How To Get Laid Off Gracefully

One of the most shocking conversations you will ever have in your job is when your boss tells you that you’re done working for the company. Maybe it’s a layoff that completely blindsides you. Maybe it’s a performance-related issue that you were aware of.

No matter the cause, the actual event can be a total shocker. While getting fired and getting laid off may involve different things, it’s important to handle the situation professionally either way. And one way to do that is to prepare for it before it happens. So if you’re concerned at all about losing your job in the near future, this is well worth a read.

Because as challenging as it may be to stay focused and present in the conversation, that’s your goal. It might be difficult to think of it as such, but this is an important business discussion. Think negotiating your severance or termination package.

Here are seven tips on how to handle yourself and what to say when you’re at a loss for words.

Laid Off? 7 Rules for a Graceful Exit
  1. Don’t Freak Out. …
  2. Negotiate Your Exit. …
  3. Fine-Tune Your To-Do List. …
  4. Save Your Contacts. …
  5. Be Kind to Yourself. …
  6. Update Your Networking Protocol. …
  7. Drink Responsibly.

Big Difference Between Laid Off And Fired

First of all, there’s a big difference between getting fired and getting laid off. In addition, there’s a significant difference between a person who gets laid off by surprise versus someone who is able to negotiate a severance.

Most of what you read in the papers is about people getting laid off due to a “reduction in force,” or RIF as many companies call it nowadays. Getting fired is almost always due to cause.

You may have sent out a blast e-mail with company secrets by mistake. Or perhaps you said some sexist joke about women when the female HR manager so happened to walk by. Whatever the case, you don’t want to get fired, nor should you quit if you don’t have to.

People don’t get fired because there’s a big recession and the CEO says 10% of its employees must go. People don’t get fired when there is a reorg. These people are getting laid off without cause. As a result, a severance is often given.

Reasons Not To Quit Or Get Fired

The vast majority of workers quit their jobs when they want to start a new job, go back to school, etc. Most people don’t think there’s any other way. It’s a herd mentality.

On the other hand, those who learn how to negotiate a severance are open minded individuals. They are not afraid to think outside the box. To help explain why it’s not ideal to quit or get fired, here are some unexpected negatives.

Avoid These Mistakes To Get Laid Off

* Do not write anything in e-mail that could condemn you to getting fired. Assume all your e-mail are read. If you are embarrassed to read your e-mail on the front page of the newspaper, the e-mail is not legitimate and should not be written.

* Do not abuse your corporate card or any channel where you can spend the firm’s money. You should never abuse your corporate card anyway. All expenditure must be above board.

* Do not harass your colleagues. This is a given. Now is not the time to go hit on the hot tamale at the other end of the floor. Many companies have a non-interoffice dating policy.

* Do not come in late or leave early more than once a week. Companies can terminate you for being incessantly late, so don’t slack too much.

* Read your employee handbook. There are many dangers you must avoid that are contained in the hand book.

how to get laid off gracefully

3 things managers should know before laying someone off


What should you never say during a layoff?

What not to say:
  • Don’t talk about the weather or initiate small talk.
  • Don’t leave room for hope if there isn’t any.
  • Don’t identify negative employee behavior if the layoff is due to company downsizing.
  • Don’t talk about your own feelings, like how difficult this decision is for you.

How do you say laid off nicely?

Remember to speak slowly and calmly. Manager: I’ve called this meeting because I must unfortunately inform you that your position with the company is being eliminated. We do not have another position for you. This means you are being laid off and Human Resources will work with you to complete your transition.

What is a good reason to be laid off?

The most common reasons why employees are laid off include cost-cutting, staff reduction, relocation, buyouts, and mergers. However, company owners can choose other options instead of terminating their employees’ contracts.

What is the first thing you do when you get laid off?

Some suggestions worth investigating:
  1. Ask HR for a “laid-off” letter.
  2. Ask about insurance coverage.
  3. Check on your final paycheck.
  4. Review your 401k contributions.
  5. Ask about severance.
  6. File for unemployment.
  7. Put the internet to work for you.
  8. Update your resume.

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