The 5 Stages of Being Laid Off: When things couldn't get any worse, but they did, and here we are…

Sneha Christall
6 min readOct 7, 2022

Late August this year, I had a rude awakening. What was expected to be a routine company-wide standup, turned out to be a two-minute Zoom call declaring a mass layoff — the urban nightmare that we’ve all read of on LinkedIn, but never expect to happen to us. This blog will take you through the 5 stages of being laid off, albeit with the attempt to be humorous, because isn’t that the best known defense response to pain?

Stage 1- Denial

You spend the first week finding reasons to diss your job. “It was just business at the end of the day, why take things personally?”, “You already knew this wasn’t your dream job”, “You even saw this coming, so why are you shocked now?”…

You and ice cream develop a special bond, you lose yourself in its icy grip and this is the hill you will die on.

Retrospective tip:

Layoffs are not personal. They are usually done when a company, whose main goal was to create revenue, hasn’t been doing so well, so they switch their goal to cutting immediate costs. If you receive 2–3 months’ severance pay, consider yourself lucky.

When searching for jobs, look for companies that are solving a crucial gap in the market, have well-recognized customers, and work on a business model that is viable for the current economic conditions.

For example, choosing to be part of a hiring services company may be a bad idea during the Recession, no matter how well they may have marketed themselves, how lucrative the offer may seem, or how well-funded they are.

Stage 2- The Spiral of Emotions

You have set out once again, to traverse through the miry, forsaken lanes of ‘job search’. You reach out to all your contacts (the ones you wish a Merry Christmas or Happy New Year, once a year), you spruce up your resume using your free Canva account, apply smart filters on LinkedIn Jobs, tell your (layoff affected) colleagues to do the same, and then you wait.

You receive a few calls — some try to bargain their way into an offer far less than your ego allows you to accept, owing to you being ‘laid off’, and therefore, more desperate for a job than the average Joe. Some calls turn into interviews, then assessments, a few more days of waiting…

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Sneha Christall

Wanderer, memory collector. Writer for A Little Bit Better, Be Yourself, Change Becomes You, Hello, Love, Mindfully Speaking and On the Couch.