When you’ve been laid off, it’s normal to feel a range of emotions. You may feel scared, anxious, and even a little lost.
Figure out what’s next with these eight steps to take after you’ve been laid off.
1. If you’ve been laid off, you should first take a deep breath and try to relax.
Feeling upset, scared, and angry is expected when you suddenly lose your job. But it’s important to remember that getting laid off doesn’t mean you’re a poor worker. Sometimes, companies have to make tough decisions, and layoffs are simply a part of the business.
2. Review your severance package.
You’re not automatically entitled to any particular benefits when laid off. However, many companies offer some form of severance package to those who have been let go. This can include a few weeks or months of salary, continued health insurance coverage, and assistance finding a new job.
If your employer has laid you off, it’s important to find out what benefits you may be entitled to. Your company’s human resources department should be able to give you more information.
You may also want to consult with an attorney to determine your rights. An attorney can also help you negotiate a better severance package if you feel you’re not being treated fairly.
3. The next step is to assess your financial situation.
How much money do you have in savings? Do you have any other sources of income? If not, you may need to start thinking about how to make ends meet.
Start by filing unemployment benefits as soon as possible.
You may wonder if you’re eligible for unemployment benefits if you’ve been laid off. The good news is that you will be eligible for unemployment compensation in most cases. However, you should know a few things before you file your claim.
First, you’ll need to have worked for your employer for at least a year. If you’ve been with your company for less than a year, you may still be eligible for unemployment benefits, but they will likely be reduced.
Second, you’ll need to have worked a certain number of hours per week to qualify. The number of hours required varies from state to state but is typically between 20 and 30.
Finally, you must be able to prove that you were laid off through no fault of your own. If you were fired for cause, such as misconduct or poor performance, you will likely not be eligible for unemployment benefits.
When you meet the unemployment eligibility requirements after being laid off
If you think you meet the eligibility requirements, the next step is to file a claim with your state’s unemployment office. You’ll need to provide basic information, such as your name, address, and Social Security number. You’ll also need to provide your employment history for the past year or so.
Once you’ve filed your claim, a claims examiner will review it. If they approve your eligibility, you will begin receiving benefits within a few weeks. The amount you receive will be based on your previous earnings.
You can contact your state’s unemployment office if you have any questions about filing for unemployment benefits or need help with your claim. They will be able to provide you with the information and assistance you need.
Build up your emergency fund if you received a small windfall from a severance package. This will give you a cushion to fall back on if you encounter unexpected expenses during your time between jobs.
Review or make a budget and stick to it.
Check out this article for helpful tips on stretching your emergency funds with a crisis budget.
Once you know how much money you have coming in, you can start to plan how to spend it. Make sure to account for housing, food, and transportation costs. This will help you make the most of your limited resources.
Cut back on unnecessary expenses.
Now is not the time to be indulging in luxuries. Are you having trouble figuring out what a luxury is, or are you spending when you feel like you shouldn’t? You may need to evaluate your relationship with money.
For many of us, our jobs are how we define our worth. We receive regular paychecks and use that money to support ourselves and our families. Losing a job can lead to feelings of insecurity and self-doubt.
It’s important to evaluate your relationship with money when you’ve been laid off. Do you view money as a source of security or a source of stress? How do you handle financial setbacks? Are you able to live within your means?
Answering these questions can help you better understand your relationship with money.
Working with a financial advisor or counselor can help you develop a plan to get your finances back on track. They can also help you set goals for the future and provide support during this difficult time.
Consider your debt.
If you have any outstanding debt, you’ll need to make a plan to continue paying it off.
Start by prioritizing debts that impact your housing, transportation, and communication. These debts are essential to your daily life and should be your top priority.
Consider consolidating your debts into one monthly payment, simplifying your finances and making it easier to stay on top of your debt.
Stay in communication with your creditors. They may be able to work with you to create a payment plan that fits your budget.
Seek out financial assistance programs. Some government and nonprofit organizations assist people who have lost their jobs.
Managing your debt after being laid off may mean making sacrifices in other areas of your budget and calling your creditors, but it’s important to continue managing it.
Find ways to make money in between jobs
Finding alternative income streams may be especially important if your severance package is short and your emergency fund is too small.
Starting a side hustle like driving for Uber or Lyft can be done on your terms while you consider your next full-time professional moves. Remember, some income is better than no income.
