Written by
Matt Frentheway

Transform a Layoff into a Launchpad for Success

If you get laid off, you're not alone. Every year, 200,000 people get laid off in the tech sector.

Despite the immediate hurdles, a layoff can be a turning point.

In this article, I'll share ideas to turn your adversity into an opportunity.

Acknowledge Your Emotions

It's natural to reel from the shock of a layoff, especially if you've felt secure in your position or blindsided by the news.

Seasoned executives often didn't realize they were expendable. Lower ranking professionals may not have realized that optimizing a company's profits would require layoffs.

Either way, it's common to feel surprised and frustrated. If your job is a big part of your identity, the punch hits harder.

Name Your Emotions

Naming your emotions helps you contain and mange them. It lets you take a step back, so you can make the best choices.

Engage in calming activities: You can journal, record voice notes, doodle, garden... anything that lets you calm your mind and reflect.

Ask Yourself Questions

As you reflect, ask yourself questions. These will help you decide how you feel about the layoff. They will also help you determine how you want your story to unfold from here.

  • What am I feeling? Why am I feeling this way?
  • How do I feel about my former boss, organization, and colleagues?
  • What is the story I’m telling myself about the layoff?
  • What part of this story is no longer serving me? What do I need to let go?
  • What do I want for myself next? What role, career, or business do I see myself in?
  • What excites me, and what doesn’t?
  • What actions or resources do I need to make this happen?

Ultimately, you need to accept what has happened, but don't let it define you.

Lean on Your Support Network

Reach out to friends, family, and mentors. They can offer emotional support, practical advice, and even job leads.

You're not alone, and your real friends will rally to help you.

Call, Text, Email, or Meet with People

Whatever works best for you and your network. But don't underestimate the value of meeting people in-person.

Share Your Situation Directly

Specify the help you need, whether a listening ear or career advice. This approach will invite genuine support, and guide people on how to help you.

Look for Your Next Opportunity

Mentors and colleagues can offer advice on next steps. Some people in your network may also know about new job opportunities. Don't hesitate to ask for a simple intro email to a decision-maker at the companies they mention.

This is also a good opportunity to edit the people you spend your time with.

Some people may surprise you. Often, you'll find someone extremely helpful in your network who you might never have guessed would do so much for you.

Remember, reaching out is a strength, not a weakness.

Diversify Your Identity Beyond Work

You are more than your job title. Cultivating interests and relationships outside of work enriches your life and provides a safety net against inevitable ups and downs in your career.

Explore New Interests

Try creative pursuits like writing, cooking, or podcasting. These activities offer a sense of accomplishment outside the conventional metrics of professional success. They allow you to express yourself, learn new skills, and possibly discover new passions.

Your job should not be the sole outlet for your talents and energies. Broadening your horizons can make you more adaptable and resilient.

Invest in Relationships

Strengthen connections with family, friends, and your community.

These relationships provide emotional support and can remind you of your worth beyond work.

Volunteering is a powerful way to contribute and find fulfillment outside of your career. It can also provide a sense of purpose and belonging that your job may not.

Redefine Success

Challenge the traditional narratives of success.

You shouldn't just measure your self worth by your job title or salary.

Ask yourself: What truly brings you joy and satisfaction?

  • quality time spent with your loved ones
  • learning something new
  • spending time in nature
  • staying in shape
  • creating or building
  • helping others
  • nurturing friendships
  • vacations

Think about what matters to you beyond your career.

  • What activities make you lose track of time?
  • Who are the people that make you feel loved and valued for who you are, not what you do?

Success can be many things.

Create a Balanced Self-Image

You diversify your financial portfolio to manage risk against failures.

In the same way, you should diversify other aspects of your life.

A life filled with may interests and dimensions protects you from professional setbacks.

When one thing drops (even your income), you still feel whole, valuable, and stable. When you have a multi-faceted life, it's much easier to see how you can "plug the gap" with a new income.

Your self esteem is vital. So, manage it the same way you manage other important things in your life.

Right now, there's a whole movement of people rethinking work's relationship to our identity and imagining a work-free life.

For me, I love work because I enjoy creating value for others. I also enjoy the financial rewards that work brings, which support my other interests. However, work is a part of my life; it's not my whole life.

