UX Layoffs: How to Bounce Back and Move Forward27. March 2023 2023-03-27 9:07
UX Layoffs: How to Bounce Back and Move Forward
Losing your job is never easy, and being laid off can be an incredibly challenging experience. Unfortunately, it’s a reality that many people in the UX and design industries have faced in recent years, particularly during times of economic uncertainty. If you’re a UX or user research professional who has recently been laid off or if you’re worried about the possibility of a UX layoff, it’s important to know that you’re not alone.
This article explores some practical steps you can take to bounce back from a UX layoff and move forward in your career. I’ll cover everything from what to expect immediately after being laid off to assessing your skills and strengths, building your network, and finding new opportunities. But first, let’s talk a bit about the emotional impact of being laid off.
The Emotional Rollercoaster of a UX Layoff
There’s no getting around it: being laid off is a major life event and can have a significant emotional impact. You may experience feelings of shock, denial, anger, sadness, or a combination of all of the above. It’s important to acknowledge and validate these emotions rather than trying to suppress or ignore them.
At the same time, it’s essential to recognise that a UX layoff does not reflect your personal worth or value. Layoffs are often the result of factors outside your control, such as changes in the market or company restructuring. It’s important to avoid blaming yourself or feeling like a failure.
Remember that you are not alone. Many talented UX professionals have been through the same experience, and there is a community of people who can offer support and advice. Whether it’s friends, family, former colleagues, or online communities, it’s essential to lean on your support network during this time.
In the next section, we’ll talk about some practical steps you can take immediately after being laid off to help you prepare for the road ahead.
Preparing for the Road Ahead: What to Do After a UX Layoff
While the emotional impact of a UX layoff can be significant, it’s important to take some practical steps in the immediate aftermath to prepare for the road ahead. Here are some things you can do:
- Take care of yourself: Losing your job can be a stressful and overwhelming experience, so it’s vital to prioritise your physical and mental health. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep, exercise, and healthy food, and consider seeking out a therapist or counsellor if you’re struggling with anxiety or depression.
- Review your finances: Losing your income can strain your finances, so reviewing your budget and expenses is essential to ensure you’re prepared for the coming weeks or months. Consider applying for unemployment benefits, and look for ways to reduce costs or earn extra income through freelance work or side projects.
- Collect important documents and information: Make sure you have copies of necessary documents, such as your resume, portfolio, and references, as well as any information about your past projects or clients. This will make updating your materials and applying for new opportunities easier.
- Say goodbye and stay in touch: If you’re leaving a job you enjoyed, it can be tough to say goodbye to your colleagues and clients. Take the time to say goodbye and thank them for the experiences and knowledge you gained while working with them. You never know when you might cross paths again, so it’s essential to maintain those relationships.
The following section will discuss assessing your skills and strengths and how to use them to find new opportunities after a UX layoff.
Assessing Your Skills and Strengths: How to Find Your Next Opportunity
After you’ve taken care of the immediate aftermath of your UX layoff, it’s time to start thinking about your next steps. One of the first things to do is to assess your skills and strengths to determine what kind of role or opportunity might be the next good fit for you.
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- What skills and strengths do I have that are valuable in the UX and design industries?
- What kind of work do I enjoy doing the most?
- What did I like/dislike in my last job?
- What do I want to do more of in the future?
- What do I want to avoid in the future?
- What kind of work would fit my personality and work style well?
- What type of work would allow me to continue developing my skills and grow professionally?
As you answer these questions, you will develop a clearer idea of the role or opportunity that would be the next good fit for you. This might include freelance work, contract work, or a full-time role with a new company.
Once you have a better sense of what you’re looking for, it’s time to start building your network and exploring new opportunities. Here are some tips:
- Reach out to your network: Let your former colleagues, clients, and other contacts know you’re looking for new opportunities on the job market. They can provide leads, referrals, or other helpful advice.
- Attend industry events: Attend local UX or design events to meet new people and learn about the latest trends and opportunities in the industry. This can also be a great way to get involved in the community and build your reputation.
- Use social media: Use social media to connect with people in your field and stay informed about industry news and job openings. LinkedIn is particularly useful for building your professional network.
- Build a strong online presence: Build a strong online presence through social media, personal branding, and online portfolios. This can help you showcase your work and connect with potential employers.
- Offer to help others: Networking is a two-way street. Offer to help others in your network with their projects or job searches. This can help you build strong relationships and establish yourself as a valuable member of the community.
- Update your resume and portfolio: Make sure your resume and portfolio are up-to-date and reflect your most recent work and accomplishments. This will be essential for showcasing your skills and experience to potential employers.
- Consider freelancing or contracting: Freelancing or contracting can be a great way to build your skills, make new connections, and earn some income while you search for your next full-time role. Consider contacting local design or UX agencies to see if they have any projects you can work on.
Remember that finding a new opportunity after a UX layoff can take time, and it’s crucial to be patient and persistent. The right prospect may be just around the corner.
Negotiating a Fair Package: How to Make the Most of Your Exit
When you’re laid off from a UX or user research role, it’s essential to negotiate a fair package that provides you with financial stability and support during your job search. Here are some tips to help you negotiate a reasonable exit package after your UX layoff:
- Know your rights: Ensure you understand your legal rights and any contractual obligations related to your layoff. This will help you negotiate a fair package and avoid potential legal issues.
- Ask for what you need: Be clear about your financial needs during your job search and ask for a package that meets those needs. This might include severance pay, extended health benefits, or support for career development.
- Negotiate respectfully: Approach your negotiations with your former employer respectfully and professionally. Remember that you may need a positive reference or recommendation from them in the future.
