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Recovering from a Layoff? Follow This Expert Advice

In times of economic uncertainty, companies must make difficult decisions — and this includes layoffs. If you have recently been laid off, you are not alone. Data from shows that more than 100,000 tech employees have already been let go in 2023, and that’s just one industry.

A layoff is one of the biggest challenges you’ll face in your professional career, and figuring out what to do next can feel overwhelming. Forté recently invited three career development experts to discuss what people who’ve been laid off can do to get their careers back on track. In an insight-filled webinar, they shared tips for processing this unexpected setback, finding support, and moving forward.

Give yourself permission to grieve, and all of the emotions that go along with that — anger, sadness, regret — and then it’s time to get to work.

Lori Itagaki, Senior Director, Learning & Organizational Development, Hallmark Media, went through a furlough at the beginning of the pandemic and spoke about that experience. While a furlough is different from a layoff, she found it quite stressful. Her advice for anyone who finds themselves in a similar situation: Get your house in order. She says, “There are a lot of questions that you may need to ask your supervisor or HR — things like your last paycheck date and your terms of separation or severance.”

If you’ve just learned that you’re being laid off, you may feel unprepared for that last official meeting. Let the person you’re speaking with know you’re likely to have additional questions in the future.

Mark Strassman, Endowed Blaser Family Executive Director, F. David Fowler Career Center, George Washington University (School of Business), has been through multiple layoffs in his career. In that final meeting, he recommends saying, “I hope that it will be okay to connect with you when I think of other things once I have time to digest this. What’s the best way to reach out to you?” Having that contact information is especially important if the company is disbanding or your supervisor has also been laid off.

After a layoff, take time to process what has happened to you. Abby Pollard, Director, Full-MBA Career Education and Coaching, University of Texas at Austin (McCombs School of Business), says, “Give yourself permission to grieve, and all of the emotions that go along with that — anger, sadness, regret — and then it’s time to get to work.”

Ready to get to work? For advice on how to stay positive, tap into your network, make the most of LinkedIn, and find your next opportunity, watch the full webinar and download our guide to recovering from a layoff.


Take Charge of Your Future 

For more leadership guidance, consider participating in the Rise Leadership Program. This three-month virtual program is dedicated to helping mid-career women move their careers forward by focusing on their own leadership strengths. Rise is built on the premise that leadership starts from within. Learn from leadership experts and executive coaches as you develop an authentic leadership style that suits your skills and personality. Interested in being part of our next cohort? Apply now! 

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