Given the state of our economy, there’s a good chance some of you may face a job layoff in the near future. No matter how it’s handled, a layoff is scary, emotional and frustrating. You may wonder what you did wrong, but don’t give it a second thought: the difference between a layoff and being fired is that the company you work for simply cannot afford to pay you any longer. While your first instinct may be to panic at the loss of your income, don’t. There are a number of things to do immediately upon being laid off.
Ask for a letter of recommendation. Be sure to ask for a letter of recommendation before you leave the office. This will be extremely helpful in finding your next job.
Severance pay. Did your employer offer a severance package? Severance pay typically depends on how long you’ve been with the company and can range anywhere from two weeks’ to six months’ pay. If you are offered a severance agreement, be sure to have a business attorney review it for any clauses that may prevent you from qualifying for unemployment benefits afterwards.
Unemployment benefits. Visit the Employment Security Commission for your state to see if you qualify for unemployment benefits. Eligibility depends on how long you worked for the company and is based on your income.
Protect your retirement. Did you have a company 401k? Contact your financial advisor or manager on the account to find out what you need to do to roll it over.
Sow seeds everywhere. As we’ve said before, most jobs-especially those most coveted-are not advertised. You simply have to meet the right person to direct you to them, so get started networking! Create an online portfolio of all your professional achievements and list your qualifications on any site that might attract companies seeking someone like you. Scan local newspapers and magazines for news of new product releases or company expansions and then seek out key people in the company to contact. Get information about a prominent organization member you would like to work for and ask them to grant you a ten-minute informational interview.
Don’t mistake unemployment for a vacation. You should never view yourself as “unemployed”, but rather a fully employed person in a temporary state of transition. Check out our post on networking to learn how to meet people that will lead you to your next job.
Being laid off is not fun, but the best thing you can do is to try to look at this experience as a great opportunity to make a fresh start with a new company. Good luck!
Photo by: hella.vela