Compassion and Motivation Are Key Following a Layoff

July 29, 2020

The first thing you may experience when you've been laid off is a range of emotions: shame, fear, despair, anger, but, ultimately, relief. To lose your job at any time is a jarring experience, but it’s not the end. You will make it through this and come back stronger. We know because we've helped formerly laid off workers get back on their feet in the past and even in prior downturns.

What you shouldn’t do is freeze immediately. There is most definitely a time for letting yourself go to feel grief or anxiety, and it's necessary to let those emotions out. Before you do, you have to take care of some business.


Once you've made any necessary adjustments to your budget, evaluated the terms of your severance agreement, and filed for unemployment (if you receive severance pay in certain states, you may not be able to collect unemployment, or you may qualify for a lower amount), the next steps are all about adapting to the role of a job seeker.

  • First, we recommend creating a space in your home specifically for job seeking. If you've been working from home already, you may have completed this step. But adding a few subtleties like a plant or two in a well-lit room has legitimately been observed to reduce stress.
  • Second, now that you've got a brain buddy, and a comfortable chair, set a routine for yourself. Make time for meals, time for looking at available openings, time for leisure and relaxation, and time for filling out applications. Routines are better than schedules because they allow us flexibility in our day-to-day.
  • Third, update your materials. It's safe to assume that you will feel disheartened at times during your job search. Your job is to tailor your résumé, cover letter (if requested), and portfolio samples to be as specific to a job listing and company as you can make them.. Try to interpret a prospective employer’s brand and speak to it.


Naturally, we should plug our service, but that isn't to sell you on something just for the sake of it. Recruiters often have jobs they're looking to fill that aren't on job boards. We also have contacts and channels to communicate with businesses that job seekers generally don't. We can prepare you for interviews and provide you with employer feedback, as well as serve as soundboards for your thoughts and concerns.

Having said that, not every recruiter is the right fit for you. There is a vetting process that you should undertake when deciding on which staffing firms and recruitment agencies you want to assist you.

We dove into this with a Digital UX Designer who's built a great career for herself, with the support of our team and others. If you'd like the free link to learn about that vetting process, email us at!


Don't think so much about the aggressiveness of your hustle. Instead, think about your strategy. Sending a polite, personalized message to executives at ten agencies or brands rather than 100 generalized messages is much, much more likely to draw a positive response.

It's unlikely that every person who responds can take a look at your résumé or portfolio, especially because they're dealing with a lot of uncertainty too. However, even just meeting people to develop friendships with fellow industry professionals - business or not - is worth it.


Staying informed of what's happening in your business, whether that's advertising, finance, or marketing, will, excuse the cliché, help you work smarter as opposed to harder. Let's say you've just read news that a hospitality company has confirmed a new ad agency as its agency of record and that you have experience in marketing or advertising hospitality services like travel or tourism. Pitch that experience, your results, and interest. Be open to freelancing. Nothing may come of it, but something may! Be willing to try.


It sounds like a contradiction, but doing something to help others has a modest, positive effect on your mental health and can reduce stress. Redirecting the singe or sadness of being laid-off is really hard. Being kind to others is one way to embrace healing and move forward.

Take frequent breaks throughout your day. Nap, if you can. Sit outside in nature. Remember that a layoff is out of your control, but it's not the end. If you were around for previous mass layoffs, you know there's light on the horizon. Until then, do your best to stay proactive, patient and keep in touch.

Warm regards,
The Elysian Team