Talk to a financial advisor or money coach
If you’re unsure how to start managing your new financial situation, talking to a financial advisor or money coach can help you assemble the right plan. They can also help you make sense of your options and make the best decisions for your financial future.
4. Assess your health insurance situation
Losing your job is never easy. Not only do you have to worry about how you’re going to make ends meet, but you also have to think about your health insurance. If you’re lucky, you may be able to continue your employer-sponsored health insurance through COBRA. However, there are some things you need to consider before you make your decision.
For starters, COBRA can be expensive. The premium is typically the same as what you were paying when you were employed, plus a 2% administrative fee. That means if you were paying $500 per month for health insurance, you would now be responsible for $510 per month. And that’s just for the premium! You will also be liable for any deductibles, copays, and coinsurance that you would have been responsible for under your original plan.
Additionally, COBRA coverage is only available for a limited time. In most cases, you can only continue your coverage for up to 18 months. After that, you will be responsible for finding your own health insurance.
The good news is you may qualify for subsidies that will help you cover the cost of health insurance provided through the healthcare marketplace. Because job loss is a qualifying life event, you can purchase insurance outside of the open enrollment period.
Finally, consider whether or not you need health insurance. If you’re young and healthy, you may be able to get by without it. However, if you have any preexisting medical conditions, you will want to ensure you are covered.
5. Once you have a handle on your finances, it’s time to start looking for another job.
It’s tough to know what’s next after being laid off. You may feel lost and confused, not sure where to turn or what your next steps should be. But don’t despair; there are things you can do to get back on track and find a new job.
Here are a few tips to help you start the job hunt after a layoff.
1. Take some time to assess your situation.
Step back and assess your situation before making any decisions. What are your financial needs? Are you looking for the same type of work or something different? What kind of job are you looking for? What are your skills and experience? Once you have a clear idea of what you need and want, you can start looking for opportunities that fit.
2. Network, network, network.
One of the best ways to find a new job is through networking. Talk to friends, family, and acquaintances to see if they know of any open positions or can put in a good word for you. Attend industry events and job fairs, and reach out to companies you’re interested in working for. The more people you talk to, the greater your chances of finding a new job.
3. Get your resume in order.
Take some time to update your resume and tailor it to your desired job. Include any relevant skills and experience, and be sure to highlight your accomplishments.
4. Start applying for jobs.
Use job search engines to find openings that match your skills and interests, and don’t be afraid to apply for positions that are a little out of your comfort zone.
5. Prepare for interviews.
If you’re lucky enough to land an interview, congratulations! Time to prep. Research the company ahead of time, and practice answering common interview questions. Damian Birkel, a career coach and HarperCollins Leadership Author, notes research as the most critical part of preparing for a new job. Things like annual company reports can be “an absolute goldmine that most employees never read.” The more prepared you are, the greater your chances of impressing the hiring manager, standing out against other candidates, and getting the job.
You can explore a few other options if you’re having trouble finding a job. You could start your own business, return to school, or even take some time off to travel or volunteer.
6. While job-hunting, make sure to take care of yourself physically and mentally.
Eat healthy meals, exercise, and get plenty of rest. It’s also important to stay positive and remember that you will eventually find another job. The things you do following your layoff can also impact your future job search. Birkel suggests noting what you do during this off-time and formulating a bridge statement, described as “a neutral, unemotional statement that showcases what you’ve been doing since you left your job to make yourself a better candidate.” This includes philanthropic work, research within the industry, or networking.
7. Once you’ve landed a new job, set some financial goals that include negotiating your salary
You’ve done a lot of work to increase your financial clarity like tracking your expenses and creating a plan plan. This will help you stay on track and avoid getting into debt. Also, being laid off should not impact your salary negotiations. Understand your worth as an employee and be prepared, as Birkel suggests, to “stay firm when discussing salary.”
8. Remember that it’s not the end of the world.
Losing your job can be a tough pill to swallow. It can feel like your entire world has been turned upside down. But it’s important to remember that being laid off is not the end of the world.
Here are a few things to keep in mind if you’ve recently been let go from your job:
Remember, it’s not personal. In most cases, being laid off has nothing to do with you as an individual. It’s usually a result of factors beyond your control, such as company downsizing or budget cuts.
It’s not permanent. Just because you’ve been laid off from your current job doesn’t mean you’ll never find another one. In fact, this can be an opportunity to pursue a new career path you’re passionate about.
It’s not the end of the world. Yes, losing your job can be a major setback. But it’s not the end of the world. You will get through this and come out stronger on the other side.