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Jennifer Newman: How to get through a layoff

02/08/2015 04:42 EST | Updated 04/10/2015 05:59 EDT
Layoffs have been top of mind for many people recently; liquidation sales at Target Stores across the country, Tim Hortons just confirmed it is laying off 350 people and in Vancouver, around 600 owner-operator truck drivers were told they wouldn't receive the port's new licensing tags as part of a new licensing system. 

Surrey trucker Jabir Jolly is one of those truck drivers — he's been delivering goods to Port Metro Vancouver for 15 years.

"We have  a house to pay, a mortgage to pay, my kids are going to university," he told The Early Edition's Rick Cluff.

"Just suddenly, the port just said 'no, your company cannot qualify,' so you are just out of a job."

Jennifer Newman, The Early Edition's workplace psychologist said it's normal to experience grief, shame, self-blame, anger and anxiety as part of a layoff.

Here's her advice on how to get through those difficult emotions to move on to the next job.

1. Know why you're being laid off

Newman said the most difficult part of a layoff can be the surprise and shock that comes with finding out you no longer have work.

"It's the suddenness of it. It's like being broadsided by a car," she said.

She said it's important for employees to keep track of their industry, and anticipate when there might be cut-backs so they can prepare and put some money aside.

When you do receive a redundancy notice, Newman said it's important ask your employer about the details of your layoff and how it was decided that they would be the one to be let go.

Newman said your employer will probably give you something in writing, formalizing the layoff. While it can be difficult, it's important to take the time to read it through. 

2. Take your time

If you feel too upset to think, Newman said you should ask your employer for a break to regain composure.

"Ask to resume the meeting later, or the next day if you need to," she said.

You don't have to jump at whatever severance is on the table — take your time to consider your options.

3. Set yourself up to move on

Set up a follow-up meeting with your employer to discuss any questions you might have, and whether there are any plans to re-employ or re-hire at some point.

Counselling and retraining are important tools to help you get back into the job market.

For some, Newman said, a layoff can become an opportunity to go back to school and to go after a new career.

Workplace psychologist Jennifer Newman joins The Early Edition on CBC Radio One every Thursday at 6:50 a.m.

To hear more from laid-off truck driver Jabir Jolly, click the audio labelled: Trucker Jabir Jolly out of work.

To hear more from workplace psychologist Jennifer Newman, click the audio labelled: How to get through a layoff.

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