Need a little help getting over being laid off...

I worked for the same employer for so many years, thought they were great (in some ways, still do) but was blindsided by a layoff due to financial reasons (I was the highest paid, non-doctor employee). I loved my job, the clients, most of the staff, etc.

It’s been three weeks, and I’m just at a loss at what to do with myself to ward off the obsessing over every little thing that’s gone on at work for the last year. I keep trying to tell myself to let it go, can’t change the past, etc. but it’s literally what I go to bed thinking about, dream about and then get up crying about still.

I am trying to keep busy, obviously looking for a job. I have unemployment and while things will be tight for awhile, it’s not crucial that I am employed right away and I am very wary of continuing in the same field. I am so far applying for jobs that use my skills but are not anything like what I did before.

I’m interested in hearing other people’s stories about what they did to ward off the laid-off demons, especially if you feel you ended up a lot better off. A little inspiration please ;)!!!

Just a note to warn you that unemployment is considered income and come next April 15th you will probably owe money.

As for me, I’m still bitter about being laid off.

Thanks- but I know that :slight_smile: and in our state, they withhold taxes. Sorry about the bitterness…

For me, the hardest part about being laid-off was not being able to control a major decision in my life.

The company management makes the decision that there is going to be a lay-off, decides who will be affected, when it will be implemented, and what the terms are. You are informed of the decision and asked to sign paperwork agreeing to their terms. And while the company gets to decide all of these aspects, the decision has the most profound effect on the employee. Getting laid off creates a ton of stress – Will I get a new job? Will I have enough money? What about health insurance? But to top it off, it is a humiliating process.

Then you have to follow up the lay-off with looking for work. Again, it is a process completely out of your control. You send resumes, emails, make calls and you may or may not get a response. The process reassures you that you are not in control of your career.

I dealt with it by countering the feeling of helplessness. I used my time off to take control of my health. I started cycling a lot and getting into shape. I found an aspect of my life that was important to me and that I could keep in my control. At the time I had no idea that I was doing this, but when I look back now I can see that it was the most beneficial thing that I did to deal with the situation. And I don’t want to set the bar too high – I didn’t turn myself into some sort of Ironman – it wasn’t like a Rocky montage. I just got some exercise, ate better, and lost some weight. But the important thing was that I was working towards something that I had decided. All that said, being laid-off was still a miserable, stressful, and lonely time in my life. The cycling helped, but it wasn’t a cure-all.

BTW, I don’t think it is all that unusual to be ‘lost’ for the first month. I know I had a hard time finding the motivation to do anything, including looking for work, during that first month. From talking to and observing friends in the same situation, this seems to be the norm. If for some reason your financial situation allows it, then let yourself take it easy for a month.

In my state they only withould Federal tax. State is not an option to be deducted.

Since you’re in a high unemployment state you they are extending benefits beyond 6 months.

Sorry for your condtion. I got laid off from the best job I ever had. The company was making money but not in the US so they just pulled up stakes. No advance warning. The people I worked for and with were the best you could ask for.

I worked at my previous company for 26 years and I still have dreams about it. You dream about your life experiences so there isn’t a whole lot you can do in that respect.

As far as what to expect, I cannot tell you. After my last layoff I did much better. This one is wider in scope and the interviews are few in coming.

Thanks all for your replies so far- I guess I keep expecting to feel better (or a least more neutral) about it, but especially the last few days have been nearly as bad as the first week. Luckily, I have stuff to work on (good tip about the health aspect, I am working on that diet wise but probably could get off the couch and move more) and I’m going to try to get a federal job, which will have more openings after the 1st of October, so hopefully I will have lots of cut/pasting, revising to do soon. I did get on an eligible list for an entry level state job, below my skill levels but with good promotion potential, so that’s something. If I’m still unemployed in November- I’ll be doing NanoWriMo again which should take my mind off it (will try not to make my book about going postal on my former place of business ;)!)
No worries about the taxes- we don’t have state taxes here.

Don’t Panic.

Take some time off - go fishing/sailing/hiking - whatever you can do that is inexpensive.

Relax - you will find work, eventually. I had to take a ‘survival job’ (washing dishes at a local restaurant). That took the pressure off and I found a job in my field shortly thereafter.

If you can keep the unemployment, try volunteering. It looks good in a resume gap, can connect you to people who are successful in all sorts of fields and can teach you all sorts of new skills, from web page building to teaching to ad sales, that might come in handy. Also, it helps you feel useful and productive!

I packed up the family and went on a road trip for 3 weeks. Stayed with family most of the time but it was nice to have so much free time to get out of the area for a while.

Now I’m doing contract work, so not only is a vacation itself an expense, but also the money I’m not making. So I’m not big on vacations these days. Holidays are expensive enough.

Another thing I did was reacquaint myself with my musical instruments, which I had been neglecting.

One problem I ran into, being employed so long in one place and working on a legacy product (i.e. not one that they’re going to change much), was not being able to keep current with technological advances in the field. When I went to look for a job, everybody was looking for experience with the technology that I had no experience with. I did end up in a good position learning this technology, but it took a while.

So if you feel you’re lacking in an area of your chosen field, now’s the time to study up on it so you can at least carry on a conversation about it when it comes time to interview.

I got laid off at the end of July. I just started working a week or so ago. Fortunately one of my old bosses heard I was on the street and asked me to come in.

I wasn’t hurting for money. I had unemployment, my wife’s job covered benefits and I had a nice severance to tide me over.

At first, I started hitting the pavement, calling up old contacts, but given the state of my industry, that was turning into a dry hole pretty quickly. Then I started wondering why the hell I wanted to go back to work so soon.

So I decided to go on vacation. I went over to the bar a few times a week and made some friends among the day time crowd. After 20 years of working and 12 years of marriage, I forgot how much I missed “me time”. That was the most therapeutic six weeks of my life.

I am not suggesting that you become a drunken degenerate like me. But do take some time off for yourself if you can afford it. Do something you enjoy. Remember to use that time to clear your head and don’t let that layoff define your mindset. That way when you start interviewing, you don’t come off as a pathetic job seeker and do come off as a talented individual who got a bad break because of the recession.

The other thing I did was that I had to take care of my wife. I wanted to show her that I was ok so it didn’t bring her down. Instead of taking a big vacations, I took her out on Saturdays for little day trips. We headed out to Harpers Ferry, the Poconos, Rehoboth Beach. It cost me a few bucks worth of gas but it kept our spirits up.

As far as looking for a job, get out there and work it. Think about the most social person at your old office. The kind of person who could make friends on the way back from a bathroom break. Call them and invite them out for a drink. That person knows a ton of people and they are all potential contacts.

Start calling people you know. When I was first laid off and started calling a few folks, I was surprised how many people I actually knew. I was even more suprised at how many people actually liked me and were willing to help. I ended getting some solid leads out of it as time went on. Of course I found a few people who never really liked me and weren’t interested in helping. Its life.

I know a lot of folks who have been laid off in the last few months. Most have never called me. Right now I just heard that a couple of co-workers are quitting for better opportunities and we have some jobs open. If a couple of people called me and asked me out for a beer, I could probably get them in for an interview. But they haven’t and I don’t know where to reach them or if they are interested. You never know who knows of an opportunity.

Good luck. A lot of us have been there and we know how it feels. Its like scraping your knee. It sure hurts at first, but it does get better.