How to Manage the Emotional Impact of Getting Laid Off


“Acting is the best antidote to self-doubt,” Ms. Wilding said. “It shifts your mental state.”

Though many relevant activities, like going to networking events or meeting contacts for coffee, remain off the table, you can still find ways to be productive, like offering your expertise to others, Ms. Wilding suggests, adding that it can help to document your accomplishments in a “brag file” you can revisit when you feel down.

Still, Latesha Byrd, a career and executive coach, cautions against spending too much time scrolling through listings and submitting spates of generic applications because it can sap energy that would be better spent on other tasks, like burnishing your personal brand, building a personal website, polishing your social media presence and reaching out to contacts.

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Ms. Byrd coaches her clients to focus on three C’s: “clarity, confidence and control.” To start, she said, get clear about your skills, values and passions, and align them with what you desire in a position and an organization. Next, focus on your accomplishments and the value you bring to shed self-doubt. And make sure, she said, to manage the process and everything that’s within your power.

This framework, Ms. Byrd said, can enable you to shift into a growth mind-set.

“Society has taught us to value achievement over self-fulfillment and self-discovery,” she said. “But from change and discomfort comes growth.”

A layoff can be isolating, especially if you had been sheltering in place and working remotely. Remember that you’re far from alone, not only at the moment, but overall. Most people experience employment gaps at some point. One study found that some 40 percent of American workers have been terminated at least once, and that was before all of *gestures broadly* this. So reach out to your network and talk.

“In this moment, people don’t feel empowered to talk about looking for new work or about personal issues as opposed to collective issues,” said Laura Huang, an associate professor at Harvard Business School. “They’re almost ashamed to talk about what they’re personally going through.”



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