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How to be resilient when you’ve been laid off

In the current climate, it helps to be resilient. Goldman Sachs even runs a specific Resilience Week. If you’re working in financial services, you’ll need to be resilient to deal with the politics and the long hours, but resilience is even more invaluable when you’ve been laid off.

As discussed previously on this site, the Harvard Business Review posits a three-pronged resilience model. Resilient people are, it said, accepting of reality, resourceful and understanding of their purpose in life.

Akin to bereavement

If you’ve been downsized, it’s normal to go through a period of reflection akin to bereavement. Why you? What happened? Resilient people come through this quickly and reach an acceptance of their new situation. They usually do this by being focused and proactive. They are often highly aware of their environment in terms of what is possible and what is not.

Resourcefulness is also imperative in redundancy. The most active and effective people in career transition are often very confident lateral thinkers. They will take an objective view of their core skills and work out how to apply this in different ways.

Plan B

The most resilient people I encounter know exactly what they would do if the current career path did not take them any further. They are usually the ones who have a Plan A of what their career search will look like (all stepped out with clear goals) and also have an equally well articulated Plan B.

Resilient people have the insight to appreciate that for the most part, they are dealing with uncertainty in both financial markets and in corporate culture

So who are some good role models for regaining our sense of purpose? I have one client who left a top 10 global asset manager after 16 years and spent time with one of his hobby investments – a well-known restaurant. He trained staff. He monitored client feedback. He loved it. The business flourished.

Sarah Dudney is a career coach at Ignite Career. You can get in touch with her at, or through

AUTHORSarah Dudney Insider Comment

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