This shift in perspective will ensure that you are always more than your job.

Focus Forward

Now it's time to move forward.

Let Go of Resentment

Someone hired you because it helped their business, someone let you go because it helped their business.

It's business.

You need to choose your next career step on your own terms. You're free of the constraints of your previous job. So, where do you want to go?

Assess Your Career

Many people rush back into employment every time an opportunity ends.

It's worth pausing to assess your true desires and career aspirations.

  • Do you love your career?
  • Do you feel stable in it? (If you pick a similar opportunity to do next, how long do you think it will last, given the pace of outsourcing, automation, and AI?)
  • Do the companies you're looking at align your personal values?
  • Does another job in the same career utilize your talents?

If the answer is "yes" to each of these questions, then a new job in the same career is probably right for you.

Many people can't answer "yes" to all these questions. If that's the case for you, then you should consider the other opportunities available to you. More on this soon.

Imagine Your Ideal Future

Life is short, and retirement is even shorter. You deserve a career you're excited about.

You're only going to find a path you love if you take the time to envision what future you'd like.

Choose Your Priorities

Start by asking: What is your ideal professional life?

Think about what matters most to you:

  • enjoyable daily tasks
  • financial growth
  • values alignment
  • the opportunity to use your talents
  • work-life balance
  • autonomy

Visualize a Day

Visualize a day in your ideal professional life.

  • What are you doing?
  • Who are you working with?
  • What impact are you making?

Sketching out these details provides a tangible foundation for your next steps.

If you have a partner, involve them in your thought process and plans. They can provide a valuable perspective. Plus, since good career choices require longterm commitment, you'll need them to support you with the direction you choose.

Your outline of your future will become the foundation of your next chapter.

Look for Your Next Opportunity

Today many qualified people are having a hard time finding a new role that aligns with their experience and expectations.

I'm not the best person to give advice here. I spent three months working for someone else before it became apparent I was not meant to be an employee. I never worked another day job in my life.

However, I searched Reddit to bring you some insights from other job seekers in 2023/2024.

Consider Positions with a Lower Salary

One person was out of work for 5 months. They applied 400 jobs and ultimately accepted an offer with a 25% salary decrease. Your bills aren't going to pay themselves. So consider accepting a position that will relieve the financial strain of unemployment.

Accept a Temporary Role

One 34-year-old CS major with ten years of programming and management experience took a job at a post office making half of his previous salary until something better comes along.

You can deliver food, drive Uber, or work at a cafe or sandwich shop with little experience. Money is money.

If you apply for a job well below your skill level, many people downplay or omit less relevant positions to avoid appearing overqualified.

Take Coffee Meetings

Of course, they can be virtual coffees. The point is, people can open doors that online applications cannot.

Ask people in your network if they'd be open to meeting for a coffee. Then share your situation and what you're looking for.

Many people will provide advice and ideas for who you can work with next. Many will provide email introductions or LinkedIn introductions to put you in touch with relevant people in their network.

Use Placement Agencies

Many people are finding jobs through placement agencies. Agencies offer resume feedback and job hunting tips, and they have access to openings that aren't advertised elsewhere.

Continue to Upskill

Take courses, volunteer, and pursue hobbies.

It's important to stay mentally active and maintain a good mindset. One person shared his experience turning down an offer because he had lost confidence in himself. You don't want to find yourself in that position.

Even if you just put a few hours a day towards learning a new skill, this approach will help you find new opportunities.

Apply Continuously

Even if you keep getting rejected, you need to apply to enough jobs to have a reasonable chance of success.

It's often said that job searches are a numbers game. One user commented, "Applied for 200 jobs the next week. Ten call backs. 2 offers." In competitive industries, that may be the approach you need to succeed.

One user shared:

"I work for a state agency, I work with both clients and employers, and most of my clients who want upper level jobs are taking 6 months to a year to get them. Unfortunately it's not you it's the employers. They are undecided and afraid to take action on anything."

Be flexible.

Be persistent.

Believe in yourself.

Explore Alternative Paths

If you don't see job opportunities that meet your goals, then consider your other options.

Some of us are born employees, and others are not.