- Get it in writing: Make sure any agreements or promises made during your negotiations are put in writing. This will help protect you and ensure everyone is clear on the terms of your exit.
- Ensure legal certainty: Have the documents you negotiate with your former employer reviewed by an expert such as an employment lawyer. In this way, you ensure that your employer’s rights are taken into account and yours.
Negotiating a fair package is critical in moving on from your UX layoff and starting your job search with financial stability and support.
Staying Positive and Motivated: How to Keep Your Spirits Up During a Job Search
Looking for a new opportunity after a UX layoff can be challenging and sometimes discouraging. However, staying positive and motivated is vital to keep your spirits up and maintaining your focus.
Here are some tips for staying positive during a job search:
- Give yourself time to process: It’s normal to feel a range of emotions after a layoff, including anger, sadness, and anxiety. Give yourself time to process your feelings, and don’t be too hard on yourself.
- Celebrate small victories: Finding a job can take time, but there are often small victories along the way that are worth celebrating. Whether it’s landing an interview, getting positive feedback on your portfolio, or making a new connection, take the time to acknowledge and celebrate your progress.
- Practice self-care: Taking care of yourself is crucial during a job search. Ensure you’re taking breaks, getting enough sleep, and doing things that bring you joy and relaxation. This can help you maintain your energy and focus as you search for your next opportunity.
- Stay active and healthy: Exercise, eat well, and get plenty of rest. Taking care of your physical health can help improve your mood and reduce stress.
- Seek support: Talk to friends, family, or a professional counsellor about your feelings. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help and support when you need it.
- Surround yourself with positivity: Positive people, messages, and experiences can help you stay motivated and focused. Consider joining a professional group or attending events that inspire and uplift you.
- Focus on the positive: Try to focus on the positive aspects of your situation, such as the opportunity to explore new career paths or take a break to focus on personal projects.
- Learn something new: Taking the time to learn a new skill or explore a new area of UX or design can help you stay engaged and motivated during your job search. This can also make you a more attractive candidate to potential employers.
- Stay organised: Create a schedule or plan for your job search to help you stay on track. This can also help you feel more in control during a difficult time.
Remember, a UX layoff does not reflect your worth or abilities as a designer or researcher. It’s simply a part of the professional journey, and new opportunities and challenges are always ahead. Also, your mental health is just as important as your job search. Prioritise self-care, and don’t hesitate to seek professional help if you’re struggling.
Exploring New Opportunities: How to Stay Motivated and Find Your Next Role after a UX layoff
Exploring new opportunities can be exciting and overwhelming, especially if you’ve been in your previous role for a long time. Staying motivated and focused during your job search is essential to find your next position.
Here are some tips to help you stay motivated and find your next role after a UX layoff:
- Set goals: Set realistic goals for your job search, such as the number of applications you want to submit per week or the number of networking events you want to attend. This can help you stay focused and motivated.
- Create a schedule: Set a plan for your job search and stick to it. This can help you stay organised and ensure that you’re making progress towards your goals.
- Track your progress: Keep track of the jobs you apply to, your interviews, and other relevant information. This can help you stay organised and ensure that you’re following up on opportunities.
- Create a list of potential employers: Research companies and industries that interest you, and create a list of potential employers. Look for job openings on their websites or job boards, and consider contacting employees or recruiters on LinkedIn or other professional networks.
- Be open to new opportunities: Consider exploring new roles or industries that may align with your skills and interests. This can help you broaden your search and find new opportunities.
- Invest in your skills: Take courses, attend workshops, or work on personal projects to continue developing your skills and knowledge. This can help you stand out to potential employers and motivate you during your job search.
- Get feedback: Ask for feedback on your portfolio or job application materials to help you improve and tailor your approach to different roles.
Remember, exploring new opportunities can be a challenging but rewarding process. Stay motivated, stay focused, and don’t be afraid to try new things. Planning can help you stay organised and focused during your job search. By setting goals, creating a schedule, tracking your progress, and staying positive, you can increase your chances of success and find your next opportunity after your UX layoff.
Conclusion: Final Thoughts on Moving Forward After a UX layoff
Being laid off can be a complex, challenging, and emotional experience, but it’s important to remember that it’s not the end of the world. In fact, it can be an opportunity to reassess your career goals, develop new skills, and find a new position that is even better than your previous one.
Remember that you are not alone. Many UX professionals have been through the same situation and have gone on to find success in their careers. By staying positive, focusing on your skills and experience, and developing a plan for your next steps, you can increase your chances of finding your next opportunity.
Take care of yourself during this time. Reach out to friends, family, or a counsellor or coach for support. Take time to pursue hobbies or activities that bring you joy and fulfilment. And most importantly, believe in yourself and your abilities.
If you need additional support or guidance during your job search, consider contacting a UX and design leadership coach like myself. They can provide career coaching, resume and portfolio reviews, interview preparation, and more. Don’t hesitate to reach out and take the first step towards your next career move.
Remember, being laid off is not the end of your career. It’s an opportunity to grow, learn, and find a new path that will lead you to success and fulfilment. Keep pushing forward, and you will get there.
If you need support after a UX layoff or during your job search or are interested in career coaching, please contact me to schedule a free consultation. Let’s work together to help you achieve your career goals.
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Girlboss (n.d.). I’ve Been Laid Off 5 Times. Here’s How To Cope When It Happens To You. https://girlboss.com/blogs/read/how-to-cope-with-being-laid-off
Lyons, M. (2022). What to Do After Being Laid Off. Harvard Business Review. https://hbr.org/2022/11/what-to-do-after-being-laid-off