What To Do When You’re Laid Off: Tips For Generation X, Millennials, and Gen Z

female employee leaving the office- laid off

Job loss is no easy thing, especially when a person has been laid off by an employer. This type of job loss is almost always unexpected, leaving newly let-go employees reeling.

If you’ve been laid off recently, you’re not alone. Mass layoff situations have been sweeping the United States in different industries, pushing thousands of laid-off employees back into job hunting.

Getting laid is a life-changing event, and it might take a minute for you to feel before  you are able to regroup and figure out what your next steps are.

Those who have just experienced a layoff and are looking for a new job are in luck because I have a ton of helpful tips to help you as you get back on your feet and into the job search!

In this guide, we’re going to take a look at what to do when you’re laid off, broken down by different generational groups. We’ll explore how unemployment tends to affect these groups and the strategies that work for them respectively. Let’s dive in!

What Does It Mean To Be Laid Off?

employee getting termination letter

First, let’s define what a layoff is.

A layoff refers to the involuntary termination of an employee where there was no fault on the employee’s end.

In cases when a group of employees is being laid off,  the employees are not being let go from their jobs because they were performing poorly. In most cases, layoffs are a cost-saving measure from an employer.

They could be cutting down staff because of a financial struggle, or it could be the result of a company merger, overstaffing issues, branch closures, etc. that cause staffing changes.

As a layoff is an involuntary termination, most layoff employees will be entitled to some form of a severance package. A severance package consists of benefit and compensation perks provided to an employee even after they are terminated.

In these cases, laid-off employees can expect to receive some form of severance pay and access to health insurance for a certain period of time following their severance, depending on their specific severance agreement.

The Impact of Layoffs on Different Generations

Layoffs are not exclusive to different generational groups, but layoffs do tend to impact these groups differently. The workforce today is rapidly evolving, with Millennials now making the bulk of the labor force, inching out Generation X. And Gen Z is fast approaching.

These generational groups have distinctly different defining characteristics, which we’re going to explore below. The same tips that might speak to a Gen X employee might not resonate with a Gen Z one.

Read on below to learn more about what makes these groups tick, and the tips I have to help them navigate the change of being newly laid off.

Handling Being Laid Off: Generation X

business owners hifive

Sitting in between the Baby Boomers and Millennials, Generation X is a generation defined by the dawn of tech and a focus on finances.

Generation X Overview

Generation X refers to those born between 1965-1980. These days, much of this generational group is approaching the middle of life, and is well established in their working careers.

This is a group that was among the first to grow up with early computer technology, with a childhood defined by the rise of MTV, free market economics, and the end of the cold war. Having spent their careers in a more stable period of history, Gen X tends to be more fiscally responsible with fewer job changes throughout their careers.

Tips for Generation X

We recommend the following next steps for Generation X employees looking to secure their next job interview:

Take Financial Control

The first step for any person who has been laid off, particularly Generation X, is to ensure your finances are under control.

Review your budget, and if you don’t have one, make one. Review your severance package to budget your final paycheck. See if there are ways to cut expenses while job hunting so you don’t have to touch your savings account. And, if possible, try to find new sources of income to supplement things during the job hunt.

Start Networking

The next thing Generation X should focus on is networking. Most employees within this generation group are in the middle of their careers, usually in middle to upper management roles.

If you have been laid off, try to leverage the connections made throughout your career to find your next role. See if you have contacts who can put you in touch with a hiring manager while job hunting. See if any of your LinkedIn connections are related to a prospective employer.

Having a connection can make a huge difference as a job seeker, giving you a way better chance at getting in the door. This is why leveraging network connections is one of the essential elements of a successful job hunt.

Invest In Yourself

Finally, if you have a little bit of extra money in your savings account, it could be a good idea to use unemployment time to work on your professional development.

If you’ve been laid off, you can leverage the time to continue your education. Consider looking into courses or certificates for a new skill to make your next job application even more impressive.

Plus, having some new upskilling like this on a resume is a great way to explain an employment gap to potential employers.

Handling Being Laid Off: Millennials

happy employees at work

Currently the largest group in the workforce today, Millennials are a generational group comfortable with digital landscapes, and hungry for work-life balance.

Millennials Overview

The Millennial generational group is composed of those born between 1981-2000. Many Millennials are in the early stages of their careers, spanning beginner roles to middle management positions.

This is a generational group who grew up right alongside technology, with most not knowing a life without it.  They are also a generational group that has grown up through two different recessions, giving them a different outlook on the idea of long-term careers.

