Navigating a Layoff? 10 Tips of the Trade from Josh McAfee

I’ve been asked a few times to share some thoughts on navigating a layoff and Hailey finally forced me to make the time for this. Here are some thoughts that have been impactful to people in this situation. 

  1. Keep your cool. Don’t burn any bridges. It sucks, but don’t make it suck more. 
  2. Don’t be or feel rushed to sign anything. Remember severance packages are negotiable. Key lever points are extending benefits, how long/how much severance pay, accelerating stock options vesting or extending time to exercise stock options, outplacement package, etc.
  3. Take the time to get your head straight and get your messaging down BEFORE you share that you are looking. Telling everyone you are looking for a job without being able to tell them where you will be most valuable doesn’t help them help you. 
  4. Focus more on the to whom, where, when, and why you are valuable than the I want, I feel, I think, I need instincts. 
  5. Make sure you have great messaging that’s simple, memorable, and compelling. It should lead into a conversation for anyone who has pain points or goals around your areas of strength. 
  6. Remember it’s partially a numbers game and partially building/leveraging relationships. Don’t lead with what you want, lead with trying to find where you can add value or discovering how you can add value, even if it’s just introductions or words of wisdom. 
  7. Be consistent. Even when you have a few opportunities in front of you, KEEP your search activities up until you’ve accepted another position. 
  8. Don’t ghost anyone or any opportunity. Always have the conversation, even if it isn’t the right fit. Use it as an opportunity to build a relationship. You never know where it’ll lead. 
  9. Help and encourage others. Even if you don’t have anything to offer, encouragement and support go a long way in building relationships. 
  10.  Read my book 😉 #Shamlessplug (


Remember, a layoff is just one chapter in your career story, and it can be an opportunity for growth, reinvention, and new beginnings. Stay resilient, stay focused, and keep moving forward.