I'm the former Microsoft VP of HR. Here's what I would do in the first 48 hours of being laid off from a job.


As a seasoned professional who has experienced the challenges of layoffs from various perspectives, including as an executive and HR VP at Microsoft, I know all too well the impact of layoffs on individuals and organizations. My years of experience have led me to advise executives and individuals on navigating the complexities of layoffs. In fact, I've compiled a guide to help those affected by layoffs cope with the situation and make informed decisions.

The first piece of advice I offer is to take a moment to breathe and not rush into any decisions. When handed the paperwork related to your layoff, take it home and carefully read through every word. It's crucial to fully understand the terms before signing anything.

Furthermore, it's essential to consider if you have any leverage in the situation, such as being in a protected class or having specialized knowledge that the company relies on. In some cases, this may allow you to negotiate for a better severance package or extended benefits.

If you find yourself in a protected class or have specific circumstances, seeking legal advice or having a lawyer review the paperwork might be a beneficial step. However, it's advisable to work with a lawyer who operates on a contingency basis to avoid upfront fees.

Once you've navigated the immediate aftermath of the layoff, it's crucial to update your resume and LinkedIn profile with your latest experiences and accomplishments. While seeking job search advice is valuable, I caution against paying for services when ample free advice is available.

When it comes to communicating your layoff publicly, I recommend a modest approach, such as a brief LinkedIn post, rather than an extensive and potentially detrimental account of your experience. Additionally, the decision to indicate that you're "open to work" on your LinkedIn profile may not be a priority at this stage.

One of the most crucial steps after a layoff is to leverage your network. Connecting with individuals in your network, having meaningful conversations, and subtly expressing your job search needs can lead to valuable opportunities. While applying for positions independently is necessary, never underestimate the power of personal connections in securing new opportunities.

In conclusion, surviving a layoff requires careful consideration, strategic networking, and leveraging available resources to navigate the situation effectively.  

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