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What to Do If You Get Laid Off

Laid Off? How to Handle ItThe economy may be on the upswing but as everyone from New York City teachers to Yahoo employees can tell you, it's still very possible to lose your job to layoffs. Obviously, being out of a job is bad news however it happens, but are there any special steps you should take if you are laid off to make the process of leaving your old gig and finding a new one as painless as possible?

Two blogs are handling this question this week offering a bevy of tips for those facing the axe, even finding a few silver linings to this gloomiest of office clouds. Business Insider's Pretty Young Professional has ten tips to help the recently laid off bounce back. Here is a sample of some of the best:

  • Some will say they will try to help you but then don't follow-up; never take it personally. People tend to be wrapped up in their own situations.
  • Employers are sympathetic to those who have been laid off; emphasize that your lay-off wasn't performance related if you can honestly say that is true.
  • Don't be afraid to use informational interviews to learn more about a company or industry, or even to get your foot in the door. Call up interesting people and see if they're willing to talk to you. If you demonstrate your interest through an informational interview, many people will remember you weeks or months later when an opportunity becomes available.
If you've checked out the full list and are still feeling depressed about your impending layoff, blog Wisebread is reaching deep to dredge up four upsides for those facing mass layoffs. Besides being a test of mettle and a chance to step back and re-evaluate your career, leaving your job as a result of a wave of layoffs also has other advantages according to the blog, including:
An Expanded Network -- A mass layoff is like poking an anthill with a stick: All those ants fleeing the hill are going to end up somewhere, and it's up to you to keep in touch with all those people who are being forced to go. You've been working with these people every day for years, and they know you better than you think. Guess what's going to happen: They're all going to get jobs doing something else at some other company (or working for themselves). In a matter of months (more or less), your network is going to double or possibly triple, and you'll have that common ground of having gone through the "reorganization" together. Companies you didn't even know existed will now be "infiltrated" with the people that know you and your work the best. This is huge.
A Lesson in Skills -- Who survived the bloodbath? Don't try to write everyone off as a brown-noser that simply "knew the right people." Take an honest look at the people that were left behind. Sometimes it'll be as simple as "all the engineers were kept" or "marketing wasn't impacted at all," which is still useful -- maybe you should pick up some skills in fields that are widely considered untouchable. Other times it will be more nuanced. If the guy who always contributed new ideas without being asked for them was kept on, that's something to take into your next job. What about the person who started as a terrible presenter but worked hard to get better? Was that improvement valued enough that they kept him on? Pay close attention, and you should be able to find some common details that stick out, details that can help when you've found a job you love and want to survive the next reorganization.
Check out the complete post for the other positive sides to mass layoffs. Or, if you want more information about handling layoffs, there are plenty more resources on BNET.

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(Image courtesy of Flickr user snofla, CC 2.0)
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