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Getting Laid Off: What to Do & What it Means?

The loss of a job or other career failures might make one feel rejected. Even if it could take some time to recover from a setback, it’s best for your career if you can move forward as soon as possible. If you know what to do when you get laid off, you can deal with it more confidently.

Being laid off or layoffs altogether, are unexpected for an employee or employees affected, but it can also present some opportunities and benefits. Understanding what layoffs are and how to navigate it can help you better prepare for the possibility of being laid off at some point in your career. Broadly, when a company faces financial difficulties or organizational changes, it may decide to lay off some of its employees. In this article, we define what it means to be laid off, discuss if it’s the same as being fired, and discuss what to do if you’re laid off.

Related Article: Preparing For a Layoff – Steps To Take

Getting Laid Off – What it Means

When you are laid off from a job, you are terminated from that position, whether or not you were given a warning or severance compensation. You often would lose your job during a lay off through no fault of your own. Layoffs may occur as a result of workforce reductions or organizational restructuring. Layoffs typically take place when a company no longer requires an employee to fill a particular position or when a company is having financial issues and needs to downsize its staff in order to continue operating. While some layoffs are temporary, others are permanent.

Related Article: How To Bounce Back After a Layoff

Why Do Employees Get Laid Off?

There are many different reasons why firms can terminate employees. Staff will leave if they fail to fulfill targets or break corporate policies. Layoffs fundamentally differ from conventional terminations. These, in contrast, frequently have little to do with productivity or performance. Although layoffs occur in any given industry for a variety of causes, the following are the most frequent situations and reasons for the same:

1. Outsourcing 
Companies commonly lay off workers due to outsourcing. A company’s executives may decide to move a post or an entire department to an outsourcing provider if they believe it will result in financial savings. In this situation, the internal workers who were doing the now-outsourced jobs will have to leave. 

2. Changing Course 
Some businesses choose to make significant strategic shifts. For instance, they can discover that offering services rather than products is their stronger suit. They can thus, change the focus of their company to better serve their clientele. Employees in positions that are not required for the business’s new direction will leave.

3. Organizational Restructuring 
Large organizational transitions like mergers and acquisitions often call for layoffs. The leadership prefers hiring new personnel instead of retaining existing ones.

4. Relocation
When a business relocates to a new site, some employees leave either temporarily or permanently. The business may make temporary layoffs if the size of the new facility is about the same as the previous one. If the new facility is significantly smaller than the first, the business may have to permanently lay off certain workers.

5. Limiting Spending 
When faced with financial challenges, some businesses choose to immediately reduce expenses in order to maintain their financial stability. Laying off staff is an effective strategy to reduce an organization’s budget since labor is frequently one of its major costs. 

6. Reducing Personnel 
An organization may occasionally, and often unintentionally over-staff a particular division or team. While the amount of employees may have seemed necessary throughout the hiring process, the business may find that the extra labor is not generating any additional income or profits. In these situations, the business might decide to let go of any extra workers.

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Common Reasons for Layoffs Within an Organization

Many businesses discover that they must let go of certain employees during financial crises for a variety of reasons. Instead of ending the contracts of their employees, business owners have various options. Offering more unpaid time off, implementing virtual work environments, and reducing extras are all workable choices. Cost-cutting, workforce reduction, relocation, buyouts, and mergers are the most frequent causes of layoffs.

There may be a number of reasons why your business is laying off workers. Here are a few typical explanations: 

  • The business has made the decision to stop operating its production facilities
  • A natural tragedy forces the company to shut down
  • The business’s machinery has broken down
  • A coal or electricity deficit has affected the company
  • Raw materials and essentials for production are no longer available to the company
  • The business must reduce its size and production levels
  • Decision to reorganize and change its mode of manufacturing
  • The business merged or another business acquired it
  • Insufficient funds to pay employee salaries

Related Article: How to Deal With Losing Job or Unemployment – Steps to Take

What to do After Being Laid Off?

