If you’ve been laid off, you’re not alone. The past year has been tough on every industry, and many people have been left without work.

If you’re one of those people, and you’re feeling a bit defeated, it’s time to realize that opportunity disguises itself as disaster sometimes.

Have you ever heard the folk tale of the farmer that says “maybe”?

There once was a farmer, and one day his prize horse ran away.

Everyone told him “that’s awful!” but he only said “maybe”.

The next day, the horse returned and had brought 10 wild horses with it.

This time, everyone said “that’s amazing!”, but again, he only replied “maybe”.

One day, his son was trying to ride one of the new horses. It threw him off and he broke his leg.

Everyone said “that’s terrible!” but the farmer just said “maybe”.

A week later, the army came by looking for recruits, and they told the farmer that his son would not have to fight in the war because he had an injured leg.

Everyone said “that’s so fortunate!”, but the farmer…

Well, you get the picture. 

The moral of the story is that the events in our life are not objectively good or bad. Even the worst ones can actually be leading us to something better than we’ve ever had before.

So if you’ve been laid off, then MAYBE you should take this opportunity to turn your career into something even better!

And we’re here to help! Here are the most important ideas to keep in mind when it comes to making a career change after a layoff!

Make the right choice, and stick with it

Deciding to switch tracks in your career is a somewhat serious decision.

Fortunately, after a layoff, the difficult decision to leave a stable job has already been made for you. But it is still up to you to decide whether you want to aim towards a new industry or not. 

One of the easiest ways to tell if a new career is right for you is to be honest with yourself about how you felt losing your last job. After the initial trauma has worn off and you can see things a bit more clearly, ask yourself: “am I relieved?”

If something in you was actually happy to lose that job, then that could be real evidence that you need something different. Or perhaps the way in which you were laid off shined a light on how that industry cares for its workers, and you feel you deserve more.

Do some digging into other careers and industries that interest you. Compare your skill set, and determine what you would have to learn in order to prepare for a job in that field. Try things out before you buy into them, to see if you’re up to the challenge.

And once you’ve set your sights on your new goal, never second guess yourself. You may experience a lot of tribulations along the way. Your own mind shouldn’t have to be one of them.

Your network is your net worth

Chances are, if you’re changing lanes career-wise, then your business network does not include as many people from your new industry as it should. Maybe none at all!

But the golden rule of job seeking is to “never not be networking”.

You need to make real, personal connections with professionals that can help you up the corporate ladder. Simply shopping your resume around isn’t enough of a connection — you need to be known as a person, not just a piece of paper.

Tap into your current network to see if you can make connections through people you already know! Just because you don’t know anyone in your new industry doesn’t mean they don’t. And an introduction or recommendation from someone you both know is a great way to impress a possible recruiter or employer.

Easy does it

Rome wasn’t built in a day. And neither is a person’s career.

Avoid burning yourself out by taking jobs that you’re not ready for. Ease yourself into the new habits and mindset that you need to succeed.

Start small if you need to. Do part-time until you’re ready to make this a full-time job!

And don’t be afraid to work your way up to your dream job, either. You may not be qualified to jump right into the position you really want. Instead, figure out a career strategy and talk to your employer about how you’d like to develop so they can support your goals.

The salary might suck

A change to your career can mean a change to the things you associate with work.

Things like travel coverage, insurance benefits, and of course: the pay.

Make sure you research the standard salaries for your new industry, and compare those to a frugal and honest analysis of what sort of income you need to be comfortable and happy.

You need to live within your means to avoid stress. So if the means don’t suit your lifestyle, you need to consider what you should do.

Don’t be afraid to negotiate your salary, though, when applying for work. Remember that if you’ve got to the point of negotiating salary, you’ve done something right! And it’s important for you to not just take the first offer that comes along just because you’re desperate to break into this new field.

Be firm about having your needs met while you make your career change!

Second Career

Second Career is a program which provides financial support to help laid-off workers retrain in high-demand occupations. We here at ReStart can help you apply if you qualify!  

If you are interested in retraining, we can determine if you are eligible and suitable for the Second Career program. Second Career provides financial support to help laid-off workers retrain in high-demand occupations. 

We can also provide information on completing your high school diploma, taking literacy and basic skills training courses and exploring post-secondary training options.  

You can also obtain some valuable certifications at ReStart which include:

  • WHMIS (Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System)
  • Worker Health and Safety Awareness in 4 Steps
  • Smart Serve 

Getting certified in WHMIS and Worker Health and Safety Awareness in 4 Steps can be done in our Resource & Information Centre. To qualify for Smart Serve, you need to first make an appointment and meet with an Employment Consultant.


A layoff is a tough thing to go through. But it could be the kick in the pants you need to start moving towards the career you really want!

So take our advice, and plan your future. It’s time to turn that layoff into a career takeoff!