3 career strategies for bouncing back after a layoff


I’ve coached many people after they had been laid off. Most go through stages one can liken to the stages of grief, and each person’s timeline to “recovery” is different. I remind my clients that their negative emotions are normal. I encourage them to take a little break to re-energize if they can. If they cannot, I encourage them to take the first job they can get to make enough money to stay afloat while continuing to look for the next “perfect” job. I also recommend the following three strategies to minimize their future vulnerability.

How to thrive in your career after a layoff

Here are some suggestions based on my experiences as a serial career pivoter!

(1) Stay connected. You may feel ashamed at first and may want to retreat. Resist that urge.

  • Ask for help, don’t make it a secret that you were laid off.
  • Tell your friends, loved ones, and anyone else that you have been laid off and need their help. Be specific in asking for what you need. For example, ask them to forward you any jobs they hear about that might be a fit. Tell them not to rule out anything because you want to do that yourself.
  • Think of everyone you meet as a contributor to your growth. Look for the lesson in every interaction.

(2) treat your job as part of your career portfolio, not as the whole portfolio. The goal is to control your own career, not let a job or a company control you. Your job does not have to limit how you show up in the world.

  • Explore work that feeds your purpose.
  • Learn the thing you’ve always wanted to learn,
  • Develop new relationships (outside of work),
  • Use whatever talent you have naturally to start a side hustle. You don’t need to worry about making a lot of money; your goal should be to build your confidence in creating something from nothing. The money will come.

(3) develop your “brand” outside of work. You need to control how you are perceived away from the current job so that if something like this happens again, you have social proof that your bosses can’t control or derail.

  • Create content. If you like to write, write. Or, create YouTube videos or TikToks or whatever output feels natural to you.
  • Make and sell things online or in person if you are a maker.
  • Continue to network within your professional circle and also expand your circle by networking with people from many other professional circles and walks of life.

No one wants to be laid off. However, if you maintain your social connections and devise a strategy for the long term, you may emerge from this situation even stronger and more fulfilled than ever!