In a few days, it will be exactly a year since I was laid off. It was mid-August and a beautiful summer's day. I immediately got some advice from my still-employed colleagues that sounded supportive, but was 100 percent wrong. Luckily, I didn't follow any of it. Here is a sample of some of the worst advice I was offered and why I'm glad I didn't follow any of it.
Yes, it's tempting to get up late the next morning, grab your bathing suit and a long forgotten book and hit the beach. Don't. Hit the computer instead. Sign up for unemployment so money starts trickling in from the state as soon as possible.
The summer's almost over. You should take some time for yourself and enjoy the sunshine.
More importantly, hit the ground running and start looking at jobs immediately. Even if you immediately update your resume to provide the end date of this last job, it will still look like you're employed for at least a month. It's an important month. >> Related article: How a sales guy sold himself into a new job after two layoffs.
If you're extremely angry about being laid off, don't take it out on yourself by creating extra handicaps. Delaying a job hunt is one huge handicap you don't have to have. Time is important and again, you want to hit the ground running. For one thing it demonstrates to potential employers that you're just that type of person -- the one who can accept challenges and immediately take steps to meet them.
You just took a tough hit. Take some time for yourself and lick your wounds to regroup. That way you can start with a more positive outlook.
>> Related article: How to play the game and not fear the odds.
If you are extremely angry, do get counseling any way you can because an angry attitude comes through in cover letters, resumes and interviews. Anger can be your own worst enemy in landing a new position. If you delay starting a job search, anger tends to just fester and the procrastination rarely results in a better attitude. My experience shows that procrastination more often serves to just make the anger worse as it gets harder and harder to start a search and easier and easier to play the blame game on the previous employer.
It's important to set and maintain a routine that lets you stay upbeat and energetic. This includes continuing to get up early each day as if you were going to work and then.... Going to work. Except now you're going to work on yourself and not for your ex-employer.
It will be great not to have to get up early in the morning. You can let yourself go a bit and relax in your sweats.
>> Related article: How to get organized for job hunt success.
Working on yourself includes continuing to get dressed, albeit not in business casual clothes or a suit. But definitely don't wear sweats or let yourself go. The only time you should put on sweats is when you're exercising in order to create the best you can be for job interviews and first impressions.
Going on vacation when unemployed is a terrible idea. Vacations are expensive and you don't know how long you need unemployment insurance, severances, or savings to last. If you have a reason to visit someone in another city as an opportunity to also seek jobs in that city, then go for it. But if the vacation is simply to give yourself a change of scenery, this is not the time.
This is a great time to take a vacation. You won't have time once you get a new job.
Instead, when you get a job offer, negotiate an extra week before the start date. Certainly if you were working, you would likely need to give two weeks notice to an employer. There's nothing wrong with starting a new job two weeks after it's offered as well, except now it's to tie up personal loose ends, perhaps buy a new outfit, and go on vacation! At least if you run up the credit card on this type of vacation, you will soon be seeing a steady paycheck to help pay the debt.
Here's the hard truth: When you're laid off, it's no time to lay back. It will likely take you many months to get a new job. With all that time in front of you, it can be easy to fall into the trap of not getting started sooner rather than later. Don't. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and get started all over again right away. The next day after a layoff can set the tone for your job search. Make that next day and all the days that follow ones where you hold your head high and give yourself the fighting chance you so richly deserve.
Don't lick your wounds. Instead, play music from Rocky, get up from the countdown, and get yourself back in the ring. Some cardio boxing at home can't hurt either. It's all about getting your head in the game as fast as possible. Vacations and R&R? There's plenty of time for that later.