What should you do when you get laid off? It’s tempting to say good riddance to the company that caused your heartache. However, it is better to leave without issues that may distract you from your future job search.
When you’re unexpectedly laid off from work, start with this list.
1. Ask about your last salary and other benefits
Ask about your last paycheck before you leave. Try using a final salary calculator like OnPay to get an idea. Depending on the circumstances and situation, a company may pay your last paycheck on the day you are fired.
If you are part of a mass layoff, check out the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act. This US labor law states that you must receive a written notice 60 days before a mass layoff if you meet certain conditions. You can check the law online to know your rights as an employee.
Also, check your benefits, such as unused paid time off (PTO), vacation leaves, and sick days. You may not be entitled to payment for unused leaves, but read your state’s laws to be sure. Your company policy may also have provisions that pay you for any unused vacation or sick time.
2. Check and return working equipment
One of the first things you should do before returning your work PC is to check personal files. If traces of your personal life are on your work computer, back them up and delete them. Be sure to return laptops, mobile phones, and other work equipment in good condition.
If you have projects or outputs on your work computer, download them for your portfolio. You can use them as work samples when you start job hunting. There’s no better time than now to learn design tips to make your portfolio look amazing.
3. Ask for Good References
Your former employer may be your ticket to a new job. If you have a good relationship with your boss or a leader in the company, ask for a reference. A good reference will come in handy when applying to another company.
Keep copies of your performance reviews, and request them if you don’t have one. A good performance review can remind you of your abilities when you feel discouraged. If you’ve got outstanding feedback, use that information to stand out in your next job interview.
4. Give yourself time
Breaking up is not an easy experience to swallow. Some also experience anxiety and depression. When this happens, remember that you are not alone and help is always available. It would help if you gave yourself time to grieve and process what happened.
Enjoy the downtime and treat it as an opportunity for extended vacation. Connect with friends, and try picking up a new hobby. Eventbrite lets you search for events near you. You can attend parties, cultural events, concerts and training online or in person.
Stay away from social media if it only worsens your negative feelings. Other apps can help you in this difficult time. If you feel stressed, download a mental health app like Headspace, which enables you to practice mindfulness and meditation.
However, if you feel anxious or depressed for a long time, seek help from a mental health practitioner. BetterHelp connects you with a licensed therapist online. When you avail their services, you can easily reach them via phone, video call, text or chat.
5. Organize Your Finances
How many months can your savings, investments and final pay last you? Take an inventory of your financial situation so you know how to plan for future expenses. You can use these free and customizable finance templates to set a budget and save money.
You should have set aside an emergency fund for at least three months. Hopefully, your job search won’t take long. But if it does, try using apps that will help you find side jobs quickly. You can even earn on the side while waiting for your big break.
6. Apply for Unemployment Benefits
Check if you qualify for unemployment benefits. These benefits provide temporary financial support while you search for a new job. Each state has an unemployment insurance program, so you should research your state’s guidelines to find out if you qualify. Visit the US Department of Labor website to view contact details for state unemployment insurance offices.
7. Compare Health Insurance Plans
If your job provides you with health insurance, check to see if you can keep it. The federal government website Healthcare.gov mentions that you have two options: Enroll in a Marketplace plan or sign up for COBRA.
The Marketplace lets you choose from a variety of private health insurance companies.