Post-layoff behaviours to avoid if you lose your job

After the first 72 hours, there are many ways that may derail your transition.

Post-layoff behaviours to avoid if you lose your job

Laid off from work? Breathe.

The times are uncertain, the economy is on hold, and as a consequence, you’re unemployed. The process of being laid off from work can be very stressful: all that effort, lots of uncertainty. Pressure can build even if you’re doing all the right things. That’s why you should read our list of common post-layoff behaviours that can undermine your transition.

Going on a spending spree

It seems pretty apparent not to squander money when in-between jobs. The more cash you hang on to, the longer you’ll be able to search without getting desperate. But running out and buying unessential stuff provides stress relief for some. It can make you feel temporarily flush as it takes your mind off your woes. Until the credit card bill arrives like a pounding sledgehammer.

Taking frustrations out on others

Searching for work is a grind. It’ll wear you down if you don’t take care of yourself. You’ll need all the moral support available. So dumping anxieties and anger on people close to you isn’t advisable. Instead, try to find healthy outlets. Like exercise or pursuing a hobby. Share concerns with different people and reach out for help if needed.

Letting guilt or shame overwhelm you

Getting laid off from work can throw you for a loop. It’s a real challenge to repair job identity loss. So much of your self-image is wrapped up in your career. Not being employed can make you feel inadequate, disconnected. But remember that this is just temporary. Also, most people these days have gone through a similar experience. You aren’t alone, and by sticking to your plan, you’ll get back to work sooner.

Applying for every job advertised

Answering as many job ads as possible will bring success. True? Sure, if you’re qualified for every one of them. Otherwise, you’re mostly spinning your wheels. Job hunting is a numbers game, and it’s more about targeting appropriate opportunities. Plus, networking has to be part of your game plan too.


Fear prompts terrible choices. People accept lower wages, lesser titles, pretty much any affront to escape unemployment. Typically that happens when the money runs short or when hope begins to fade. Unfortunately, accepting an insulting offer can lead to poor outcomes. Disloyalty and lowered productivity, job-hopping. That’s why you should be realistic and strategic from the start.

Letting other people get under your skin

Your neighbour comes home with a shiny new car. Envy consumes you. A loved one innocently asks why you’ve been out of work this long. Rage gets repressed. French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre said famously that “Hell is other people.” Push back. Tell people how you want to be treated while you’re unemployed. As for jealousy, keep it in check by creating a gratitude list. Small things make a big difference when you can’t compete materially.

When you're laid off from work, focus on what’s doable, and take moments to reward your efforts. Once you’re re-employed, you’ll be glad you resisted those self-damaging urges.