THURSDAY THOUGHTS: When Layoffs Happen

In early 2024, I started to notice a shift on LinkedIn; green “open to work” frames began appearing at a rapid rate amongst my connections. Stories of structural reorganization, budget cuts, and full elimination of departments popping up in my feed almost daily across industries.

Now let’s be honest, layoffs suck, but they are a reality many of us will face over the course of our careers, myself included.

The layoff I experienced wasn’t personal, but it sure did hurt. I received notice of my position’s elimination at an incredibly inopportune time…I was 4 1/2 months pregnant with my first child. Losing a job that I loved to a budgetary “reduction in force” decision rocked my world (not great when my hormones were already in chaos).

Being laid off can be a challenging and unsettling experience. However, it’s important to remember it is a temporary setback, and doesn’t define you. With the right mindset, you can turn it into an opportunity for growth and reinvention. Here are some practical steps mid-tier professionals can take based on personal experience and strategies that have worked for those I have coached as they transitioned into new roles.

1. Take Time to Process and Reflect:

Getting laid off can be emotionally draining, and it’s important to allow yourself time to process the situation. Take a few days to grieve the loss of your job, but also use this time for self-reflection. Reflect on your career goals, strengths, and areas for improvement; what did you like about the role or company you worked for, and what would you have liked to change about the experience. Understanding your skills and aspirations will help you navigate the next steps effectively.

IMPORTANT TIP: Get out of the house! When we feel shock, loss, or anger, we may be unwilling to get out of bed or off the couch, but that is the worst thing you can do. Get out in nature to clear your head! Research continues to prove that we boost our creativity, problem solving abilities, and improve our mental health when we spend time outside.

2. Assess Your Finances:

Losing your primary source of income can create financial stress. Take a close look at your finances and create a budget to ensure you can cover your essential expenses during this transitional period. Consider cutting down on non-essential expenses and explore options such as unemployment benefits or severance packages that may be available to you.

3. Update Your Resume and LinkedIn Profile:

Now is the time to update your resume and LinkedIn profile to reflect your most recent experience and skills. Tailor your resume to highlight key accomplishments and transferable skills. Use your LinkedIn profile to showcase your expertise and connect with professionals in your industry, and don’t forget to add #opentowork on any post you make so recruiters can find you, and friends and colleagues will know to refer you. This will increase your visibility and open up potential job opportunities.

4. Network, Network, Network:

Networking is crucial in any job search, especially when you’re transitioning from one job to another. Reach out to your professional contacts, attend industry events, and join online communities relevant to your field. Networking can lead to valuable connections, job leads, and even mentorship opportunities. Don’t be afraid to leverage your network during this time. The more people you meet and share your story with, the more chances you have to be connected to your next role!

5. Upskill and Enhance Your Knowledge:

Use this downtime to invest in your professional development. Identify areas where you can improve your skills or gain new ones that are in demand in your industry. Consider enrolling in online courses, attending workshops, or pursuing certifications. Sites like Coursera and Udemy, or community college programs have economical options to expand your knowledge and deepen your skills. Demonstrating a commitment to continuous learning will make you more attractive to potential employers.

6. Volunteer

When we do good, we feel good, and that is especially important after a layoff. If you need a lift, put your talents to use for a worthy cause through community service! I volunteered to lead a pre-school reading program when I was unemployed; it was extremely difficult to feel down after spending an hour reading to a group of energetic and hysterical 3 year olds. I looked forward to it every week!

There are so many organizations to choose from with a wide variety of opportunities. Find a cause in your community that aligns with your interests; reach out to inquire what types of volunteer options they have, and get involved. You WON’T regret it, I promise.

7. Stay Positive and Take Care of Yourself:

Dealing with a layoff can be mentally and emotionally draining. It’s important to stay positive and take care of your well-being. Surround yourself with a supportive network of friends and family who can provide encouragement and guidance. Maintain a routine, exercise regularly, and engage in activities that bring you joy and relaxation. A positive mindset and self-care will help you navigate this challenging period with resilience.

In conclusion, getting laid off can be a difficult experience, but remember it’s not the end of your professional journey. Embrace the opportunity to reassess your goals, upskill, and explore new possibilities. With the right mindset and strategic approach, you’ll be well on your way to finding new opportunities and achieving success.

Why Not You?


Stefanie Adams is a leadership training facilitator, keynote speaker, adjunct professor, former elected official, wife, mother, and soon to be published author based in Wilmington, NC. She earned her M.Ed. in Multicultural Education in 2008, and has over 20 years experience leading and training in corporate, non-profit, and educational settings. Her passion is developing emerging leaders, building collaborative teams, and creating positive workspaces as Chief Empowerment Officer of WNY People Development.

Launched in February 2020, WNY People Development provides virtual and in person training, coaching, and keynote speaking topics for leaders at all levels, and organizations of all sizes. WNY People Development partners with clients to develop relevant, impactful, and skill building training options for employees, particularly front line, first time leaders, Millennial and Gen Z workforce; we create programming that drives improved culture and morale, builds competencies, engages teams, and propels growth through interactive, relevant, and fun sessions. A La Carte courses, and service agreement options available depending on client need. Learn more at