I Just Got Laid Off ... Now What?

I Just Got Laid Off … Now What?
Career experts offer advice to oil and gas professionals who are looking to move their career forward after layoffs.
Lisa Quast
Lisa Quast, Certified Career Coach
Certified Career Coach

So you’ve just been laid off … and you’re hit with a whirlwind of emotions. And you begin to ask yourself the following questions: What do I do now? How will I feed my family? Where will I find work?

All of these questions are valid concerns, but it’s important to remember you’re not alone in this – 150,000 some odd workers have experienced the same thing in recent months due to the sharp dip in oil prices that began late 2014.

There is life after layoff.

What to do First

While it’s natural to have feelings after being laid off, it’s important to keep them at bay long enough to plan your next steps. According to certified career coach Lisa Quast, the very first thing an oil and gas employee should do immediately after being laid off is finding out what’s included in their layoff package – which typically includes severance pay that covers two weeks of pay for every year the employee worked at a company plus continuation of medical benefits for a set period of time. 

What should come next, Quast told Rigzone, is a conversation about outplacement services – which helps laid off employees make their transition easier.

Lindsay Witcher
Lindsay Witcher, Director of Practice Strategy, RiseSmart
Director of Practice Strategy, RiseSmart

Lindsay Witcher, director of practice strategy for RiseSmart, a company which offers outplacement services, told Rigzone her company’s service is unique in that it partners each individual with a team of three people – a career coach, professional resume writer and job concierge – to help with the transition. They’re a business-to-business (B2B) company, meaning employers reach out to them when they expect to have layoffs. RiseSmart then reaches out to the laid off individuals immediately. She said individuals who work with them land jobs in an average of 82 days, which is 61 percent faster than the national average of 209 days, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

In addition to questions of layoff packages and outplacement services, laid off employees should also ask their manager and/or other employees for recommendation letters. This should be done prior to exiting the office, Quast said.

“Recruiters like to see recommendations from previous bosses, coworkers and people who reported to you (if you were a manager) because this helps give them a broader view of the type of employee you were,” she said.     

Witcher said she has found that job-seekers often want help branding themselves.

“They understand how important it is to have themselves represented well on paper and online,” she said. “You have to learn how to stand out in today’s job market. Your accomplishments are what make you unique.”

Attacking the Job Search

Many employees are tempted to jump right into the job search immediately after being laid off, however Quast said that could be a job-seeker’s biggest mistake – “not taking time to process all the emotions associated with being laid off.”

Quast described the layoff as going through a grieving process, especially if they’ve been at a company for 10 or more years. She said it’s important to take time to grieve and get through the emotional rollercoaster they’re riding. Taking a few days or even a week to process everything will allow individuals to get back in job search mode with a clear head and level emotions.

“Think about your last job and previous jobs and contemplate if you’d like to find a similar job or one that’s slightly different,” said Quast. “The more specific you can get in the type of job you want next, the easier it will be for you to target those jobs in your job search process and to customize your resume.”

It takes strategy in the job search along with a little resume customization.


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Generated by readers, the comments included herein do not reflect the views and opinions of Rigzone. All comments are subject to editorial review. Off-topic, inappropriate or insulting comments will be removed.

