How To Bounce Back After Being Laid Off

Boy jumping outdoor

Redundancy is a sad fact in the working lives of many of us, with UK figures from the Office of National Statistics showing 2.16 million unemployed in Great Britain in their June 2014 report. If you suddenly and abruptly learn that you are going to join that number due to a layoff, the immediate reaction can be to panic about what happens next.

Take a minute to let the news sink in, let the emotion out in whatever way works best for you, take a deep breath and get on with planning your next steps.

Redundancy is a scary word, but it is possible to bounce back even better than before - read my story here - with some of the ideas and tips below.

Recognise your emotional state

If the lay off was sudden and unexpected, you might initially experience something akin to panic. Any change provokes emotions which tend to run through a classic ’change curve’ pattern, running from denial and anger through to acceptance and commitment to move forward.

Give yourself time to grieve for the job you have lost, notice your progress through the change curve and embrace the way you’re feeling rather than burying the emotions.


There has never been a more important time to network - update your Linkedin profile, use any industry contacts you have, ask friends and friends of friends if they know of anyone recruiting.

Be creative - if you work in a niche field, can you get some unpaid experience in a relevant company to get a foot in the door? Do you know anyone at a business in your field that you can contact directly to offer your services? Not everyone can be as wild as these job seekers, but a little lateral thinking might just be all you need to get your next steps sorted.

Job seeking tools

It’s important that you have the right tools in your toolbox to help you find a new role and bounce back from your lay-off. Get your CV updated, get friends or trusted colleagues to review it and help you perfect it. Practise your interview skills. Take advantage of any outplacement services offered by your company - you could be offered help to start you on your job hunt, and if your employer is unable to secure this for you, see if any local agencies can provide these services for free, as some provide support free at the point of need, and receive government funding to make this feasible.

Be open minded

See the opportunity within the crisis, and use the time you have to review your career goals. Be open minded about what type of roles you look for - it might be an ideal time to try something new or make a sideways step into a different area.

Know what job seeking services are available to help you plan, and think hard before turning down interviews - even if the role isn’t right ultimately, the practise is invaluable.

Keep yourself busy

In the immediate aftermath of a lay off in particular, don’t fall into the trap of sitting at home and feeling sorry for yourself. This can become a destructive habit and will not help you bounce back. Be around people. If you can realistically manage it, volunteer to keep busy and add to your CV. Consider studying - online courses are available, free in some circumstances, and this will also help you both build your CV and stave off boredom.

The initial impact of a lay off can be devastating, but the longer term impact is seldom as bad as you might initially think. Get the support and help you need, look after yourself as you move through the change curve, and you will bounce back in no time.