Before entering UX writing and content design, I lived through two layoffs in my former career as a journalist.
Both were negative experiences, but it’s interesting to think back to how differently I approached them.
The first layoff, in 2015, was a hard lesson in how we don’t have as much control over our careers as we may think, regardless of our performance.
Afterward, I spent a year freelancing while trying to find a full-time job in the same industry. Throughout that time, I was frustrated, and I doubted myself.
The second layoff, in 2018, pushed me into a career change.
I wanted better pay, more stability, and a healthier work-life balance. I started as a UX content strategist a few months later.
After both layoffs, I needed time to heal.
Still, my experiences during those times taught me these valuable lessons: There’s always a “next,” you can move your life in rewarding directions, and it’s possible to add depth to your professional narrative if you capture and think strategically about the emotions involved.
Tell your story of growth and resilience.
As UX writers, we use words to empower people within the experiences we help create. If a layoff has impacted you, consider using words to empower yourself and share your recovery journey with peers and prospective employers.
Here’s advice I’d share about redefining your career after a layoff.
Document your recovery journey
As we heal from a layoff, it can be tempting to keep so many feelings inside us.
Hurt. Frustration. Embarrassment.
Our first instinct may be to bury those emotions and let them smolder.
Avoid that temptation. Release your story into the world.
Think about what you felt after the layoff and how that influenced your “next.”
Are you exploring paths inside or outside UX writing and content design that you would never have considered without your layoff? If so, how did you reach that point, and what did you learn about the working world?
If not, do you look at the industry and your professional life differently? Did your priorities change?
After a layoff, you may have time to engage with the community more. Write LinkedIn posts. Contribute to UX writing and content design blogs. Speak during workshops and webinars with content professionals. Upload the recordings to a personal YouTube channel.
Keep everything constructive. Don’t write or speak negatively about former coworkers and employers.
Instead, use your past to frame your comeback narrative. View your layoff as your new life’s foundation.
As you share, approach each piece of content you create as a currency that can be used for your benefit later.