How to Survive a Layoff

I just might be an expert at unemployment. This is my fourth time being unemployed in search of work, and my third layoff. I try not to take it personally – it’s just the economy for someone who graduated during the recession (holla, class of 2011!).

So anyway, as I have become an expert in unemployment, I thought it would be nice of me to impart some of the wisdom I’ve garnered from multiple layoffs.

Please feel free to print this list and tape it to your bathroom mirror, or staple it to a former employer’s forehead should you ever meet in person again.

How to Survive a Layoff:

You me & Dupree

Unemployment done right.

  • Let yourself wallow for a week, max. You’ll naturally be upset at the rejection involved in a layoff, and it’s okay to be emotional (even if you’re actually a little relieved). Be sad, be confused, maybe rage or cry a bit – then let it go. Getting laid off is the employment equivalent of it’s not you, it’s them, so it really hasn’t anything to do with something you did. Repeat this anytime you want to maybe drunk dial your boss with recriminations and various song lyrics from Destiny’s Child.

  • Release the guilt. If you’re married, you may be inclined to feel guilty for no longer contributing monetarily to the household. Remember that your paycheck does not determine your worth – your spouse did not marry you for your ability to bring home the bacon (hopefully). Just call to mind those lovely intangibles you do bring to the home – like your ability to sing ALL the words to “Bohemian Rhapsody,” or the fact that you bathe daily.
  • Bathe daily. While it’s tempting to skip this while lounging in your p.j.’s all day, just don’t. Trust me on this.
  • For the ladies: make sure you have plenty of pairs of yoga pants. This will become your uniform, as combing through hundreds of thousands of jobs (99% of which are either fake or inapplicable to your job search) is uncomfortable enough as it is.
  • Stock your fridge with healthy snacks. That way, you won’t mindlessly eat an entire jar of Nutella in a fit of depression upon discovering that all the good jobs require way more experience you can even exaggerate your way through.
  • That said, make sure you go out for frozen yogurt or a latte once in a while. Seriously, money may be tight, but you can surely dig through your couch cushions for the two-fifty it costs for a vanilla swirl. It’s important to get out of the house and interact with people, to be frugal but not destitute. Destitution = not good for the psyche.
  • Take up some form of exercise, even if it’s just walking. It’s easy to become a blobby hermit when there is no agenda for your day, and this will add to any melancholy or cabin fever you may experience during your unemployment. Plus, everybody knows the secret about endorphins making you feel better, right? I don’t need to go into that here, do I?
  • While it could be easy to spend all day in front of the TV watching a 24 marathon (not that I’m doing that), do something productive that you love but maybe didn’t have time to do while working. This will keep you from feeling useless, or worse, bored out of your cabeza. Pick up that paintbrush, maybe, or finally read the Dostoevsky canon along with the companionate literature and write a dissertation on alienation from society in Russian literature (not that I’m doing that).
New Painting

I love a freshly primed canvas. Oh yeah, that just does it for me.

  • If possible, get a pet. It gives you someone to talk to other than the furniture.
  • When you get frustrated during your job search and want to heave the computer across the room, walk away and do something unrelated to finding employment. Sometimes you can get sucked into a vortex of internet job search engines and hypnotically click for eight hours, but doing so will most certainly only frustrate and depress you. With that said…
  • …Continually do things that keep you positive. Music, yoga, dancing, gardening, visiting friends, building LEGO replicas of the Millenium Falcon; it’s so important to not let your jobless state get you down. Unemployment and depression go hand in hand, especially during a discouraging recession and a market flooded with low-wage jobs. Unless it was always your secret dream to peddle overpriced lattes at the Buck (I actually worked there when I couldn’t find a better-paying job, so I’m allowed to call it that). No judging.
millenium falcon

Now all you need is a Han Solo action figure…for reenactment purposes. Obviously.

