if you don’t know the answer. Instead of visualizing the specifics, take a step back and think about the bigger picture. Maybe you won’t even think about work. Instead, think about where you see yourself living, what kind of lifestyle you want, and where you find meaning in life. Use this visualization to help fuel your job search.

If you want more of a work-life balance, then search for jobs that will offer that.

If you want more of a work-life balance, then search for jobs that will offer you that. If you’ve always wanted to move out of the town you’re currently in, now might be your chance! Apply for a job in that city you’ve always dreamed of living in. Do some thorough research first though, to make sure this new place is truly the right place for you. Making a vision board can be a helpful way to learn what we truly want our futures to look like, so if you’re into arts and crafts then give that a try! You might even surprise yourself with some of the things you want. 

Revamp Your Resume and Apply For Jobs That Get You Excited 

Now that we’ve reassessed, figured out what jobs we want to apply for, started a side hustle, and visualized our perfect life, it’s time to get down to business. Dust off that resume and start updating it. If you haven’t applied to a new job in a while, this might feel overwhelming, but there are lots of resources out there to help you. Make sure that your resume highlights your strengths and sticks to the standard format (i.e. not longer than one page!). Try to find creative ways to help your resume stand out so employers remember you. 

Applying to new jobs often feels like a full-time job in and of itself, but sometimes it’s actually helpful to approach it that way! Just because you’re unemployed right now doesn’t mean your routines should fall by the wayside. Turn your job search into a routine so that you stay consistent with it. Sticking to a routine is also a good way to keep your mental health in check, which is important to do during stressful times. Knowing that your resume is polished and you’re applying to jobs that you’re actually interested in will help you feel confident and stay positive because even though your life is in flux right now, everything will be okay!   

Closing Thoughts

Searching for a new job can be a long process, so don’t get discouraged if you’ve been applying for a while without much success. Remember to leverage your connections too: Reach out to friends, former colleagues, and even acquaintances to let them know you’re on the hunt for a new job. They might be able to help you out! And once you do land that interview, make sure you take the time to prepare so you can feel confident. Good luck – we’re all rooting for you!

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