There’s no point trying to sugarcoat it. We all understand that losing your job is never a pleasant situation. A layoff, however, can also present a tremendous opportunity for growth, just like any of life’s most difficult experiences. If you’ve lost your job, or are having trouble returning to the workforce after a professional interruption of any kind, it’s crucial to keep in mind that you’re not alone. First things first, let’s look at some of the immediate, practical steps you should take after layoffs. If you want to avoid unneeded tension and anxiety while you navigate a layoff, you should make sure all your ducks are in a row.

If you’ve got layoff paperwork, you can follow the steps below to expeditiously reenter the workforce and conduct an effective job search:

  • Rest & Relax
    An unexpected layoff, in particular, can be emotionally upsetting. Take some time to unwind and look after yourself the first few days after your layoff. Rest your mind and body by getting some sleep, and only discuss your employment position after you’ve had time to comprehend your layoff. 
  • Update Your Career Strategy
    Consider your professional goals for a moment before you start looking for new employment. Make a list of the accomplishments and abilities you gained from your prior position. Think about how those experiences might assist you in landing a new job that advances your career and brings you closer to your long-term objectives.
  • Collect References 
    Ask your boss and any other leadership staff you frequently worked with for recommendations within a few weeks of your layoff. Your supervisors should be able to give you favorable reference letters that you can submit as part of your application, as layoffs rarely have anything to do with job performance or productivity. 
  • Set a Budget
    Examine your finances and make an appropriate budget to manage your time and money during your job search. You may concentrate your efforts on looking for a new job rather than worrying about your expenses by knowing how much money you need to rely on and how much of it you plan to spend.
  • Start Freelancing 
    You might be able to indulge in some contract or freelance work to strengthen your resume while you hunt for permanent employment. Depending on your skill set and work experience, online job forums and websites dedicated to particular gigs are frequently good places to discover contract work. 
  • Revise & Update Your Resume 
    Make sure your resume is accurate and up to date. If there is a significant gap between the date of layoffs and the date of your application, it is helpful for hiring managers to understand why you got fired. Consider adding a bullet point under your job title explaining the reason for your company layoffs. This will help the hiring manager know that your dismissal wasn’t due to poor performance.

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  • Send Out Applications
    Send your resume to open positions that fit your qualifications and long-term professional goals. To increase your chances of getting an interview, make sure to customize your resume and cover letter for each position you apply for. You should also reach out to hiring managers whenever you can. 
  • Participate in Business Events 
    Utilize your free time to go to workshops and seminars for professional development in your field. You’ll learn new skills and interact with new people who might be able to help you get a job.
  • Expand Your Network 
    Plan casual gatherings with coworkers, mentors, and friends from your professional network. Ask them for leads on open positions or for tips on how to conduct a successful new job search in your industry.

Related Article: Steps to Take After Layoffs or Being Let Go


As a result of a company’s attempt to reduce expenses, layoffs often affect groups of employees ranging in size from dozens to thousands. An economic slump or company reorganization may have sparked this attempt. Additionally, losing your job is understandably difficult. It hurts your confidence, drains your bank account. Therefore, if you don’t plan your next move carefully, it might wreck your career. Losing a job might throw your plans for the future off course and potentially have an adverse effect on your mental health. However, if you are confident in your abilities and skill set, there are many work opportunities available.

Related Article: What it’s Like to Be the One Doing Layoffs?


1. ​​What are employee layoffs? 
This refers to an employee’s temporary or permanent termination of their employment agreement due to business-related factors. In this situation, an employee is suspended individually or simultaneously by the company. 

2. Why do businesses lay off employees?
There are many different reasons why firms terminate employment of staff. Some have to leave because they fail to achieve targets or if they break corporate policies.

3. Are layoffs the same as firings? 
The main distinction between being layoffs and firing is that whereas firings happen as a result of employee error, layoffs are the responsibility of the company. The majority of layoffs occur as a result of cost-cutting efforts by the business, employee reductions, or mergers and acquisitions.

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