How Do You Emotionally Prepare to Be Laid Off?

Updated on January 21, 2011
M.S. asks from Chicago, IL
13 answers

I'm there a way to emotionally prepare for a layoff? I'm not asking how to prepare financially as that's obvious...but how does one handle it emotionally?


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answers from Pittsburgh on

Well, I can't speak from direct experience, since I was blindsided after 18 years in a downsizing wave. (I have since been asked back to the same company.) BUT I will tell you this: Sometimes it IS the best thing that can happen to you because you will see that there is life after Company ABC and there are a LOT of other places and venues at which your talents will be appreciated and used!
Also, defining yourself by your job/career is not a great thing. Men do this more than women, I believe, but there are SO many other parts to us than our job/career!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

Allow yourself to grieve the loss of the job, especially the loss of coworkers, job responsibilities you loved, etc. Understand that is part of the process of moving on.

Then, take charge. Want to keep in touch with your old coworkers? Make it happen. You could even form a job hunting support group together.

Write down a list of target employers and recruiters. Make to-do lists for your job search. Spread the word to everyone you know about your job search. Mention your search on Facebook and Twitter (and be specific about the kind of job you want, so people refer you to the right jobs). Make sure your information on LinkedIn is current and tap into networking opportunities there, too. Networking is the number one way of finding a new job, so don't be shy. Tell your hair stylist, your neighbor, your uncle about your search. You never know who knows someone who's hiring.

Best of luck to you!

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answers from Dallas on

I am no expert but this is what I would do.

do my best to take control and get some irons in the fire for the next gig.

Also, remind myself that I will not starve to death. That I do have some control over my own reactions, and look at this as a gift to give me time to reflect on what I really want to be doing.

Truly this depends on your personality and a million other factors like:
Did you like your job? If not, how can you work toward something you like better?
Do you have support from friends or family?
Can you cut expenses in other ways?
Are you willing to take a temp job?
Would you want to work from home?

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answers from Dallas on

Well I think Laid Off and I think the company is down sizing. So in that case it is most likely not your fault at all unlike being fired for poor preformance or anything like that. I think if you remain up beat about looking for another job and upbeat about the situation with others then you wont sink into the laid off depression so many get. If you are preparing financially that will certainly help with your emotions when the time comes.

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answers from Milwaukee on

From personal experience you kinda don't. It depends too on if you know it's coming or if you went to work one day and boom. when you know, you can start the process sooner and put some things in motion.

It's like any other loss-you have to go through the stages of grieving. Don't try to prepare, because then when your emotions don't meet your expectations you feel worse.

Working with a therapist is helpful also.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Two years ago my husband was given two months notice that he was going to be laid off. I was pregnant with our first child, we had just bought our first home, and we thought he had a very secure job. It was shocking, to say the least. But we decided that very first day to celebrate the changes to come and keep our chins up. That night (when he found out) we made a special dinner and watched our wedding video. We also didn't tell anyone that he was going to be laid off - we didn't want to surround ourselves with sympathy and negative energy. Of course, we thought he'd find a job more quickly and when he didn't we did eventually tell people, but by then it wasn't so bad because we were obviously coping well with it, so there wasn't a lot of drama when we told people. We just kept looking for the good. He was able to spend a lot more time with our daughter when she was born, and that has helped them build the most amazing bond. We had a lot of time to do family things. He finished acupuncture school and had lots of time to study and then work on building his new practice. It wasn't all easy and good, but we made an effort.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

For many of us, our job is, in effect, a major relationship in our lives. Even though it's not a person, it's something you spend a lot of time on, put a lot of effort into, feel pleased when you are recognized for your effort (not just financially, but verbally), receive companionship, etc. It can start to feel like a friendship. Well, when push comes to shove, most companies watch out for themselves. When times get tough, they watch out for their owners and their balance sheets, not their employees. Not all companies, but most. Realistically, we all probably have a friend or two who is like this, too.

If you know the layoff is coming, try to start looking at your job as a business relationship. Your time & effort in exchange for a paycheck & insurance. This doesn't mean you need to stop being friends with the people you work with. It just means you should try to stop looking at your employer/job as any type of friendship relationship. It's business only.

Speaking of friends at work, if you are laid off, you will not being seeing them everyday anymore. When my DH was laid off, being home alone all day was very difficult for him. The first day he was literally waiting at the door when I came home. He wasn't close friends with anyone at work, but having no companionship at all during the day made him feel very isolated. This would be one thing you could try to prepare for. Make sure you have opportunities to spend time with other people. Your mental health is important.

Two other things to keep in mind when you're thinking about a's not the end of the world. Life WILL go on. Also, there will be a silver lining. Ours was that it forced us to be more responsible about money. A huge blessing for me was that my husband had to give up his car. I know that sounds bad, but he bought a brand-new car shortly before we got married even though he has a ton of debt. In my eyes it was a bad decision, but we weren't married yet or living together so our finances weren't mixed at all. After he got laid off, the payments were too much. Fortunately he was able to return it through that Huyandai Assurance program. So now that darn car with its high payments is gone and has been replaced by another vehicle with reasonable payments instead :) Just look for the silver lining, it's there!

Good luck...

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I knew it was comming for a while, I had MONTHS to be aware and no longer care ... really when my Mgr called to tell me (I was on medical leave) I was not shocked or anything really ... we knew it was comming and just went with it so to speak!

But really you do not emotionally prepare for the most part, you just keep telling yourself it is happening so you are numb to it when it happens.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Just try to emotionally distance yourself from the job in general. And be happy that you have time to prepare. I have been in that situation before and just recently my husband experienced job loss twice, first time completely unexpected, second only a couple weeks warning. It is much more difficult emotionally when it is a sudden thing.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

Be honest with yourself about how you may be feeling. See this time as a time of adventure and perhaps new beginnings. You may get the chance to learn some new skill or skills or change careers or begin a career.

Get your resume together and start shopping it around. There is no rule that says you shouldn't start looking for a job before the lay off date but if they are offering some kind of severance package it may just be worth it to ride it out to the end. Weigh the costs. Could you be earning that money right now at a different place of employment?

Don't define yourself through your job because when a job goes (which they will) you will loose your esteem. Each person is so much more than what you do for a living. Redefine yourself though the various aspects of your life not just your job.

Don't spend time wallowing in self pity but spend your time thinking and writing down your vision for your work and your worklife. This way you will know that you have found what you were looking for because you took the time to know and write down what it is. Consider things like salary, size of company and the structure of the company, hours of working, work from home opportunities, the personalities of the people you would like to work with, the assignments the workplace will offer you, the possibility for advancement, tuition reimbursement, benefit package, and anything else you can think of from small to big.

This is how I emotionally prepare.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Harrisburg on

Don't think about it as a lost before you lose it. You plan, prepare and mentally take it one day at a time...don't set yourself up to "feel" laid off or tell yourself your world has ended...

If I was financially ok, then I would probably look forward to it - I would think vacation, rest, etc!

If you were not, I would probably worry, but you don't seem to be worrying about the finances part of it.


answers from Dallas on

I agree, look at it as a blessing and find something that you are passionate about doing and get started :) When I left my teaching job I never thought I would find anything as fulfilling that I was passionate about, now years later I am just as passionate about my second career helping families work at home. :)



answers from Rockford on

Do you know for sure that you are going to be laid off? I was laid off 1 1/2 years ago and never saw it coming. There was talk of layoffs at staff meetings but I never thought it would be me. You go through a process...kind of like losing a loved one. I was sad, scared, mad but then I quickly got into a routine and tried to look on the positive side. It wasn't easy but eventually you move on. I wish the best for you!

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