Companies conduct layoffs in different ways. Some decide it’s best for morale and productivity if layoffs happen swiftly; others give a couple weeks to several months’ notice so employees have ample time to transition their workload.
Either way, layoffs can be tremendously difficult for those leaving and, oftentimes, hard for the associates staying aboard. If you find yourself blind-sided and enjoy your job, then feelings of frustration, bitterness and betrayal will likely surface.
In honor of Mental Health Month, Health Net talks layoffs — what to do if you’re affected by a transition and how to keep your mental health in good order.
Leave as gracefully as you came
This is crucial. Contacts are everything, and your work relationships can be key in finding new employment. But, no one on your team is going to recommend you if unprofessionalism is all you have left to offer. Now’s the time to put your best work ethic and (smiley) face forward. Sure, that can be difficult, but it’s an unwise career move to do otherwise.
In short, let others stay engaged and motivated. You are not returning to your job, but there may be people around you who will be. Keep your good reputation intact by not poisoning the air with unfavorable work-related comments. Negativity begets negativity, and it will be difficult for your co-workers to be productive in that environment, and it will likely just make you feel worse.
Make your transition smooth
It’s important not to let your disappointment and anger stand in the way of moving forward. Immediately start using your company’s resources. Tell your HR lead that you’re interested in knowing about opportunities in the company where your skill set is needed, and ask if the company offers career transition help (resume writing, access to a recruiter, etc.). It’s also a good idea to get explicit feedback on your strengths and weaknesses (we all have them!), so you can take that valuable insight to your next gig. Use this layoff as an opportunity to learn about how business works and how you cope in trying professional situations. You’ll also need to find out about COBRA and the timing on filing for unemployment.
Bounce back better than ever
In general, layoffs are not personal, so don’t let it put a dent in your self-esteem. Restructuring is an important part of running a successful business. If however, you have regrets about your conduct or effort at work, take this time to evaluate. Not every job is a good match for your skills; if you didn’t like your job, this is a great time to reassess why you stayed. Take a hiatus to recover and discover your feelings. And, if your circumstances become overwhelming, turn to a board-certified therapist for help.
Remember to eat well, get sleep and exercise. You owe it to your mind and body to push forward into new beginnings. Put out a positive vibe, and there’s bound to be an even better opportunity just around the corner.