Welcome to CB’s employment advice column, Ask Avery, featuring Avery Francis, founder of workplace design consultancy Bloom. Each month, Francis answers questions from readers on topics that affect our ability to thrive in our work, and will offer her practical insights on how to tackle even the most difficult riddles. Do you have a work-related question? Send it to [email protected] with the subject line ‘Ask Avery’.
Headlines around the world are sounding the alarm that a recession is imminent. As a result, companies — mainly tech firms hit hard by a bruised stock market — are laying off people and pulling job openings while trying to manage cash.
There’s even a website, Layoffs.fyi, that tracks start-up layoffs worldwide. In early July, more than 300 workplaces laid off more than 47,000 people, according to the layoff tracker. Canadian companies such as fintech company Wealthsimple, software company Thinkific and crypto start-up WonderFi have laid off staff in recent months. Meta even announced it would be cutting back on hiring and removing employees who don’t meet company goals.
Getting fired is never fun. I have been laid off countless times in my career, but my most recent experience has led me to start my own company. So the good news is, in my experience, it gets better. The less good news is that it can take you a while to get there.
When you’re fired, the initial pain — emotionally and financially — can be devastating. Studies of the toll of job loss show that losing a job can trigger anxiety, depression and other negative emotions. But at the same time because most of us to have to work, we have to move on and find a new job, a new goal, or both. Here are some tips for recovering after a layoff.
What to do the day after you are fired?
Process the loss: I advise people to resign and do the first 24 hours after resignation nothing work-related so that they can process the confusion, sadness, worry, or any other emotion they may have. Spend time with friends or family. watch Netflix. Read. sleep. scream. Give yourself time to unpack the big changes that come with losing a job, such as no longer working with close colleagues or not being able to complete a project you were proud of. If you don’t process the feelings now, those emotions may surface during your job search.
Let people know the news: Thanks to people being more open on social media, layoffs are no longer the taboo topic they once were. If you feel comfortable, please share your experience on social media, especially LinkedIn, where you can update your profile to indicate that you are looking for work, and say what kind of jobs you are interested in. If you don’t feel comfortable sharing the news publicly, you can still share it privately with your network via direct messages or emails. In my experience, your community will do everything it can to help you.
Choose whether you want to be on the “dismissal list”: Many companies create lists of who they have fired so recruiters and companies can contact them for opportunities. The benefit of joining layoffs is exposure to many hiring managers. The downside is that these lists can feel overwhelming during such an emotional time when you’re trying to figure out what to do next.
What to do the week after being fired?
Negotiating your resignation: A company’s offer of dismissal is usually negotiable. If you want a better package, you need to consider factors such as whether they sent you away from another job, how long it will take to find a role that fits your expertise, and how senior you were in the company. If you need help, consider working with an employment lawyer if you have the resources to do so. (An employment lawyer can cost upwards of $225 an hour, depending on where you live.)
Realize that your feelings are okay: Sometimes negative emotions don’t bubble up until a few days after a discharge because you’re in adrenaline mode when it first happens. But if strong feelings come up later, don’t judge yourself. Talk to a therapist or career coach if you have one, or even a mentor.
Request references: Getting references from former managers and leaders at the company that fired you can be a valuable buffer against hiring managers who make assumptions about why you were fired. I would even recommend including them in your resume. Don’t wait too long to ask the question; you want them to be able to easily recall details of your strengths and contributions, which can become more difficult over time.
What to do the month after you are fired?
Decide your next move: Think about what’s good for you† That could mean getting another job, starting a freelance business, or taking a sabbatical. Some factors to consider include your financial position, retirement planning, family responsibilities, and how much severance you have received.
If you are going to do business, arrange the basics quickly: If you want to get started for yourself, think about what you need to get started. Every business needs something to sell, a website and a marketing strategy. Get these set up as soon as possible if you want to narrow the gap between your layoff and your next venture.
If you’re looking for another job, start in the right headspace: Start by identifying the exact type of work you want and list your dream companies. Look at those companies’ career pages and sign up for their talent networks, which is a bit like a blank cover letter where you enter your qualifications and they keep you in mind for future job openings. When people ask how they can help you, ask for introductions to informative interviews. You’ll also want to use major job boards like Indeed or LinkedIn.
Working with recruiters: Just imagine: you have several people who are financially incentivized to support you in your job search. They make connections on your behalf and can even (with your permission) apply for suitable roles. That’s exactly what a recruiter does. If you’re fired, reach out to a few recruiters and join their talent networks in addition to your own job search. There are several ways to find a recruiter, including searching online for someone who specializes in your field, asking colleagues for recommendations, and reaching out to industry groups. Working with a recruiter is free for job seekers as recruiters earn a fee from hiring companies when they place candidates on a job.
While getting fired may feel like the end of the world, I promise it isn’t. While knowing you’ll find a new gig won’t take away the pain you’re feeling right now, it’s important to know that layoffs are coming and they’re rarely your fault. I promise you will be able to come out on the other side stronger than before.