Crucial Mistakes to Avoid After Being Laid Off

Being unemployed is a challenging phase to navigate. On top of some severe financial stress, you will find that your emotional health is also taking a toll. But sudden job loss is something many people face, and it’s natural to feel overwhelmed. You have to think of the bills that are waiting for you, debt that appears to pile on, and discretionary spending to handle. On top of that, keeping control of your emotions can be challenging. As a result, many people end up saying or doing things in the heat of the moment that can damage their reputation, career, and relationships!

Remember, the decisions you make during unemployment can impact your financial health in the long run. Let’s quickly dive into some common mistakes you should avoid when laid off and discuss how you can smoothly handle this difficult transition.

Acting On Emotion

You might be tempted to take drastic actions or decisions when your emotions are high, but this is precisely when you must step back and carefully evaluate your words and actions. Remember, making hasty decisions can compound challenges and even cause higher stress in an already stressful period.

The last thing you want is to ruin the years you have spent carefully positioning your finances. So evaluate your situation and devise a plan to implement short-, immediate-, and long-term decisions.

Not Networking or Job Hunting

Losing your job can make you want to be isolated, and understandably, you may want to avoid contacting others or letting them know your situation immediately. It’s natural to feel a bit embarrassed about being fired, but shutting yourself off at such a time is a huge mistake. If you don’t get out there and network, you might end up being unemployed for a lot longer. So swallow your pride and reach out to former coworkers or friends for help and recommendations!

Also, make sure to update your resume and LinkedIn profile. There is nothing to be ashamed of, and you are not alone. According to unemployment statistics, 40% of Americans have been laid off from their jobs at least once. So, rest assured that plenty of people have been in your position and will offer to help – you just need to ask! You can also attend networking events and job fairs to expand your reach.

Criticizing Your Former Employer

When you’re suddenly laid off, you might feel very bitter towards your employer, whom you would have sacrificed a lot of time and effort for. It’s normal to feel like your dedication and hard work have been in vain. So, don’t speak ill of your former boss even if your sentiments are riding high. You’d never know – the same employer could sometimes become a valuable resource in your professional network.

Even if you’re questioned about the layoff, keep things brief and respond politely. Remember the golden advice: if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all.

Ignoring Your Health

You likely feel incredibly hurt and emotional after your layoff, and it’s easy to ignore your health at such a time. However, it’s essential to prioritize your health, exercise regularly, eat healthy meals, and keep up with hobbies.

Keeping It a Secret

Our jobs mean everything to us, and in today’s money-driven world, much of our self-worth tends to come from being employed. So, when you find yourself at the undesirable end of the metaphorical boot, you may not want to go about announcing it to everyone. But remember, communicating the situation to your spouse and close family members is very important, even if it is complicated. You’ll need all the love and support you can get to get back on your feet!

However, you may want to put off telling young children about it immediately because it might affect their mental health. Older children deserve to know and can help lessen the financial burden with whatever little role they can play in the household.

Overlooking a Lower-paying Job

If you find yourself offered a job in your field of expertise, take it, even if it pays less than your previous job. Yes, it might bruise your ego a bit to take a pay cut, but the priority right now is finding work to pay your bills and make it through this crisis.

Titles are meaningless in today’s society, and even if your new job pays less, you never know where it could take you!


Set up a budget and evaluate your financial obligations and spending. To reduce your monthly expenses, you must make short-term changes to cut costs in areas such as entertainment and dining out. It will be painful, but remember, these are only temporary adjustments and can help you avoid debt.

You can also consider some work-from-home or freelance opportunities that offer immediate work to reduce commuting costs.

Taking a Very Long Break

When you’re unemployed, days will roll into weeks aimlessly; before you know it, you might find yourself too comfortable doing nothing. Besides, the lack of income after a layoff can make it tempting to tap into your savings. Avoid doing this for as long as possible, and focus on finding ways to keep your money invested.

While prioritizing your mental health is essential, don’t be tempted to think that you deserve a vacation or nights spent partying. If you’ve been laid off, it’s likely that the company no longer saw you as a valuable resource. So, it’s time to get your act together and up your game! You can do this through learning new skills and technologies, networking, and creating a strong financial plan for your future.

Bottom Line

No matter how you slice it, losing a job is not easy, even if you saw it coming. If you find yourself stuck in a cycle of negativity and inactivity, you’re making costly mistakes that can cause long-term damage. Not only is it stressful, it is also terrifying.

It’s ok to take some time to grieve your loss and process your emotions. But after a few days to decompress, it’s time to dust off your resume, scour job boards, contact former coworkers, and return to the job market. When you put in the work, you will land a new job much sooner.

Remember, you can transform your bad situation into an opportunity to learn. Maybe your next job might be better than the one you were dismissed from!