Most people agree that getting laid off is a life-changing experience…

It can bring a torrential downpour of emotions including anger, resentment, guilt, fear, sadness, and frustration. The gamut can also include variations of relief and excitement. I was laid off twice and both times I experienced a wide array of both positive and negative emotions. My clients tell me they relate to that.

Immediately after a lay-off, most people experience an onslaught of what I call “mental traffic.” This includes repeat conversations of what they wished they had said, how they might have “told them off.” It also includes self-talk like, “How am I going to pay the mortgage, college tuition, car payment…” The conversations go on and on and they playback over and over. Together, it presents enormous mental stress and anguish.

In my opinion, the greatest challenge for job-seekers is managing their motivation, which is directly tied to their emotions. There are actions that help and those that crush.


  • Above all, protect and maintain your dignity and integrity.
  • Keep a list of personal triggers that cause negativity.
  • Consider professional employment help early in the process.
  • Attend job-seeker networking meetings so you don’t become isolated.
  • Identify someone as an accountability partner and schedule weekly meetings.
  • Put together an Employment Action Plan (EAP) and stick to it.
  • Find ways to keep your professional skills sharp.
  • Research your industry and learn about current trends.
  • When you leave your home, your dress code should be at least “business casual.”
  • By Friday at 5 PM, rest, knowing you have done all you can to find employment.
  • Read the article: The Job-Seekers Weekly To-Do List.
  • Check out the blog: Ernest Answers on “Talking about your unemployment with friends and family.”

Points to remember:

  • This is NOT your fault – you didn’t ask to be in this situation.
  • You will get through this.
  • Hiring practices are changing. Consider professional employment assistance.
  • Consider the Forward Motion Differentiation Workshop.
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