5 Alphanista Things to Do When You Get Laid Off


By Guest Blogger, Author Wendy Coakley-Thompson

In two decades in the workplace, I’ve been laid off three times – coincidentally when there was a President Bush in office.

It’s not so bad at first. You experience jubilation at sleeping in and watching all the Oprah you can stand. Then, worry sets in, along with sleeplessness… and the realization that you’ve watched all the Oprah you can stand. Being laid off sucks.

If you’ve recently lost your job, you’re not alone. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, as of March of this year, the unemployment rate rose to 8.5%. Since December of 2007, like magician David Copperfield just went POOF, 5.1 million jobs disappeared!  Lately, it seems like people who haven’t been laid off are the anomaly. If you’re among the 5.1 million, listen up. Here’s what worked for me when I found myself out of a job:

1.    Freak out. Allow yourself to feel badly and act out – within reason, of course. You’ve experienced a devastating loss; accept the freak-out as part of the grieving process. Trust me; the freak-out is coming anyway. You might as well get it over with now, on your own terms, so that you can focus on what you have to do.

2.    Assess Your Resources. Whether it’s time, money, contacts, etc., see what type and amount of these resources you have at your disposal. This will drive how long you allow for your freak-out and how much time you have to get to Step #5.

3.    Re-examine your career goals. The last time I was laid off, I used that time to ask myself what exactly I wanted to do with my life. Maybe you want to be an actor instead of a nurse, or a teacher… or an instructional designer. Use this time to find out. If you still want to be a lineman for the county, that’s fine too.

4.    Connect with family and friends. Oprah just aired a show on Dan Buettner’s book The Blue Zones, where more people over the age of 100 tend to live than anywhere else on the planet. One thing centenarians in all five blue zones have in common is their strong interpersonal networks. Back to you. The worst thing you can do at this time is to shut people out. You mightn’t live to be 100, but strengthening your interpersonal connections keeps your mind off your own problems and lessens your stress and worry.

5.    Plan your attack on the job market. Now that you’ve gone through Steps #1-4 and done the up-front work, you are ready for your strategic assault on the classifieds, Monster.com, Careerbuilder.com, USAJobs.gov, headhunters, and your connections in the workplace. Having a healthy mindset increases your likelihood of scattering your precious seeds only on the fertile ground of employers who are ready for you.

Of course, for some, this might not be a linear process. But it’s what worked for this Alphanista. The chances are good that it might work for you too.
Good luck!

Author Wendy Coakley-Thompson is the DC Publishing Industry Examiner at Examiner.com. Check her out at http://www.examiner.com/x-6658-DC-Publishing-Industry-Examiner.


  1. Patty Hardee says:

    Being laid off is also a chance to do some of the fun things you couldn’t do while working–go to the National Gallery during a weekday, catch a cheap(er) matinee movie, read. I don’t mean you should goof off, but doing things that give you joy takes some of the pressure off and is good for the soul. After all, if your job search is successful, how long will it be before you have this much free time?

  2. Stopping the freak-out, I find, is like trying to stifle a sneeze. You might be successful, but the force of the pressure tends to relocate itself in other more embarrassing places… if you catch my drift.

  3. Alexis Kane says:

    I like step 1…freaking out. It’s okay and sometimes breaking down helps you get closer to the solution. I am tired of being this strong black woman. I refuse to fake the funk, and I like #5. Attack for real.

  4. I always tell anyone who’s job is on the chopping block to use that down time to create a nook into you own financial freedom by starting a business. In the age of the Internet and social networking sites, this is the perfect opportunity to start networking with people.

    Join a FBLA (Future business leaders of America) forum to get idea’s of how the economic trends are swaying and then hustle them. There is no reason in hell for you to be broke if you have access to the Internet. Learning to be creative is key, stop being so scared of taking risks!

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