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|Whatever employers like to call it, being laid off, downsized, restructured,
right sized, or destaffed, the result is the same youre 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
Here are few tips to help you handle a lay off:
||DONT TAKE IT PERSONALLY. Being laid off is not about you or your contribution to your company.
Its about your companys need to reduce expenses. Its
not about your failure; its about your company's failure to
raise enough money to support all of its workers. Often, very talented
people are laid off.
||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.
||ACT SMART. Dont panic!
Dont 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. Dont 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.
||DONT THREATEN RETALIATION. Dont 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,
youll only force him or her to dig their heals in deeper and
will be less willing to comply with your requests.
||CONTACT A LAWYER. If you believe you have
been laid off illegally, immediately contact a lawyer who has experience
in employment law. Dont 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
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
companys employee handbook.
||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 its worded to your approval and that it doesnt
harm you in the eyes of your colleagues and possible future employers.
||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.
||DETERMINE YOUR EMPLOYMENT VALUE. Know what youre 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?" Dont expect that employers can easily determine this
from a review of your resume or from an interview they often
cant! Dont take chances, tell them what value you have
||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.
||PREPARE A MONTHLY BUDGET. Do
this immediately! Even if youve 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 dont know how long it will be before youre
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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