Steps to Take When You Are Laid Off From Your Job
Sometimes we find ourselves in situations we didn’t think we would ever be in. What is now being called the “Great Layoff of 2020,” COVID-19 continues to affect personal and professional lives all across the United States. Whether your company was forced to downsize or temporarily close, having to re-start your career can be intimidating. If your termination papers are set in front of you, make sure you take your time before you sign off on the deal. See what you can negotiate and even talk with a lawyer to get a clear understanding of where you stand with your company. As you start to adjust to the new reality, take a look at these five steps that can help you through these unfamiliar territories.
1. Take a deep breath
Even if you might have had a feeling your company was going to make cuts in your department, you can never be fully prepared to hear that you are being fired or laid off. It is important to take some time and process the news before you make any decisions or act on your emotions. It is always scary to hear that life as you know it is changing, and your normal source of income is in jeopardy. Allowing yourself a short period of time for personal reflection puts you in a better position for the steps ahead.
2. Take a step back
Sometimes people talk about their professional careers and mention that they were laid off or fired from their previous jobs. It was this forced change in their life that led them to figure out their true passion in life. Maybe it doesn’t go as far as a career change but realigning your goals for the future after a recent adjustment can be beneficial both personally and professionally.
3. Check on severance pay
Depending on the terms in which you were terminated from your position, there may be severance pay as well as severance benefits available to you. If you have been laid off from your job, it is likely that your employer offers severance pay, however, it is not required. Talking with your human resources department and understanding what you are eligible for can lead to paychecks even after your final day in the office. If you find yourself struggling to pay your monthly bills it may be time to dip into other savings accounts. Here we encourage our clients to open an emergency savings fund separate from their everyday account. This could be a second checking account or a high-yield savings account, so you have something to lean on when times get tough. If you are single with no dependents or no mortgage, try setting aside enough funds to have 3-4 months’ worth of living expenses. Add in marriage, mortgage payments, and dependents and you are better off with 6-9 months emergency fund.
4. Register for unemployment
Signing up for unemployment should be one of the first things you do after you are released from your position. Your eligibility, the amount you receive and the length of time you are covered differs depending on where you live. Research your state’s department of Labor and the unemployment office to see exact steps you can follow in order to take complete advantage of your situation.
5. Start researching for new opportunities
Even though you might not think there are many opportunities out there amidst the pandemic, you may be surprised to see that companies are still looking for prospects. Making connections with employers at companies you are interested in, even if there are no current positions available, can be helpful post pandemic.