Have you been in a layoff or want to help your friend or spouse through these tough times?
Is everyone telling you that this may be the best for you, or are you just trying hard to find the silver lining?
There are deep emotions and a truck load of advice around once you are in a layoff, there is confusion and sadness too when a lifestyle and routine that you had been so used to for that many years suddenly does not exist and it almost feels like you are starting anew. How do you feel? What would you do? This article takes a close look on what you could be doing immediately after a layoff to ensure a smooth transition into a different life setting when you feel you are in unsettled waters and taking control is not that easy.
Getting a pink slip or just witnessing your friends go through a layoff in a company can be extremely stressful. It takes time and strength to overcome the feelings of depression, tension or anger. Also at times you simply don’t know how to react to the news, either your own layoff or your spouse or your friend’s.
Don’t feel frustrated if you are confused about your emotions. It is OK to vent out your feelings either through angry verbal expressions with your spouse or your close friends, whatever you do just don’t get cocooned in a gloomy shell. Talk it off; with friends of family or even with strangers on the YouTube – it works.
Deal with your emotions first and then begin on the planning step – what needs to be taken care of first?
Consoling Friends or Spouse
If your close friend or spouse has been in a recent layoff, don’t try to mask emotions by always saying “oh, there is something better for you out there.” Sure enough that is a very positive statement, but give them some time to reflect on how they are feeling. Be a good listener and ask them how you can be of help. Right now they seek someone to talk to, an outburst or a heart-to-heart talk might help them lighten the often felt complex emotions of shame or depression. Then help them slowly towards building a positive outlook and offer tips and advice on moving forward with a positive attitude.
Evaluate your Priorities or Immediate Needs
Layoffs can be scary and can have major implications on your personal and financial life, if you have large liabilities with less assets stacked away in your “rainy days fund”. But then, being depressed and shutting yourself off for a long period would only do harm, the faster you are up on your feet planning and executing your action plans the sooner you will see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Layoffs could be one of the better turning points of your career if you were already stuck in that job and the new opportunities and possibilities open up for you leading your towards a more successful career path. But it depends on several factors, during the downturn or a recession time it may not be rank in the good events of your career or life.
Your immediate worry might be to land a new job; but as soon as you come to know about the layoff focus on your priorities.
What needs immediate attention? Health insurance, daily spending money or mortgage payment?
Spend time in finding out about your unemployment benefits (insurance and compensation) and medical insurance coverage with your employer’s HR.
If you are in the US, check out the websites of U.S. Department of Labor and U.S. Department of Labor Employment & Training Administration for the latest information on unemployment benefits.
In most cases in the US, the federal COBRA law protects you for 18 months after being laid off (provided there are more than 20 employees in your company), but find it out from your employer whether and for how long you would be covered under such a plan.
Some articles and tips on insurance after a layoff:
- Pensions and Health Care Coverage for Dislocated Workers -You can get pension and health coverage after you’re laid off.
- Mortgage Unemployment Insurance – Should you buy job-loss mortgage insurance?
Keep your Bridges Strong
With the necessities taken care of, it is time to write a goodbye Email to your friends, coworkers and manager in the company. This is an important step to maintain touch and strengthen your network with your ex-colleagues. There could be possible openings in the organization later on and if you have been diligent enough to keep the contact bridge strong, they’ll know who to tell about the new position as soon as they hear about it.
Seek Good References
Sooner or later you will land a new job and the previous work experience and references count and matter a lot. Do not be in the layoff-blues right now thereby ignoring this another important step before you are ready to pack up your stuff from the cubicle.
Ask for favorable references from your manager and a couple of team members. Get their personal Email addresses and contact numbers and later follow-up with them on how they could talk about your strengths and present an appropriate referral in future.
There are some additional tips on my previous post on Saying Goodbye to Work – The Right Way.
Now with that taken care of, it is time to be on your feet, some tips here:
- Don’t take too much time being in the “WHY ME” phase; the faster you move on the most beneficial would it be for you and your family.
- Don’t take it personally, layoffs are and have been the norm of 21st century workplace, there is no embarrassment in admitting a layoff and even if you do not see a silver lining anywhere right now, it is best to just keep moving on positively. Look back only to learn from your experiences not to feel dejected by them.
Some books which can guide you through layoff are:
- Reinventing Your Career: Surviving a Layoff and Creating New Opportunities by Stephen Adams
- The Disposable American: Layoffs and Their Consequences, by Louis Uchitelle