Now that you've looked at the opportunities available to you in the job market, you may decide that it makes sense to explore alternative paths.

Consider Freelance

For creative types, one possible route is to go freelance. You can be a consultant or independent professional with a group of clients.

If you go this route, you'll need to find your first clients by pitching them with an offer. To grow, ask for referrals and testimonials. Then build up your Google reviews, your LinkedIn, and your website.

Consider Owning a Local Business

If you have some cash, another option is to start a local business. Many people think of restaurants, although I don't recommend owning a restaurant for many reasons.

There are many types of businesses you can own that provide more reliable cash flow. Think about:

  • beauty and spa
  • child enrichment
  • fitness
  • home services
  • business services
  • real estate

I help people find a business that matches their investment, lifestyle, and financial goals. So, if this is of interest to you, schedule a free 15-minute virtual coffee with me. I'd love to see if I can help you.

Free Yourself of Constraints

Pursuing a dream often requires you to free yourself of constraints. You need to be willing to do something "hard" that many others are not willing to do.

  • Are you afraid of learning something new? If so, are you willing to take an online course, go to a bootcamp, or otherwise get the knowledge you need?
  • Are you afraid of a loss of income? If so, are you willing to downsize your living expenses for a year until you can get a foothold in your new role or business?

Think about your situation. What is holding you back from pursuing your dream? How can you let go of that constraint?

Do the Work

Looking for an opportunity is itself a job. To be successful in any job, you need to set goals, and you need someone to hold you accountable for doing the work that leads to you achieving those goals.

Set Smart Goals

I recommend setting SMART goals. As you probably know, SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.

SMART goals will clarify your objectives and break them into manageable steps.

Here are some ideas for SMART goals you might set for yourself:

  • Revise your resume: “I will tailor my resume to highlight relevant experience for each job I apply to by next week.”
  • Identify key industry contacts: “I will reach out to three new industry contacts each day to expand my professional network.”
  • Be consistent in your job search: “I will apply to at least three jobs each week that match my skills and career goals.”
  • Prepare for interviews: “For each interview, I will research the company extensively and practice my responses to common questions.”

Hold Yourself Accountable

You can ask someone to hold you accountable, like a spouse, a friend, or a colleague who was also laid off.

You can also manage yourself if that really works for you.

Many people overestimate themselves here. Don't make that mistake. If you're not fantastic at holding yourself accountable, get an accountability partner.

Celebrate Your Wins

One nice thing about SMART goals is that they give you a definite idea of when you've achieved something. Anytime you fulfill a specific goal you set for yourself, take an afternoon or evening to celebrate!

Recognizing your progress is a powerful motivator.


A new job or role is an opportunity to align your professional life with your passions and goals.

I hope you find a new opportunity that brings you joy, satisfaction, and fulfillment.

Before wrapping, I want to share a message specifically for people who have not lost their job (yet).

Loyalty in Corporate America Is a Myth

In a corporate job, you give your all, but it's not enough. You might relocate, work tirelessly, and still get laid off.

Ultimately, jobs are transient. A job serves you until it doesn't.

Here’s what I recommend: Use your job as a tool to gain skills, experience, and financial stability.

Live below your means. Pay off your student debt. But don’t spend everything you make.

You need to remember that there are real threats around the corner. Outsourcing, automation, AI, you name it.

So, while you have your successful job, save up some of your money, or as much as you can, so that you can start a business when you need one.

You never know when you’re going to need to leave corporate America, or when you’ll choose to.

I know it’s easy to feel that your corporation has a big future, and you have a big future in it. A lot of corporations work to make you feel that way.

But every day, people find out that the corporation they worked so hard for, isn’t willing to work hard for them in return.

You need to be aware of that. And you need to be loyal to your future, not to a corporation’s future.

The business you can count on is the one that works for you. And that’s why I recommend business ownership, if you want real job security.

Grab 15 minutes on my calendar, and let's see if there are any opportunities in your area that stand out to you.

Matt Frentheway

As a successful franchisee and entrepreneur, I can help you find the best opportunity to realize your dream of being a profitable franchise owner. Using my proven process as a franchise consultant, we’ll define your goals, narrow the field, and select the best franchisor for you to achieve financial freedom.