5 Tips to Prepare for Your Layoff

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Chances are that you or someone you know has experienced a layoff at some point. No matter how stable and safe your career might seem, getting the so-called pink slip can happen to anyone. Indeed, the 2021 economic crisis and lockdown has been the epitome of unexpected. 

No one knows yet when the economy will be significantly restarted, but it eventually will return, and some people has already went back to office. If you were caught unprepared for unemployment, it would be wise to use this time to think about how you can be ready for it in the future:

1. Keep Your Resume Up to Date

If you are busy with work, it is easy just to file away your resume and forget it even exists for years at a time. Why would you search for a new job if your current position is fulfilling, lucrative, and stable? The answer is that you never know what is around the corner, and it’s always better to be prepared, just in case. So no matter what your job situation is, keep your résumé up to date and your eye on new opportunities. It never hurts to look, and it will help ease your stress if you do get laid off.

2. Start an Emergency Fund

Whether you are just starting out in your career or a seasoned veteran, it’s smart to have a just-in-case emergency fund. Ideally, financial planners recommend having three to six months’ worth of monthly living expenses in it. However, the goal is to set aside as much as is feasibly possible. And whatever you do with your other money, keep that particular fund in a very secure and liquid place where you can easily and quickly access it. Don’t put it in a long-term FD where you’ll incur penalties if you remove it prematurely—or use it to buy a stock you think will appreciate fast.

3. Negotiate

Find out what your company policy is for severance packages. If possible, see if you can also find out what other people who have been laid off have gotten. Do not be afraid to sit down and negotiate some sort of severance package. If your company is folding due to financial issues, that might not be possible. Chances are, though, if you bring your negotiating skills to the table, you could walk away with a little bit of a cushion to help you through the next few months. It never hurts to ask, and should at least try. Some items to negotiate for: extra severance, health insurance coverage, outplacement assistance.

4. Network

Like keeping your resume current and staying on top of new opportunities, networking is something you should be doing whether you are gainfully employed or newly laid off. Invite contacts to coffee or lunch, attend events and meet new people, and make sure you are keeping your name out there. You never know what opportunities could come out of a conversation you have at an event. As the saying goes, it’s not what you know, it’s whom you know. Continuing to network will give you a leg up if you find yourself laid off and looking for work.

5. Don’t Panic

Losing your job can be a traumatic experience. Your financial stability is in question, your future is unknown, and searching for a new job might seem daunting. One of the most important things to remember when you are newly laid off is to take deep breaths, don’t panic, and remember that it will get better. Set up a schedule for yourself so you don’t feel adrift during the day, stay busy applying for jobs and networking, and take some time out to remind yourself that as long as you are looking for work, something will come along. 

The Bottom Line

Being laid off from your job is one of life’s major high-stress events, but there are steps you can take to make the transition a little less rocky. Make sure you have some savings, keep your resume up to date, reach out to your contacts, and negotiate severance pay if possible. Remember that a layoff is a great excuse to take stock of your life and go after what you’re most passionate about.

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