The end of the year is the most common time for employees to face layoffs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, mass layoffs are more common in December and January, most likely because companies face the end of fiscal calendars and need a way to quickly trim expenses. If you or someone you know has just lost a job, perhaps unexpectedly, it’s normal to fear the worst. It’s important to keep your wits about you and take the time to collect yourself before carefully looking at your finances and doing your best to get back on your feet.
“Save your email and phone contacts to network after leaving your job.”
The day you find out
For many, a layoff will come as a shock, and you will likely be asked to leave the premises immediately. It can be very emotionally jarring to face this without warning, but if possible, there are some tips that will be key to your success in the short term after being let go. Job search service Monster suggested saving your email addresses and phone numbers as the first step after you get the bad news. They noted that this may not be possible in some cases, as some companies require laid-off workers to be escorted out of the building. However, some will allow a few minutes to gather belongings. These contacts will be crucial in the weeks and even years following your termination, as you will still be able to network with former colleagues and stay apprised of new job opportunities.
After you find out you’ve been laid off, it may be possible to negotiate a larger severance package, according to U.S. News and World Report. While it may be hard to collect yourself enough to pull this off, you don’t really have much to lose in this situation. Some companies will be more apt to allow a larger severance deal if exiting employees sign what’s known as a general release form. This form absolves the company of any legal action taken by the exiting employee after they’ve been let go. Of course, it would not be wise to sign this if you believe you’ve been fired under illegal circumstances and would want to pursue legal action in the future.
Monster also stressed the importance of gathering all the necessary documents before leaving, including a letter confirming you were laid off, a letter of recommendation, your last paycheck and your COBRA confirmation. Perhaps most importantly, don’t panic or lose your cool. A layoff is hardly the worst that could happen to you. Seeking retribution from your employer in any way is never worth it, and can only make your life more difficult in the future.
Now that these crucial steps have been taken, it’s time for some soul-searching. Forbes contributor Joel Johnson compiled a list of essential questions worth asking after you lose your job. The most important: Do you even need another one? If you’re 55 or older, you may have enough saved up to retire early. If you’ve been diligently keeping a budget, you probably already know where you stand in this regard. Johnson also urged readers to utilize unemployment benefits if at all possible. Although there is a stigma surrounding the practice, unemployment assistance is a valuable resource that shouldn’t go unused. Unemployment benefits vary by state, but generally are available if you were previously employed for at least a year and are actively looking for a new job. If you meet your state’s eligibility requirements, you can expect a small but helpful weekly stipend while you begin your job search. Use CareerOneStop’s guide to learn the specifics of your state’s unemployment benefits program.
As you embark on your job search, remember to cut down on excessive spending and stay productive. Lifehacker compiled an extensive guide to trimming every bill imaginable, from electricity to water. Many services can offer savings after a simple phone call explaining your situation. Don’t forget to tweak your resume and stay focused on what’s ahead.
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