Over the past year, and particularly in the last few months, I have coached many clients and prospects just as they were getting laid off from their jobs. What amazes me the most is how unprepared people are for this situation, despite the fact that layoffs are still continuing at an alarming pace. Getting laid off can be painful and can really set you back for a while, not matter what level you are at or industry you are in. Be patient with yourself and others.

Here are some helpful tips to consider if you are laid off, or someone close to you is.

1.    Take time to process and heal. Being made redundant, due to performance, or a difficult economy can be very upsetting emotionally. Clients are often very angry when they are laid off. Take time to process your anger and resentment, understand that these feelings are normal and don’t jump to any quick career conclusions.

2.    Evaluate your unemployment options. One of the reasons being laid off is so stressful is that you immediately begin to wonder “how am I going to pay the mortgage or pay my kid’s college tuition?”. Call you local unemployment office and request to meet with an intake counselor to determine your unemployment eligibility.

3.    Sort out your health care coverage. If you are the primary earner in your family, gather all the information you can on how to continue your health care coverage. Some states, such as Massachusetts, provide reduced-cost health care for the unemployed. If this is not possible, consider your firm’s COBRA plan. If your spouse is working, perhaps you could evaluate having him/her carry the health care costs.

4.    Sort out your finances and family budget. Figure out where you can cut back. If you have large bills to pay, call your creditors and see if you can negotiate a payment schedule.

5.    Line up your support team. Reach out to your family, friends and other coworkers, who may also have been laid off. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and networking contacts, especially in this economy where networking has proven to be THE way to find a job. If you lack job search and or career reinvention skills, then consider hiring a coach.

6.    Look forward. Remember there is not much you can do about the past. You do however; have total control over the future. Turn your anger, frustration and resentment into motivation. Take action and use this time to re-evaluate and assess what other career options might be available to you.