Laid off? 5 Top tips to help you bounce back
If you’re paying attention to the headlines these days, it may feel like tech jobs are slipping away like sand through an hourglass. Just in the month of March, we watched as major tech companies like Roku, Disney, and GitHub all announced massive layoffs, carrying last year’s sour trend well into 2023.
As earth-shattering as layoffs can feel, they are not in the least bit shameful. They can (and do) happen to anyone, and you’re certainly not alone. And for the time being, we are, unfortunately, stuck with capitalism and these wild market cycles until we find another better way.
So, in the meantime, we decided to talk to some brilliant and talented folks who’ve been through it themselves and bounced back stronger than ever to tell the tale. Here are their absolute best tips when it comes to being laid off and how to make the most of a crappy situation.
Tip #1: First, take some time for yourself
With an extensive background in events, SaaS, and startups, there is little that Godfrey, a driven and charismatic Toronto-based professional, can’t do. Over the last two years, the 31-year-old pivoted to talent acquisition after experiencing two layoffs in 2022.
“If you’ve been impacted by a layoff, take some time for yourself, as it can be a traumatic experience, and the news can be difficult to process,” Godfrey said.
He also notes that it’s not uncommon for feelings of anger, resentment, and bitterness to creep in, and it may be hard to see things clearly. And it makes perfect sense: so many of our identities are intrinsically connected to our roles, and a change like this can be gut-wrenching. To help, Godfrey recommends leaning on family and friends for emotional support and taking a proactive step back to reflect before jumping into the job search.
“Instead of doom-scrolling on LinkedIn, find time to step away and do something that makes you happy, like going to the spa, taking a cooking class, or going on a vacation,” Godfrey said. “Taking some time away will help clear your head and give you the opportunity to reset before making any big career decisions.”
Tip #2: Utilize your network – and your humanity
As a talented and exceptionally creative designer working in tech, Caro, 29, was shocked like many others when she was laid off from an e-commerce company in late 2022. She (unsurprisingly) was able to secure a new job as a full-stack designer within a few months and has a few pointers to share.
“I would say it definitely came down to using both my personal network and LinkedIn,” Caro said. “I was spending most of my time messaging people and connecting and getting lots of coffee chats on the books.”
Caro posted about her layoff on LinkedIn, which received a lot of traction, and many people reached out to talk about potential opportunities. She learned that being open and honest in these situations can be really beneficial, especially in the digital, work-from-home world, where we sometimes feel even more disconnected.
“Having a 15-minute coffee chat with someone, and asking about the team and the organization and seeing if you’d be a good fit can go so much farther than just sending your resume into the abyss of a website portal,” Caro said.
And as a bonus tip for all creatives: make sure those portfolios are up-to-date. On that note, we’ll BRB.
Tip #3: *Try* not to burn any bridges
We know this one seems pretty obvious – of course, no one wants to burn any bridges, but sometimes these things are simply out of our control. Whether you work in tech or not, just try to remember that it’s a damn small world, after all.
Ryan is a 30-year-old manager in financial services and felt like the rug was pulled out from under him when he was laid off from a fintech startup in late 2022. Fortunately for him, he was able to pull a “boom-a-rang” and return to his previous company and secure a similar role there.
“I was really thankful that I stayed on good terms with my previous company,” Ryan said. “I had a good hand-off with the team, and I was grateful to be able to start back with them relatively quickly after I reached out and told them what happened.”
While he notes it was a little awkward to return to his previous employer after some time away, he said a day of laughs was well worth it. He also recommends keeping a few close connections from your recent roles and remaining in touch as you progress through your career.
“It’s nice to have people looking out for you, especially in tough economic times,” Ryan said.
Tip #4: Treat the job search like a job itself
Once you’ve taken some time and are ready to start the job search, it might feel like a lot of work without pay. But when you secure a great new gig that aligns with your values, it will all be worth it – and here’s how.
“Write out your own personal values and what you liked and didn’t like in your previous role,” Godfrey said. “Self-reflection helps you find what’s important to you, and you’ll have a clearer direction on whether a company is a good fit for you based on their mission and values, as well as the scope of the role.”
Godfrey also suggests carving out time in your calendar every week to work on your resume, submit applications, network with folks at companies you’re interested in, and do some upskilling, like taking an online course.
“This helps maintain a sense of structure in your day-to-day and holds you accountable to your job search goals, said Godfrey. “Upskilling helps broaden your skill set and demonstrates a strong growth mindset to hiring teams.”
Plus, upskilling can give you something to look forward to and hopefully get your mind off things. And if it helps you land a new gig – well it’s a win-win!
Tip #5: Interview them, too
When applying for new roles, it can be easy to feel like you’d be lucky to get another job, but this isn’t the case. This is your livelihood, and most of us (typically) spend more time working than doing anything else in life, so you’ll want to be sure it’s the right fit for you, too.
“Definitely try not to have the mentality that you’re desperate for a job, which can be very real when you’re laid off,” Caro said. “Keep the mindset that you’ll find something, and you’re looking for a great fit and that you will bring a ton of value to the team.”
We get it – the stakes are high. But as Caro said, keep that confidence in yourself so that you can feel really good going into your next role. Go with your gut, even if that means having to decline an offer if something feels off.
“Know that both sides will be lucky if it’s a good fit – and remember the interviews are not only one-sided,” Caro said.
A final word
While layoffs are undoubtedly unpleasant and something most of us hope to avoid, they can be an incredible opportunity to reflect, learn a new skill, and even make a career change. It’s all too easy to dwell on the past, but try to approach a layoff with an open mind and a willingness to adapt. Who knows – it could lead to finding an even better-suited role and a more fulfilling career than you could have ever imagined.
Learn more about Carte Blanche Studio
Carte Blanche Studio is Toronto’s leading creative agency. We’re passionate about the world around us and helping brands authentically express themselves to build a more connected future. Visit us online to learn more.