Laid Off? It’s Going To Be OK.

Photo by Fabian Møller on Unsplash

1. Be kind to yourself

2. Speak to HR

  • When will I be paid until? You need to know, to plan your budgets accordingly.
  • How will I be paid? Often your final payment is sent by check, even if you’re normally paid by direct deposit. This is important to know as you could receive the money later than you’d expect.
  • Will I be paid out for any unused PTO/leave? Depending on the company it’s unlikely, but always good to ask. Also, check your employee handbook and/or contract to see what it says about unused PTO.
  • Will I be paid any sort of severance? Again unlikely, but doesn’t hurt to ask. Also good to refer to your employee handbook or contract.
  • How long will I receive healthcare coverage? Particularly if you have active medical needs so that you can make the most of the coverage while you have it.
  • What will happen to other benefits? This could include stock options, 401k/retirement or any other benefits tied to your employment.
  • Can I get a reference letter? This will be needed for future job hunting and also for unemployment. Request that the letter specifies that you were laid off (as opposed to fired).
  • Can I get a copy of my past performance reviews? If you don’t already have these, request them for future job applications.

3. Apply for unemployment and other support

4. Minimize outgoings

  • Save on food: It’s a big expense, but that means there are ways to save money. Shop cheaper — generic brands, Aldi. Be extra vigilant about waste. Be wary of bulk purchases — it’s not always the best choice.
  • Reduce unnecessary spending: Review anything that’s a ‘want’ — especially subscriptions which you pay automatically (Netflix, Amazon, Hulu etc). You don’t have to cut it all out; keep a few nice things and cut the rest.
  • Consolidate debts: If you have debts like credit cards, personal loans, car loans etc., look into consolidating. A debt consolidation loan will clear off a number of debts so you have a single payment, usually at a much lower interest rate. This will reduce your monthly minimum payments. You can also look into a balance transfer for credit cards, which can also offer a much lower interest rate and therefore monthly payment.
  • Ask for help: Get in touch with all the companies you regularly pay or owe money to, such as credit cards, cable, cell phone and electric/gas. See what options you have. You might be able to move onto a cheaper deal or get a lower interest rate on your credit card. It doesn’t hurt to ask and see what your options are.

5. Make the most of what you’ve got

6. Find an interim job

7. Focus on your job search

8. Take time to reflect




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Jacob Shaw

Jacob Shaw

Money, productivity and career. Visit

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