Millennials, Here’s How You Can Survive A Layoff

Written by: Yeu-Gynn Yeung

If you’re a wide-eyed millennial, you’ve probably never been laid off before, but you’ve also heard of your peers who were terminated from their jobs through no fault of their own. In this economy, even industrial conglomerates are cutting back on salaried workers, retrenching up to thousands of them worldwide.

Most of the time, layoffs are not about an employee’s individual performance. Companies retrench employees due to economic or financial crises. Some layoffs are temporary while others are permanent. It’s difficult to say, because one of these thousands could easily be one of us. Millennials, here’s what you need to know about surviving a layoff.

1. Don’t take it personally

Don’t let this layoff define you. You were not fired – you were laid off. Most employers would be devastated to let go of good employees so suddenly. A layoff happens because of economic factors and risks even you can’t predict. Perhaps the company was downsizing or business wasn’t picking up the way they expected. This doesn’t mean that your contribution and performance was not valuable to the company. Your work matters, no matter where you go from here.

2. Update your resume

If you’ve been working in a company for a long time and haven’t updated your resume, it’s time to give that CV a makeover! Go over your list of references and ask your former superior or manager if they could give you a reference. Ask for a reference letter too, if you will. Most superiors won’t hesitate to give you a recommendation, especially if you have a good relationship with them. List out all your accomplishments during your time with the company. First of all, it makes you feel better about yourself. Honestly, you are your own worst critic so you need to take a moment to see how much you’ve done at your workplace. Give yourself a pat on the back. You’ve got this!


3. Check your finances

In a world dominated by capitalism, we’re often tempted to spend more money instead of saving it. Don’t go on a shopping spree just to make yourself happy (and your bank account sad) yet. Do the smart thing and check your finances. Ask yourself if you have enough to survive for the next three to six months until you’ve got a new job. If you have any financial commitments, think about whether you have enough to get by, or ask your bank to restructure your loans until you’ve got a stable income.

4. Keep those side gigs coming in

Millennials are known for their constant freelancing. It wouldn’t surprise me if you had a few side gigs up your sleeve. If you’ve got a skill, make it work and get paid for it. These gigs typically don’t need you to be in the office as you can work remotely. Take up all the freelance gigs that come in your way. The best thing about some of these gigs is that you won’t have to be in the office. Some gigs in which you can work remotely are like writing and editing articles, transcribing interviews, translating texts, data entry and designing a website. You can explore your creative side too, when you get a gig in music, art and photography. Who knows – you may even choose the freelance life for a few years before you go back to your nine-to-five.

5. Be honest

When you’re going for your next job interview, be honest with your interviewers. They’ll likely ask questions regarding your nature of employment. You’ll need to assure them that you were certainly a high-performing employee and explain why you were laid off, perhaps due to restructuring of the company or the company’s financial issues. Either way, keep it short and simple. Explain how you contributed to your previous company and that you’ve been filling up your time with freelance work. If you’d like to, emphasize that you can begin work immediately, since you don’t have a notice period to serve.

Remember, a layoff doesn’t identify you. Get those side gigs, nail those job interviews, and keep your finances in check. You’ll bounce back from this experience soon. You’ve got this! Let us know why you think layoffs happen and include your very own survival tips too!