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Comments

How to Survive a Layoff — 40 Comments

  1. I picture you in your yoga pants painting with a latte mustache on your upper lip and not worrying your cabeza because guess what? I have a job for you! I’m hiring you to rebuild all the six billion piece Lego Star Wars ships my 7yo smashes to bits the minute it’s put together. You can start with the millennium falcon. You’re welcome. ;)
    Linda Roy recently posted…The I Don’t Like Mondays Blog Hop:My Profile

  2. You…you have a Lego Millennium Falcon? That rocks :)

    This is a great list and very inspiring. A week ago I would’ve needed it, but I’m living proof that it *is* possible to get a job in a recession.

    Don’t lose heart – you’ll get there.
    Considerer recently posted…Shadows across my heartMy Profile

  3. I totally need to print this list out, ’cause I’m beginning to lose my mind! Also, SO much to comment on about this, but I will do my best to limit it. :)

    PJ pants and boxers (for this heat) are my staple clothing accessories. And the bathing. Oh the bathing. I’m a dirty hippy, so I only shower every other day normally (when I don’t run). Tack on unemployment, and you’re looking at one dirty monkey some weeks! I should set a shower alarm.

    I started off my unemployment learning Spanish, cross stitching, and beginning a blog. I’ve only maintained one, and have since accomplished watching an embarrassing amount of entire television series. I’m dusting off my Rosetta Stone tomorrow!

    And speaking of froyo…can that be our woman date, ’cause now I have a mad craving!
    Ericamos recently posted…A Sunrise in the MountainsMy Profile

    • Yes, I have quasi-yoga-pant shorts that are quite comfy in the heat.
      Every-other day bathing is acceptable too, but the people who need to bathe more often know who they are… ;)
      I am always in the mood for frozen yogurt, even in the winter when it’s raining/sleeting/freezing, because I am a weirdo about frozen desserts.

  4. You do know how much that Millenium Falcon set is worth on eBay, right? It could easily get you out of any financial troubles. I have the smaller Lego version, (only worth a few hundred) and it might make for a fun afternoon while I’m swearing at the employment depts. at local school districts. (Swearing helps attain employment in school districts, because they always hire the lowest character people first). Oh crap, my bitterness is showing, better go get some ice cream.
    Chris plumb recently posted…What I’ve Learned in 1 Year of BloggingMy Profile

  5. Good advise but add networking. Use those froyo trips to stay in touch with people you worked with including those who were also just laid off as they may find an employer who has more job openings. You are more likely to find a job though some you know – long before you find one on the Internet.

  6. I know where you’re coming from in this piece. I decided to take six months off from working and had one heck of a time finding something to go back to. I blogged and wrote and met a lot of good people that pulled me into their groups. Some turned out to be great friends, and others just users. The hardest thing I had to do was follow a sleep schedule. In fact, I loved writing all night and sleeping much of the day. Of course, job interviews aren’t held at night (unless you’re a stripper or bouncer … and I didn’t have the body for either of those). Good job!
    Rich Rumple recently posted…Ten… No, Eleven Reasons I’m Not Going To FlogHer … Er … BlogHerMy Profile

  7. Ugh, I’m so sorry that you have to go through the whole layoff thing. I graduated law school in 2008, and had to deal with the exact same thing. It totally sucks, but it’s only temporary. In the meantime, absolutely nothing wrong with a little 24, and some spoonfuls of Nutella :)
    Samantha Brinn Merel recently posted…Shelter From The StormMy Profile

  8. Really great tips and I appreciate the humor throughout as well. I’m sorry to hear that you’re an expert at unemployment (I actually went through a stage of that as well…it was so hard, finding a new job and then getting downsized within the year). Things will pick up and hang in there! I really enjoyed this post a lot and you’re right – keeping positive is HUGE. I remember one layoff that was particularly hard for me. There was a day my dad called to see if he could take me to lunch. That invitation snapped me out of a 4-day showerless funk (thank you dad).
    Kristi Campbell recently posted…Music and memories from the 90′sMy Profile

  9. Funny but oh so true! I’ve hit most of those steps with the exception of the yoga pants each time one of my contracts ended and I didn’t have another one lined up.

    Sorry I’m tardy making it here from the Humor Me! Blog Hop. Life and all that… :D
    Terrye recently posted…Cover Me In WishesMy Profile

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