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Surviving a layoff later in your career


Surviving a layoff later in your career 

I. Introduction 

Getting laid off sucks! There’s no other way to say it. I find myself in this situation again. This is the third time for me, but this one is a little different. I’m 56, at a more senior level and have a lot more at stake than when I was in my 30s or early 40s.  This article covers some things I’ve found helpful surviving a late career layoff.


  • Coping strategies to get your stuff together
  • Focus in our emotional well-being and create some structure
  • Consider some different approaches to finding new opportunities
  • Wrap up conclusion and some resources and tools I’ve found helpful

Losing your job is never easy, but it can be particularly challenging for those in their 50s and beyond. For many people in this age group, there may be concerns about running out of time to recover financially or doubts about finding a new job. Right now, I’m my own worst enemy, but in this article, I will share some practical strategies for coping with job loss, as well as tips for maintaining emotional well-being and finding new opportunities.  

Also – I’d love to hear what’s working for you. Or, if you need someone to chat with shoot me an email at, but be warned, I’m not a career coach or therapist or anything of the sort – I’m just a regular guy trying to work through his own stuff and if I can be astounding board or help out, I’m glad to do so.  

II. Coping Strategies 

After being laid off, it’s important to take practical steps to regain control of your situation. Some steps you can take include: 

Applying for unemployment benefits and any other available resources to help cover expenses.

Applying for unemployment benefits was hard for me – from a pride perspective. Jumping through all the bureaucratic hoops for just a fraction of my income is irksome! But still, it’s a little something coming in and the department has been great to work with.   

Updating your resume and LinkedIn profile to reflect your skills and experience. 

I keep what I call my long form resume updated about every 6 mos. This is a 9-page Google doc that I regularly amend with current activities at my current position. This is not something I would ever submit, but it’s my historical reference of the past 20 years of projects, tools, skills and learning/courses.  With this document, I can pull out any project types or tools I may have forgotten about that may be relevant to a current position I’m applying for. 

LinkedIn: First, if you’re not a LI Premium member, or you haven’t used your free 30-day LI Premium trial, I recommend starting the trial once you have your artifacts (resumes and cover letter templates) and information LinkedIn history and skills) in place. LinkedIn allows you to add up to 50 skills to your profile, and those skills help LI match you to prospective jobs. Use them all. 

Reaching out to friends and family for support. Consider seeing a therapist or career counselor who can offer guidance and support during this challenging time.  

I find this to be a double-edged sword for me. My family is supportive, but many don’t know what I actually do. Having recently worked at a Fintech startup in the Crypto space makes it even a little more challenging to articulate. But you still should put it out there to family, friends, social media, or any other circles you may have.  

Planning your days and setting achievable goals to stay motivated. 

Since I was already in a work-from-home position, I transitioned my daily routine to still be about 8 hours in the office, but now I’m working on finding work. I need this type of structure. Once I’m in my office I keep my schedule fairly loose.  I spent a couple of weeks what a pretty full calendar of time blocks for searching, applying, learning, creating, lunch gym, etc. This was way too rigid for me.  
Now I find if I set a few simple goals in the morning that works best for me. Things like, apply for x number of positions, find, research and bookmark x number of positions, or make x new connections.  

III. Emotional Well-Being 

Job loss can take a toll on one’s self-esteem and sense of purpose. It’s important to take care of your emotional well-being during this time. Some ways to do so include: 

Taking care of your physical health by exercising, eating well, and getting enough sleep. 

I’ve learned that for my body, cardio, particularly running, burns off anxiety induced stress. Weight training helps me manage frustrations and accumulated junk from the day. Now that I have the time, I prefer to run in the AM before I start my ‘workday’ and lift in the evening after I’m finished. 

Finding ways to boost your self-esteem, such as volunteering or pursuing hobbies or activities that bring you joy. 

Find something to do. I need it for those days when I’m feeling a little crushed and can’t bring myself to write another cover letter or tweak my resume one more time. I go paint. I started painting last summer, studying and learning abstract art with acrylics and I also keep a small sketchbook on my desk to quickly play with watercolors.  Once it gets nicer out, and the never-ending winter comes to an end here in Minnesota, I’ll go out for some quick bike rides.  
Figure out what you can do that might give you a boost and provide a quick break when you need it.  

