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The First Three Things You Do

A friend of mine who I have known for years, having worked together at the same company a long time ago, posted this update earlier today:

"Just got laid off. I know it's a lousy way to start a new year. But not to worry. I have been through this drill before. I will be okay. I've already polished my resume and am busy contacting friends and associates."

I know he will be okay. He is a seasoned veteran of downsizings. He knows what to do.

But how about the next person? How about you? If you were suddenly laid off, would you know what to do?

The fact of the matter is that most people are totally unprepared for job loss. Why should they be? It's not something they teach in school.

And there is a lot to master quickly to be able to find another job. As Jeff Altman often says, The skills you used when you were working are not the skills you need to find your next job.

So what do you do? There is a long list of things. So in this posting, I want to highlight The First Three Things you must do before anything else.

Check Yourself - Are you OK? Someone once described a sudden downsizing as being like a "drive by shooting." You want to check yourself for bullet holes. Check your vital signs. Seriously. You may want to visit with a trusted advisor and talk out what occurred. Job loss can be stressful so you may want to see your doctor. Job loss can be traumatic. Keep an eye on yourself during the days and weeks ahead to make sure you are not suffering from any post-traumatic symptoms.

Check Others - You'll want to share this news with the others closest to you in your life. Your spouse for instance, or a significant other. Your children perhaps. Don't be surprised if they have a strong reaction to the news. They may get even more upset than you. Everyone agrees that change is hard. When it happens to you, the people that care about you may go on the warpath. Or they go into a depression. You may want to seek out a professional to help coach you though this passage if others take the news hard.

Check Your Situation - When you are ready, sit down with a pad of paper (or your laptop) and do an assessment of where things stand and the impact this job loss is going to have. Especially upon your finances. Will you be okay financially? How long will you be able to hold out if the next job doesn't materialize quickly? Will you need to cut expenses? Will you need the cooperation of others to make these adjustments?

Beyond these three things, what else is there to do? A lot.

In my prior posts for the past few years, I have been highlighting many of these new skills. So in the next few posts, I will bring back some prior posts to reinforce these essential skills for brand new job hunters.

Posted on Terrence Seamon Thursday January 16, 2014

Terrence H. Seamon is a consultant who provides leadership and team development services to organizations. His book Lead the Way explores the challenges of leadership. Additionally, Terry is a job search and career coach whose book To Your Success provides a motivational guide for anyone in transition. His third book, Change for the Better, provides leaders with a guide to initiating, and navigating through, organizational change. Terry co-founded and co-moderates the St. Matthias Employment Ministry in Somerset, NJ. His free whitepaper on job search and transition, called "Galvanize Into Action," is available by sending him an email request. He can be reached at and via his website:

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