What to Do When You’re About to Be Laid Off

Sometimes you can see certain things coming before they happen. If it starts looking like your job might be in jeopardy there are some proactive things you can do to make the transition period shorter, less painful financially and more productive overall.

Here’s what to do when you’re about to be laid off.

Laid off

Reassess Your Budget

Hopefully, you’ve taken the advice of every financial expert out there who recommends setting aside an emergency fund of three to six months of your monthly expenses. You’ll be in much better shape financially if you’ve done this.

Either way though, the first thing you’re going to need to do is curb your spending so you can make the cash you have on hand, as well as your upcoming unemployment benefit, go as far as possible.

Cancel unused subscriptions. Let the pool service, gardener and housekeeper go for a while. Plan to eat at home more and eliminate all but one of your streaming services. Switch from a paid, ad-free plan, to the free one — if you have the choice.

Create a Strategy to Service Your Debt

This might also be a good time to do a credit card consolidation to lower your debt payments, reduce your overall interest rates and position yourself to pay your credit card debt off sooner. It’s key to do this while you’re still working so your income looks good to the prospective lender.

Talking to a credit counselor about your situation is a good idea as well. They can help you create a more workable budget based upon the money you have in place, your unemployment benefit and whatever other income you might still have.

Prepare to File an Unemployment Insurance Claim

Most layoffs qualify you for unemployment insurance payments. Although you have to wait until you’re officially laid off to apply, you can lay the groundwork in advance to reduce the amount of time it’ll take to get your claim in place.

Check the website of your state’s unemployment department to find out what the filing requirements are to be sure you meet them. Keep in mind it could take anywhere from 14 to 21 days for that first unemployment check to arrive, so ration your cash on hand accordingly.

Learn All You Can About the Severance Package

Will your health insurance still be paid for a while? Can you take your 401(k) with you? Will you be afforded severance pay? What happens to your vacation time; can it be cashed in?

Other severance-related concerns you’ll want to follow up on include tuition payments, outplacement services (resumes, career coaching, job search help), and anything else promised to you.

Do some digging to see what your state mandates in that regard and make sure the company lives up to it — or exceeds it.

Put Out Some Feelers

It’s important to be as discreet as possible with this one just in case you aren’t on the list of people to be axed. You don’t want to give anyone at your current job any ideas in that regard.

First and foremost, though, do not conduct job search activities at work, or use company assets to do so. This could be grounds for immediate termination — you might be required to forego your severance package as well.

Taking these five steps when you think you’re about to be laid off will set you up to weather the transition period in the best way possible. It’s also important to remember layoffs don’t diminish your worth as a human being nor as an employee.

It’s a temporary thing and you’ll get through it.