Practicing self-compassion and avoiding negative self-talk. 

I’m working on this, and I suck at it. (Is that negative self-talk or harsh reality?) The best advice I’ve recently heard on self-talk was to ‘Talk to yourself like you are talking to a really good friend. Someone you want to encourage and see succeed.’ That has been a game changer for me. Most people are so kind to friends and strangers and so hard on themselves. Try treating yourself like a friend in need, see what that does for you.

Acknowledging your feelings and allowing yourself to grieve the loss of your job. 

Acknowledge what you’re feeling. Maybe you’re relieved to be out of that particular job, or mad as hell or frightened. Whatever you feel just acknowledge it.  
So, you’ve acknowledged it, but then what? For me, I just open a new doc and spew whatever comes to mind. I might start with something like – I’m mad about what happened and so frustrated with the job search and being in this position. I feel or I think …. And then just let flow. Write a paragraph or a page, or a blog post. 

Embrace change: View this as an opportunity to learn and grow and stay positive. 

I’m still not sure if embrace is the right word. Perhaps accept or acknowledge? No matter how you frame it, your life, my life, has changed and is changing. The job search, the talent pool, the process, it’s all changed since the last time I’ve been in the mix and I’m learning to navigate all this change.  

IV. Finding New Opportunities 

While finding a new job may seem daunting, there are many ways to approach the job search process. Here are some pretty basic tips: 

Leverage your network by reaching out to former colleagues, friends, and family members who may know of job openings or be able to provide a referral.

That probably could have gone without being said, but it would be a pretty poor article surviving a layoff that doesn’t mention leveraging your network.  

Consider part-time or freelance work as a way to gain new skills and experience while continuing to earn an income

There are a multitude of gigs, freelance and volunteer opportunities. I’ll share some links I’m aware of in the resources section below.  

Pursue opportunities that align with your values and interests, rather than just focusing on salary or status.

I like to think I can have both alignment of purpose and salary. I’m being a little more particular at this point in my life. I’ve accepted positions in the past where I thought, hmmm, sure, why not? Doesn’t sound too bad. No more. If I’m not actually excited about the company or the role, then it’s a hard pass.   

Learn new skills: Consider taking courses or certifications to develop new skills that will make you more marketable.

Certs are good. Coursework is good and widely available through LinkedIn learning, Udemy, Coursera and Google.  

V. Conclusion 

Losing a job through a late career layoff can be a difficult and challenging experience, but it’s important to remember that it’s not the end of the road. By taking practical steps to cope with job loss, prioritizing your emotional well-being, and exploring new opportunities, you can come out on the other side of this experience stronger and more resilient than before.  Remember that a layoff can be an opportunity for growth and new beginnings. Stay positive, seek support, and keep moving forward one step at a time. Good luck! 

VI. Resources 

These are not affiliate links, just some resources I’ve found useful.


Huberman Lab
Dr. Elissa Epel: Control Stress for Healthy Eating, Metabolism & Aging   
Dr. Emily Balcetis: Tools for Setting & Achieving Goals 

Tim Ferris:
Ted Talk on Why you should define your fears instead of your goals 


Check out and perhaps follow these people on LinkedIn 
Adam Broda    Talks about #careertips, #jobsintech, #interviewtips, and #jobsearchstrategies 
Ben Meer   Talks about #focus, #systems, #productivity, and #personalgrowth 

Want to try Freelancing?  (Flexjobs also has Non-Profit and Philanthropy job listings 

Looking for some lesser-known career boards? 

Wellfound - Apply privately to thousands of tech companies & startups with one profile. A list of tech companies that are still hiring despite all the news of tech layoffs - A site for remote jobs - The online community for startups and tech companies. Find startup jobs, tech news and events. 


TealHQ A solid job search tracking tool. I like the free version. It lets me know at glance which applications are in which states – bookmarked, applied, interviewing etc. 
Notion is one of my favorite tools for personal productivity. It can be as simple or as powerful as you need.  Search on personal productivity or personal planning or job hunt. It’s free for personal use.  If you’re unsure how to use it here are YouTube results for Notion Productivity search. 

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