Unlike older generations, Millennials are much more likely to switch jobs in search of the right fit and massively prioritize work-life balance.

Tips for Millenials

For the Millenials that have recently been laid off, I recommend a healthy dose of self-care to help them regroup and get back on track. Try to do the following:

Find Your Purpose

Going through a layoff can be an amazing opportunity to reassess your goals and realign your life to fit your values. If you’ve recently been laid off, it could be a great chance to reassess, decide if your career aligns with your true purpose, and pivot if you find it doesn’t fit.

While looking for your next opportunity, try to spend some time reflecting on your purpose. What are your values? Your passions? What new career path might you want to explore?

Figuring out what you truly want is essential to the job-hunting process. Once you know what you actually want, it becomes a lot easier to find a job that truly fits you.

Embrace Big Changes

Another essential element of the job hunting process is surrendering yourself to the big changes it will bring. As I’ve touched on above, going through a layoff can be a lot! It is a huge life change and can do a lot to affect a person’s confidence and self-esteem.

If you’re going to be able to navigate a layoff to find what’s next, it’s essential to embrace change and be adaptable. Do your best to not get too overwhelmed by the “what Ifs” and other questions as you figure out where to go next.

See this as an opportunity for a positive change, not a failure. This attitude change will help as you go through the job-hunting process.

Reach Out and Connect

Finally, it’s a great idea to reach out to the people in your life who can be your support system during this time.

It can be hard to navigate a layoff alone and to seek a job with no connections. As you look for your next role, reach out to friends and family you know and let them know about your situation. They may be able to help, putting you out into their networks to help you find a role.

You can also consider finding career support groups of some kind. See if your old educational institution has career support you can access. You could also seek the professional help of a career coach or life coach like myself, to help you build the skills you need to reach your next professional goals.

Handling Being Laid Off: Gen Z

employees smiling and spending time during break

Gen Z is a generational group that’s growing up fast and taking the working world by storm.

Gen Z Overview

Those born between 2001 and 2020 make up Generation Z, making them the youngest generational group in the workforce today. While many Gen Z kids are still in school, the older half of this generation are slowly entering the workforce, just starting their careers.

Like Millennials, Gen Z is a generation that has seen many recessions, shaping the ways they see money. Fully immersed in the digital landscape, Gen Z is defined by strong ties to technology and social media, a focus on individuality and justice, and a need for work-life balance.

Tips for Gen Z

Those from Gen Z who have gone through a layoff should keep the following tips in mind as they figure out what’s next:

Leverage Technology

If Gen Z has one thing going for them, it’s their use of technology. No other generational group in history has grown up so immersed in it. Gen Z has a distinct leg up in this regard, able to use digital tools in a way other groups can’t to seek new opportunities.

I highly encourage Gen Z job seekers to use online resources during their job hunt. Apply for jobs online using different job-seeking tools. Use social media to network, create a portfolio for yourself, to enter new job networks. You may be surprised by the opportunities you uncover when you get creative with job hunting online.

Be Proactive

My next tip for Gen Z is to remind them to be proactive! A bit of advice that is useful for anyone at the beginning of their career who is trying to figure out where to start.

If you want to get the job, you have to take initiative to get it. Do everything in your power to seek out new opportunities, stay motivated, and leave yourself open to new possibilities.

Make sure you are committed to networking and sending out job applications. Look for ways to volunteer for resume experience. Consider earning certificates or other kinds of education to expand your skills. Using your time in a productive way can help to make you an even more appealing job candidate.

Build Resiliency

Finally, I want to remind Gen Z to be resilient. Going through a layoff is hard, especially in your early career. I understand what a knock it can be to a person’s self-esteem, and job hunting can make anyone feel down.

I want to encourage Gen Z job seekers to develop a strong growth mindset. Remember that there’s always time to work on yourself, improving your skills and yourself. Learn from past experiences, looking to them to help you avoid mistakes and go for what you truly want.

I also want to strongly encourage practicing self-care during the job-hunting process. There’s no use burning yourself out or being negative towards yourself. Be kind and patient, and know that good things take time.

Getting Help From a Life Coach

If you’re experiencing a layoff, a life coach can be an amazing resource to help you get back on track.

Big life changes like this can be tough to navigate, leaving many people paralyzed with indecision. As a life coach, I am fully prepared to help you stay motivated, encouraging you to keep moving forward. I can help you implement some of the tips above into your own life, as well as other strategies, to help you achieve whatever your goals are.

Want to learn more? Click here to book an introductory session today!

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