I got laid off, now what do I do?

I got laid off and I don’t know what to do.

Step one: recognize you got laid off, and that it’s not the end of the world. Step two: start growing your facial hair (ladies — you’re welcome to join) and finally, step three: make sure your severance and unemployment are all set.

There are pitfalls in unemployment, besides the obvious ones, like not being employed. For example, when Rodney Curtis picked up a small job as an adjunct professor at Michigan State University, he spent an eternity on the phone with MARVIN — Michigan’s Automated Response Voice Interactive Network — to determine whether or not the small paycheck would end his unemployment, despite the fact that it paid one-fifth the amount the Free Press shelled out for his photo editing.

Being laid off is rarely fun, but if you can see it coming, try to embrace it.

got laid off

Even though MARVIN was sometimes maddening, he was truly an unemployment lifeline for Rodney’s family.

What does this mean for my career?

That’s a loaded question. You probably want to hear that this layoff is just a temporary¬†pit stop¬†on your long road towards the pinnacle of your career, and it very well may be. But you should be prepared for something you may have rarely thought about, or maybe only dared think about in the dead of night: you may want to explore another career option.

And that’s not a bad thing, not even a little bit. Haven’t you always wanted to try something different? Your previous skills will carry over well, and like Rodney, you may find yourself thoroughly enjoying the next step in your life.

Rodney Curtis shot photos for the Ann Arbor News, the Concord Monitor, the Associated Press, then edited at the Midland Daily News, the Detroit News and the Detroit Free Press. If after all that, he can switch lanes, then you can too, even if you got laid off.

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