What I Wish I Knew When I Got Laid Off

I was laid off after working for a little over a year as a marketing assistant for a publishing company in the Bay Area. It like a bad break-up because it was a job I really loved. The whole thing felt like I was on an emotional roller-coaster, going from sad to hopeful every few days. In the months following the layoff I learned a lot about myself. I’d like to share what worked for me and what I would do differently.

Embrace it

Embrace the new opportunity by taking full advantage of it. The positive is that you now have all this free time to do what you want. When I was laid off, I visited friends in San Diego, Portland, Seattle and Mexico City. One thing that I’m happy I did: I took a class at a UC Berkeley Extension on social media marketing. Being laid off gave me the opportunity to see people I love and explore my interests.

Start job hunting right away

Although I think you should embrace being laid off and having a lot of time on your hands, I don’t think you should totally put off job searching. One thing that I wished I did differently was start my job search immediately. I had such ease finding a job in the past I thought I could put off my job search for a month or two. When I finally started looking for a new job a lot of employers were concerned with the time gap in my employment.

Connect with your network

An easy way to jumpstart your job search while being laid off is to let your network know you’re looking for a new role. Something that you’ll find out is that a lot of people are willing to help you find a new job. Since you’re not tied to a 9-to-5, you have the flexibility to reconnect with old colleagues at a time and place that’s most convenient for them. Something I’m happy I did to expand my network was research mentorship programs. I found a mentorship program with a local professional organization and was able to match up with someone who introduced me to people in their network who could help me on my job search.

Pivot from Plan A

Ever since college, I’ve always known that a career in marketing is what I wanted. Being laid off really made me think about what I wanted in my next role and where I wanted my career to go. Did I want to stay in the Bay Area? Should I focus on publishing? My job search started out pretty narrow — only focusing on marketing jobs in publishing. When I realized my laser focus was hurting my chances of finding a job, I applied to marketing roles in different industries. Then I thought of roles that require skills that are transferrable to skills needed in marketing. I looked at roles in sales, customer happiness and project management. Six months after being laid off I landed a marketing role in financial services.