Getting over layoff depression

You have to get over the depression from being laid off and find your next gig

You’ve been laid off, you’re depressed, and you’re looking at the job sites. But nothing looks good, so you’re even more depressed. There are ways to help you get over it.

I have a good friend who became very depressed after getting laid off from a very long-term gig. He received a severance that certainly helps, but he waited until it was gone before he started looking for a job. Three months passed before he even started looking, and he’ll likely lose things if an offer doesn’t come through quickly. He definitely let his depression run his future; while that’s easy to do, you have to overcome.

[ Cut straight to the key news for technology development and IT management with our once-a-day summary of the top tech news. Subscribe to the InfoWorld Daily newsletter. ]

Firstly, you have to realize this is a temporary setback. You’ve been out of work before and you’ll be out of work again. And you always find a good gig. So don’t worry about it. Sure, you may have some things taken away, but what better way to simplify your life? And again, it’s a minor setback. Once you get a new gig, you’ll be able to replace (or not) the stuff you lost, so that’s no problem.

One of the biggest things I see is people thinking that this is it. They take this one incident and let it rule them and map their worth. There are ups and downs in everything, so keep your eyes on the big picture and you’ll be much better off.

Second, keep busy. There’s no better time to improve your skills than when you’re out of work. I blogged about this the other day, and it holds true. I can’t tell you enough that studying on a schedule and improving your skills are the best ways to ensure getting that next gig. But they also help you with that post-layoff confidence problem. If you sit at home and do nothing, your mind wonders and you reinforce that they made the right decision to let you go. But if you’re studying and improving yourself, you can overcome those thoughts and regain your confidence. And if you don’t have any confidence, you’re almost assured to not get that next gig.

I’ve definitely fallen prey to negative thinking before. I’ve sabotaged my own job hunting efforts by not doing anything -- I’m telling you, it’s the wrong way to go. If you go to user group meetings now, keep going to them. If you don’t, then start. Start interacting with your peers again and you can make connections and get the inside info on new gigs. But more importantly you’ll be able to talk to others about your last gig and about being laid off.  Trust me -- there aren’t many IT people who haven’t lost a job for one reason or another, so everybody understands what you’re going through.

I’m not out of work right now. In fact, I’ve got a pretty good gig, but I remember what it’s like to be out of work for several months and what that can do to you and your family. I’m writing these posts in the hope that someone will find them useful.

This is a recession and there are a lot of us out of work. Hang in there; we’ll get through this. And remember, you’ve always found another job in the past, and you will this time. Just remember to set yourself up for success.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.