Domino  |  August 14, 2015
In my opinion over the decades, Dozerguy123 here had the best comments. Too late to help you now though. But unfortunately I think this downturn is going to last many, many, many years. Like in the early to mid-1980s. Many, many people never got back in the energy industry again. Guys took bartenders jobs and gals took dancer jobs at Ricks or BabyOs, even those with PhDs in Petroleum Engineering or Chemical Engineering. It took home prices a decade to recover.
Tigran Dobrovolski  |  August 03, 2015
Think business. Nobody can lay you off your own business. Nobody cares how your resume looks like. You can afford not having one at all )) There are so many things you can afford!!!
dozerguy  |  August 01, 2015
Dont wait around for the patch to pick back up. I dont see any recovery until 2019.
dozerguy123  |  August 01, 2015
Welcome to capitalism, it is the norm since the 1980s to build up for projects then lay everyone off. Thats the way most engineering projects are run and planned. If you thought that with no education that you were a 100K a year employee you are very sadly mistaken about the pay for basically a laborer with no education. The oilfield has always been this way at least since the 1960s. Younger folks dont understand that and come into it thinking America is great I am worth 100K a year This will never end I am a middle or upper class American. Which they have been spoon fed since they were 5 years old. Let me give you some advice, never depend on the oilfield it will not last, plan ahead and save your money so that you can live for at least a year with out working. The oilfield is full of nepotism, so it really doesnt matter how educated you are or how good of a worker you are, or how long you have been there, actually that applies to 80% of the jobs now days, competition is extremely tuff, and most people take care of their families first. I have three degrees, one a EE degree, broke out in the patch in the early 80s, and have 30 years of experience punching holes in the ground. Laid off in January. I realize I have just wasted my time for most people will not heed the warning. My advice is, sell everything you own and that 300K house and go find you a job, If you can get 20 to 25 dollars per hour consider your self lucky. Welcome to America and Capitilism. I do have a good 7 dollar per hour job for somebody as a laborer, contact me if you really want to go to work.
Milan  |  July 31, 2015
Agree especially with the part about being active. ☻
PRE  |  July 31, 2015
OK, who did not see this downturn coming? Buehler, Buehler ... anybody? A positive attitude, polished resume, networking and all the other trite tricks wont work, just like they did not work last time, and will not work next time. There are just too many people chasing too few jobs. But, oil prices will recover one day. A new cohort of young engineers who believe the BS that oil is an essential commodity and the industry needs people desperately, just like I did back in 1979. When that recovery happens, you will learn that technology has moved on, reacting to the period of low prices, and you have no experience with this new, improved workplace. Furthermore, a freshly minted graduate will work for less than you, is more trainable, and - as always - the young people are the future. You wont be considered young anymore, even if youre only in your 30s. Most casualties will have to find work in other industries. Or open a Subway franchise or something. You wont get paid as much, so your lifestyle will suffer. Sometimes, it will suffer a lot. All these career coaches and what not wont tell you that. But during all your trials and tribulations, the sleepless nights you wonder how youll pay your mortgage, you can comfort yourself in the knowledge that the CEOs, CFOs, and HR-heads will get their bonuses for right-sizing under difficult circumstances.
DGG  |  July 31, 2015
I agree, these helpful hints really do not help solve the problem! I dont think my Resume or lack of contacts keeps me unemployed? I remember being a student in 1990s and everyone was taking a resume writing course, though the jobs were essentially non-existent. I thought well I dont think the resume is holding me back; it is the 300 people applying for the same job. I have talked to several recruiters who will tell you that no one has been placed in the last 3 months! Now that smiling face is not going to help is it. I do agree that for many leaving the industry may work out best - until the companies come begging in a few years
RJ Schultheis  |  July 30, 2015
Yes, become a mentor to your coworkers from the office and your comrades when youre back at the palace or away from the office (unemployed). Heres a few tips and ideas that will fill those hours when you need to patiently wait for the right opportunity. 1st, Try incorporating a new thought process which includes; This time is going to be different. Because you are creating the change. 2nd, You may have plenty of time for working on and completing several new goals that will prepare you for a higher level position. In your extra hours read up on areas of your specific career area that will deepen your level of knowledge - focus on the areas that interest you the most - and you will find that it really wont appear to be difficult work - because it is engaging you and challenging you to a higher level. 3rd, As you expand your level of understanding with this newly polished career enhancing knowledge developed during your extra time - Think of where in your resume this expertise fits in and add this to your background knowledge for interviews and resume summary. 4th, If you are really motivated take on a certification that will build your career direction. Possibly a new license or degree. 5th, Try to not increase debt to achieve your goals. 6th, When you become employed you can get the hands-on working experience to apply this new career enhancement - to fully develop a balance in your career. 7th, Be very careful to avoid excellent credentials and have no where to go or use them. 8th, Read #5 (above) again. Best Wishes
A  |  July 29, 2015
Welcome to the great facade that the oil industry sells us every ten years for the last 100 years! ...These companies cannot offer you a job that will last past 3 years. In the meantime we have families to support, mortgage and car loans, bills, bills, bills. We need the kind of jobs like our forefathers used to have when you could stay and retire at a company with ggod pay and retirement. Now all that is gone forever.
jørgen j thaule  |  July 29, 2015
I sure hope there will be a rise in oil prices and more work soon...I got laid off today and i am really twisting my head on how to be able to get a New job in this marked..I see there are approx 300 jobs here at rigzone available,but With 1000000 other applyers there can be quite tough to get one of those 300 jobs..Here in Norway the marked are absolutly silent..there is ...nothing...
Paul Hibbett  |  July 29, 2015
I got laid off last September, after working in the industry since I was 16 years old in 1990. I never have been fired or laid off. I got with a contracting agency, which i used to work for before years ago, and people still remembered me. I had 3 contract jobs offered but as the high percentage of people on their books in similar situation I never got any work. I have been sending off my resume left right and center. But no luck, in 1 moth it will be 1 year and i have had no work ... I am trying everything, but with no luck.
Detroit Doug  |  July 29, 2015
I got laid off back in 09 Detroit Auto Crash . Did a interview with a company in Houston. HR women said, Detroit should not get the bail out money. Sort of ironic the oil folks are crying now.....I hope oil goes down to $25/barrel. I used my time off to finished my MBA.
Seyi Ayeni  |  July 29, 2015
I think this is a must read for all oil and gas professionals, whether you are still in employment of you have been affected by the downsizing in the industry. It does not matter how long you have been laid off, you can start from where you are. I have taken notes and am surely going to act on the recommendations in the article.
Amir Rangwala  |  July 28, 2015
Just Got Laid Off , do not worry. Take this as an advantage and keep believing in yourself. I got laid off last august, few days were stressful but after that I was thinking in a very different direction. I was able to find another job which is way better than my previous job, also my desire help me and I was able to get into real estate investment as a backup plan for any future circumstance. In our life everything happens for a reason, do not feel stressful, take this as an advantage and find new horizons and path for yourself and your career. ATS
PB  |  July 28, 2015
Easy for a consultant to say such things , though when you have a family and you know the market is such that 80+ people are applying for the same job,,, it show how out of touch consultants can be. Yes get a recommendation letter, though if you get a job offer take it, better to look for another job in a job than at home. Second in this market have a plan A look for jobs in your field, Plan B look for other jobs, jobs to support the family.... that can take 4 weeks and atleast then you have the financial burden lifted... most jobs from advert to offer are now 10 weeks... ps its ok to have Plan C, D etc,, put it on chart and work it... just like when you are at work,,,

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