Now, before you spiral into self-deprecation and start to doubt your years of seemingly meaningless education and equally seemingly meaningless effort to your work, it's natural to be laid off in this economy. Contrary to what you might think, ineptitude to work and bad performance aren't the only reasons people are laid off. If your boss said you are simply being let go, then you are let go. There may be other external factors at play here, and you simply cannot control those.
Regardless of the reasons, it can be the single most stressful phase in your life. You are likely feeling angry, followed by sheer confusion and self-doubt. Here is what you should and should not do in these trying times:
1. The shock might settle in you as a numbness of sort, unfeeling and de-motivated to do anything. Do not start sleeping late and waste time endlessly watching those TV reruns, or playing PUBG with strangers all night. Do not avoid people and go into hibernation. Seek the help and comfort of friends and family, or a therapist; channel that sadness into a drive to get into it once more.
2. Attend seminars, professional meetings, or skill-building courses in your free time. Get back into job hunting armed with new skills. Attend career workshops, study and respond to job listings, review career advice websites, maintain a wide network of contacts and use a variety of other resources to focus their job searches.
3. When you're unemployed, you have a chance to explore long forgotten hobbies and passion. Discover yourself again and find out you who you were, if you are not content with yourself. Did you identify yourself as an artist? A singer? A writer? Where do you want to see yourself in the future?
4. Rediscover your values and goals. Many people fall into the corporate allure and get into any job available. They find themselves in draining 9 to 5 jobs that leave them exhausted and dejected. This gives you the chance to correct a bad job choice. Not everyone is as lucky, though.
5. The fight response is sadly natural when your boss lays it down for you. You feel your hackles rising and if you aren't calm, it may not bode well in the aftermath. Reacting badly means a bad reference, and depending on your resume, you can expect harder job searches. Leave with grace and dignity by accepting your fate. Chances are, they will be willing to compensate you and give you a good recommendation, if you are being laid off as a result of mass downsizing or mergers.
6. Later when you're attending interviews, make sure you have your facts straight: when asked why you left your last job, your answer should be close to the truth, brief and as neutral as possible.
Shabiba is a senior at BRAC University. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org