Updated: Feb 5, 2022
When you've been laid off, it’s very tempting to delay jumping back into the workforce. I strongly advocate for the opposite, because depending on the type of career field you're in, it could take time to find your next position. This includes the time it takes to locate the job you desire, the time it takes to apply, the time it takes for HR to review your application, setup interviews and so forth. I’ve seen it estimated that it can take 3-6 months to find your next position, so you definitely want to get a head start. Here are three more reasons to “stay in the game” and seek your new job immediately after a layoff (even if you received a huge severance package from your former employer).
1. You’re still very fresh and marketable – Let’s say that you received notice of your layoff on April 15, but the actual effective date is May 1. This is a great position to be in because there’s a good chance you could land another job quickly, without showing a gap in employment on your resume. Let me explain.
If you heard about the news on April 15 and immediately called a few of your friends in similar fields to let them know, they might be able to send your resume to a hiring manager. God works in mysterious ways; the timing of your layoff could perfectly align with the timing of a new opportunity that you might not be aware of. I have a few friends who have experienced this. One was given a full month of notice before her layoff effective date, and she was able to find a new job before her current role ended. Talk about favor! This put her in a position to continue receiving a regular paycheck without interruption while being able to save all of the severance pay that she received from her former employer.
2. Your judgement is less clouded – My best analogy for this pertains to dating. If you keep running into people who don't want a serious relationship, after a while you’ll start (falsely) believing that no one wants a serious relationship. And if you hear another friend say the same thing, or you see a movie that has a similar theme, this fallacy could further sink in. And if you begin to believe this untruth, it can become very difficult to feel motivated to go out on another date.
The same is true of a delayed job search. The longer you put it off, the less connected you might feel to the entire process. Additionally, a delayed job search allows time for other well-meaning people to tell you stories about how long it took someone else to find a job. And if you see even one news report about the high unemployment rate, you might be tempted to believe there's no hope and lose faith in your job search. If you have too many of these negative thoughts in mind, it can make your job search more difficult than it needs to be. And like my dating analogy, if you keep thinking negative thoughts, the idea of applying for yet another job (or going on another date) can sound as desirable as eating rotten eggs!
Contrarily, if you start your search early – with everything “all-in” such as your faith, your hope, your positive attitude and your actual efforts – you will see encouraging signs that counteract the fears described above.
3. You allow yourself time for true, peaceful rest – One of the most common reasons that I hear for delaying a job search is the need for rest. I understand firsthand how the days, weeks and months leading up to a layoff can be literally exhausting, especially if there was any conflict during the process.
But most people forget one small detail – once you receive a job offer, you can negotiate your start date. Most jobs automatically have a two-week “processing” period where they enter your paperwork into the system, have you complete a drug test, etc. before you can begin working. However, you can consider that processing period to be a two-week “rest-cation” where you can get the relaxation and refreshing that you need. I recommend this approach because your mind can rest easier, knowing that your unemployment status is ending, versus trying to rest immediately after layoff and worrying the whole time about how you will make ends meet. And if two weeks is not enough time for you to rest and mentally prepare for your new job, you can ask for another week or whatever you need to feel ready. (IMPORTANT NOTE: My two cautions here are 1) to be mindful of the needs of your new employer so you can both come to an agreed upon start date and 2), don't request an extended start date until AFTER you are offered the job. You don't want to prematurely talk yourself out of a job offer.)
I hope these three reasons will convince you to start your job search ASAP. You never know what blessing is out there waiting for you.
Your personal coach,