Dear Joan,

I knew I wanted to leave my job but I thought it’d be on my terms. So when my manager asked me to come to his office the day before Thanksgiving break, I thought it was just for a routine meeting. But NO, I was FIRED!!! Yes, I knew the company was losing money and things were tight. But I expected to quit on my own terms, after the holidays. I am really in shock! I’ve done a great job, gotten excellent reviews and after 2 years I thought there’d be some loyalty from management. My severance is only 2 weeks and I have counted on an income through January. So many thoughts are swirling in my head and most are fear based. I’m 50 years old and in my profession youth is preferred. Prior to this job I worked in a large company for 20 years and I thought this would be my my last position. Please help me get my thinking right so I can move forward for a job search. I am surprised and down in Santa Rosa,


Dear Tom,

First off, so sorry that you’re going through a layoff and even worse, that it came as a surprise. This is not the scenario you planned and the surprise element alone is a shock to your system.  You are human and change is difficult, especially when it’s change that is thrust upon you and you hadn’t prepared for it.

I have coached hundreds of people through this situation and on to new employment, so first thing to realize is that are you going to go through a process.

Here are the first steps that you need to take:

  1. Give yourself time to absorb what happened. Just as with a death, this is a kind of death, an ending, and an unexpected one. You need to give your system a TIME OUT to absorb the change of circumstances. If you’re like most people, you need to give yourself a few days. If possible, take off and go to new surroundings; the ocean, the mountains, even a good hike outdoors, it needn’t be an expensive trip to Hawaii! So first give yourself a breather and let your family know what’s happening. Also, assure them that you will rebound and things will be OK. Perhaps set realistic expectations about gift giving this season and get with the new thinking of experiences and recycling good stuff as gifts. As you assure those close to you that you’ll be OK, you will be assuring yourself, too.
  2. Take a realistic look at your current expenses and ability to pay. Perhaps you have a 6 month cushion and can just pull back from some ‘unnecessary expenses’. Perhaps you have  repayment debt payment where you need to contact them and negotiate for more time, perhaps smaller payments. But don’t put your head in the sand. Try to look objectively at your financial situation and see what needs to be done NOW. Look into unemployment. From the way you describe the situation, with a good performance track record, you probably qualify for it.
  3. Boost your CONFIDENCE. Yes! Being laid off, especially with a surprise layoff,  is a confidence killer. Knowing that, you need to do what you can to restore your confidence and rebuild faith and belief in your abilities. I have found the most effective way to do this is with a devise I have created. It is called CONFIDENCE CARDS. It is a series of several playing card size thick paper that has you list one of your key capabilities on the front and the proof points on the back. You are welcome to get a set of CONFIDENCE CARDS from me directly if you write to me at Please remember that no one can take away the things you’ve accomplished and they are real!! You need to own them and do affirmations about them so you will project true confidence when you meet with people on interviews or for new connections. Your academic credentials, professionals accomplishments, skills, these are vital to record and remind yourself about. There are many people walking around with these confidence cards in their pockets and purses. They are invaluable to job seekers!!                                                                 Tom, new doors will open. Get some space and time from the layoff. Then, really assess your financial situation and if it’s looking bad, then get a part-time job asap and or apply for unemployment. Yes, take care of the financial side of things. Then, work hard to appreciate your capabilities. Reach out to me if you’d like a set of Confidence Cards. Understand and practice articulating your strengths and capabilities. Then the job hunt begins!! You can do it!!                                                                                           

    Onward in Your career resilience and success,  Coach Joan