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Congratulations on beginning your journey From Laid Off To Living®! Please use this online program as you would reference a map on a hike and a journal of your experience.

You will begin with Story Time. This is a collection of stories written by folks like you. These stories are composites of true events that illustrate the brutal acts and broken trust of your experience and that of thousands of other who have been laid off.

Then you’ll learn about the Change Builders® model of change. You’ll read about the three phases of change that we all go through: the WAS, the IS, and the WILL BE. You will then discover the difference between CHOSEN and NOT CHOSEN change and how to choose what’s next for you.

The Anger Cycle will show you how to identify and then deal effectively with your anger. You will be encouraged to understand that your anger is a reasonable response to being laid off – or any other threat or unmet expectation.

In the WAS, you will identify your losses, experience feelings of denial, bargaining, anger, sadness, and finally acceptance. Then, as you move from the WAS into the confusing, anxious, uncomfortable IS you will review the four strategies for managing the IS while you learn how important it is to be patient and then curious. Because it is your curiosity and with it renewed energy that creates your WILL BE.

Finally, you will be reminded of your “treasures”. These are the deep values that give your life meaning and will frame your future. Read some…reflect some…interact some and spend some time letting your feelings flow: the tears of loss and sadness, the anger of unmet expectations, the fears and confusion about the unknown, and finally curiosity about and then hope for your future. Use this engaging method to explore, learn and then create your new life on your journey From Laid Off To Living®


Johnna Bavoso




Ann’s Story: The Achiever

This can’t be happening to me. I’m smart, talented, accomplished and successful in this job! Why me? I’ve achieved so much in such a short period of time working so hard. I was an “A” student and a star athlete. This isn’t happening to me.

That’s how I felt as I was being told “You’re laid off”. My mind raced. I had a complete feeling of betrayal, disappointment, anger, and a total loss of control. I was just like everyone else — dispensable.

I had never failed at anything I tried. I felt betrayed by my manager and others I trusted to tell me the truth. They had known and led me on so I would complete a big project before being told to leave. They expected me to make the “transition” smoothly.

So I flipped my emotional switch at that moment. I knew then that there is no right way to do the wrong thing. I “took off the jersey” and disengaged.

Then I watched, as others were told – never the whole truth, just a script of half-truths – about needing to cut back and reduce expenses while positioning the company for the future. I was done, but it was so disappointing that the CEO did not understand that the talent, commitment, and teamwork that gave him success were now headed out the door.

Fortunately I was able to find another job within a couple of weeks. I am very grateful for that, and the fine folks who appreciate what I have to contribute.

However, it’s taken awhile to grieve the loss of my job, my friends, and to try to get over the disrespectful way I was treated at the end. I still find myself angry at times, sad as I reflect on the past, and even just a bit cautious about fully engaging in my new situation.

I wonder if I can ever really forget that day when I was kicked off the team.





Because when we have accepted the loss then we are ready for Renewal. This phase is best described in a poem written by my grandmother, Elizabeth Hecht, which goes like this:

This ole life just can’t be beat,

With every rose there’s a thorn

But aren’t those roses sweet!

We are ready to begin again in this phase. Ironically, this is often what people expect of us within moments of being laid off. We are asked to review a severance agreement and the packet of information from the human resources department. We are expected to either wrap up our tasks or transition our responsibilities efficiently and effectively. We are expected to be pleasant as we spend our last few hours or days in the company. Pleasant while, as Stan experienced, we become “invisible” to others. This is totally unrealistic. We are more likely to be in shock and denial during this period.

Moving from Denial to Renewal isn’t tied to external events in time. The movement is connected to our very personal experience of those events. How long does it take? How big is this loss? What is your current life experience as it relates to loss? What is your history of and track record in dealing with loss? How prepared were you for this loss? How were you treated as you were laid off?

The answers to these questions tell us more about how you will move through this emotional transition than the event itself.

When you finally get there, Renewal finds you full of energy and eager to begin again. Of course, as you move through more life and work changes, that Renewal is tempered with the realization that there will be other times of letting go. So you sort of “laugh through your tears” and move on to the next adventure.

If you have been through many organizational changes or several layoffs, this renewal is tougher to experience and/or distinguish,
because the changes blend into one another and you may feel that you never really get a fresh start. Sometimes you also intentionally hold back from experiencing the renewal, because you are tired of making changes and tired of losing what you invest in.


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