• Diana Morris

How to survive being laid off (from someone who's been there)


This photo was taken in June 2014 when I was fresh out of grad school and excited to change the world by way of a college campus and some impressionable minds.

In January 2016 I wrote a resignation letter, but stopped short of sending it, just in case the upcoming reorganization of our department would make things ✨better✨. After all, the powers that be were asking for our input on how things could be improved, so that had to mean something, right?


In April 2016, my colleagues and I were notified that the reorganization was complete and our services were no longer needed.

I won’t pretend to know exactly how each of the millions of people facing this today—and the millions more who fear it—are feeling because each situation is different.

What I do know is that for me, being laid off was a complicated mix of confusion, embarrassment, relief, abandonment, anger, fear, frustration, disappointment, hope, devastation, shock, anxiety, optimism, excitement, release, rejection, and freedom.

I also know that, while it was true in the long run, at the time I wasn’t trying to hear that “things happen for a reason” or that “everything will be okay,” because again, each situation is different and I needed time and space to make meaning and re-define what “okay” meant for myself.

So instead, if you’re navigating a similar situation or writing a letter of your own (even if you don’t send it), I'll say this:

You are not your job.

You are a person who, at this point in your life, happened/s to use your skills and talents to do a certain set of tasks.

And regardless of the tasks and whether or not you‘re still asked to do them, you are still a person with skills and talents and you can still choose yourself, even when/if someone else doesn’t.

This chapter of your life is NOT a personal failure, a sign of weakness, or a reflection of your value or importance.

And when you’re ready and as you determine your next steps, I hope you remember that you can always choose you and prioritize what you need at the moment because tasks will come and go, but you‘re still here.

And you still have so much to offer to a new company, team, and the world.


You can still choose you, now and always. This simple act of choosing is the key to your survival.


Stay connected with me on Instagram @dianaramorris for more resources and support.