What Next When You Are Laid Off?

getting fired

Layoffs often come as an unpleasant surprise. One minute you have a job, and the next you are unemployed. Even when you have the knowledge ahead of the time it will happen, knowing that you are one of the people your company is cutting off is painful news that can leave you staggering. Even the best-prepared person will have trouble absorbing the blow of a layoff. There are several measures you can take to get back on your balance sooner.

Negotiate Severance Payment

Your employer will most likely pay you some severance money, but it never hurts to negotiate for a better amount. Most companies will be willing to negotiate especially if they want you to sign a general release, which waives your right to make any legal claims in exchange for a severance payment. Use a legal advisor if you are not confident about your negotiation skills.

Get Your Finances in Order

Do not wait until you have used all your severance money and savings to plan. Take stock of your financial needs, savings and other sources of income. Make necessary adjustments such as cutting expenditure, looking for a part-time job or selling off some items to clear off urgent bills. Financial experts advise saving enough for at least six months of your living expenses, the average time it takes to find a new job.

Conquer Your Emotions

In her interview published in Forbes Magazine, founder and president of Five O’Clock Club, one of the best career coaching organizations, Kate Wendleton advises dealing with your emotions as a critical step. Take the time off to think and absorb the news before sharing with friends and extended family. Talking to people too hurriedly can result in overload of advice and information, which can leave you confused. The worry exhibited by well-meaning family and friends can also drive you to panic. Find ways to break the news to your immediate family positively. For example, instead of saying “I got fired”, you can say “I am now ready and excited for the next step in my life after losing my job.” Be sure not to lie and seek help if you are unable to deal with all the emotions. Too much panic around you will wear you down further.

Update Your Networks

Update your résumé and online status on your professional profiles such as LinkedIn. Talk to people in your profession or the companies you wish to join. Ensure all your contacts know you are looking for a job. You can also ask your former employer to recommend you to other employers in the industry. After a good rest, seek a part-time job and offer to volunteer or intern in your companies of interest.

Use Available Resources

Utilize all resources at your disposal, such as filing for unemployment immediately to access any available benefits. While everyone is hopeful they will not take long to find a job or they have enough savings to sustain them, it is not possible to predict when an opportunity will come your way. Drop your résumé at a recruitment agency and sign up for job notification emails, texts and other forms of updates.


Keep in mind that many good people have lost their jobs before you, and they survived. While a layoff is a tough break, it does not mean you are a failure. Depending on how you prepare and handle it, you will do fine and bounce back.