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  • Writer's picturePolly Chan

Overcoming a Layoff: Communicating with Your Loved Ones

I don’t want to go home, what am I going to tell my family?” 1.5 hours into my chat with Jenny, after we talked through the shock, the denial, the initial transition plan. “What am I going to say to them?”

Dealing with a layoff is tough, but the hardest part is imagining the worry, sorrow, and maybe even fear in your loved ones. So, the million dollar question - one that matters the most but is talked about the least - how do you break the news to your spouse, family, and even your children?

Be Honest

We know it’s hard, but the last thing you want to do is to lie or hide the situation. Be honest, but be smart about it. Here’s how.

Have the Conversation when You are Ready Similar to any difficult conversations, in order to effectively communicate, you must first process the emotions first. Speak with someone you trust who is calm, empathetic, a good listener, professional, but not directly attached to your situation.

That is why Jenny has decided to call her coach and not her family when she first received the news. This allows her the time and mental space to plan out the conversation with a trusted professional.

Be Factual & Realistic When conveying the message, try to be as factual and realistic as possible.

  • What I need: co-create a “safe emotional harbour” with your loved ones. Let them know you may react/ respond to things slower than usual as you are still sinking in both logically and emotionally. Be honest if you need more time or a break.

  • What we need: share your initial financial runway analysis to ease of their practical concerns, especially with your spouse

  • What you need: listen to your spouse/ loved ones if they have any concern or suggestions for you

Remember this, no matter how they react, it comes from a place of love. What most of them want is to be there for you and to support you through this transition.

Communicating a layoff to your loved ones is one of the least talked about on this topic. We know how hard it is, but let’s make this an opportunity to trust, support, and bond.

Interested in more career transition advice? Stay tuned by subscribing to our newsletter at as we continue to support our community and loved ones to rebuild their emotional resilience for a brighter future.

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