What To Do If You're Being Laid Off
 
Handling a job Lay Off
Resume Writing Tip
Starting a Business
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Whatever employers like to call it, being laid off, downsized, restructured, right sized, or destaffed, the result is the same – you’re out of a job. And regardless of why, being laid off from a job can be a traumatic, stressful experience, one that can cause you to lose sight of your own self-worth, your value as a worker and provider for your family, and even your career direction and purpose. The bad news is that it will probably happen to most of us during our careers, including you. The good news is that with a little preparation and smart thinking you can lessen its blow and more easily make the transition to the next chapter in your work life.

Here are few tips to help you handle a lay off:
1. DON’T TAKE IT PERSONALLY. Being laid off is not about you or your contribution to your company. It’s about your company’s need to reduce expenses. It’s not about your failure; it’s about your company's failure to raise enough money to support all of its workers. Often, very talented people are laid off.
2. RECOGNIZE THE GRIEF PROCESS. Psychologists agree, there is a fairly common process that people go through after being laid off. The process typically involves five steps in this order: denial, anger, sadness, bargaining and finally acceptance. Recognize these steps, accept them, and work hard at getting yourself to the last step as quickly as possible.
3. ACT SMART. Don’t panic! Don’t say or do anything that you might regret later. If there ever was a time to act professionally, this is it! Inform your employer that this is very unsettling news and that you need a few days to think before you can properly discuss this matter. Don’t say anything more! Ask for a written letter advising you that you have been laid off. If no written letter can be obtained, record on paper everything that was said to you by your employer, especially why you were laid off. Do not sign anything, such as a non-compete or non-disparagement agreement or waiver of your rights to sue. Do not agree to discuss anything at this time. Give yourself a few days to think so that you may properly respond to the situation.
4. DON’T THREATEN RETALIATION. Don’t think you can stop or reverse being laid off, or punish your employer by threatening revenge. In most cases, the terms of severance are negotiated exclusively by your employer and you. If you anger your employer with threats, especially groundless threats, you’ll only force him or her to dig their heals in deeper and will be less willing to comply with your requests.
5. CONTACT A LAWYER. If you believe you have been laid off illegally, immediately contact a lawyer who has experience in employment law. Don’t try to go it alone. Here are a few situations that could be considered illegal grounds for your dismissal. You were laid off…

Because your employer wanted to save accrued benefits.
Because you took time off for a legitimate illness or absence.
For serving on jury duty.
For joining a union.
For legal off-premise conduct.
For bringing forth health or safety violations at your work site.
For military duty.
Because you asked for or took a maternity leave.
Because someone objected to your age, sex, race, religion, or nationality.
For refusing a sexual advancement from a coworker or superior.
For filing a sexual harassment claim at work.
For filing a workers’ compensation claim.
Without proper advance notice (in the case of mass layoffs).
For alleged poor work performance and given no opportunity to improve.
In a manner contrary to policies and procedures as outlined in the company’s employee handbook.

6. REVIEW YOUR SEPARATION ANNOUNCEMENT. If appropriate, ask to review the announcement that your employer plans to distribute to employees and/or the public regarding your separation from the company. Make sure it highlights your accomplishments and that it’s worded to your approval and that it doesn’t harm you in the eyes of your colleagues and possible future employers.
7. PUT TOGETHER A COMPREHENSIVE JOB HUNTING CAMPAIGN. Redirect your energy and time into finding your next job. Work with a professional resume writer to update your resume. Use several strategies to find employment opportunities, such as:

Cold call employers to inquire about work.
Respond to "help wanted" ads (both in print and online).
Register with several employment recruiters (headhunters).
Notify everyone on your personal and professional network lists that you are available for employment.
Register with your local State Employment Service.
Register with your College Placement Office.
Contact all professional associations to which you belong to inquire about any job placement services that they may offer.
Join a job-hunting club to seek assistance and support.
Post your resume online.
Visit your local state sponsored One-Stop Career Center (check with your State Employment Service). From these centers, you can receive assistance with unemployment insurance, pension benefits, health insurance, job hunting, job referrals, resume writing, job training, and other related matters.

8. DETERMINE YOUR EMPLOYMENT VALUE. Know what you’re selling before you try to sell it! Conduct a thorough self-assessment and identify what "value" you can offer employers. In short, what talent (knowledge and skills) do you possess? Answer the question, "Why would an employer want to hire me?" or "What benefit will employers derive from hiring me?" Don’t expect that employers can easily determine this from a review of your resume or from an interview –they often can’t! Don’t take chances, tell them what value you have to offer.
9. DETERMINE YOUR MARKET WORTH. After determining your employment value (see above) you should then conduct some research or work with several employment recruiters or career guidance professionals to determine what salary level you can command, as well as what benefits are typically offered to someone with your talent and expertise. The combination of salary and benefits is your market worth.
10. PREPARE A MONTHLY BUDGET. Do this immediately! Even if you’ve got lots of money saved away for rainy days, you should prepare a monthly budget and get your finances in order. Identify all sources of income and expenses. Cut all unnecessary expenses, as you don’t know how long it will be before you’re employed again. Prepare a budget for at least the next 6-12 months. Make only the minimum payments on your credit card and other debts until you start receiving a paycheck again.
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