What To Do When Laid Off

Make sure you’re eligible for unemployment

One of the first things a laid-off worker should do is ensure they are entitled to unemployment benefits through their state’s department of labor. Generally, if employees lose their job through no fault of their own, they can file for unemployment compensation.

  1. Use your connections to move into another field. If your whole industry has taken a hit this past year, it might be time to start branching out into other types of work. …
  2. Look for industries that are experiencing high demand. …
  3. Check online job boards for contract and part-time work.

Request a ‘Laid-Off Letter’ from Human Resources

Assuming you have not been terminated for cause, but, rather, your job has been eliminated for reasons outside your influence — restructuring, economic reversals, mergers, buyouts, relocations, and so on — a layoff letter explaining the circumstances to you (and prospective employers) most likely will be part of your farewell package.

Read it carefully for errors or omissions. If the letter gets a significant detail relating to your division wrong, or it overlooks an important contribution made by you or your team, do not hesitate to point it out and ask, politely, for a revision.

If you don’t receive a layoff letter, ask for one. It’s one thing to tell prospective employers that you were part of a reduction-in-force, and quite another to be able to provide evidence that you were not simply fired.

On that note, the Human Resources department will not have to start from scratch. The internet offers lots of well-reviewed layoff letter templates to help get them started.

Beyond a simple layoff letter, “Ask for a recommendation or referral from your previous employer,” says Lilia Stoyanov, CEO of Transformity, an HR software and freelance platform.

Review Your 401(k) and/or Pension Plans

If you had a 401(k) with your former employer, you have options.

  • Leave it in your former employer’s plan. If you have at least $5,000 in your account, chances are you can let it sit invested right where it is. Consider this a temporary solution.
  • If your next employer offers a 401(k) plan, find out whether you have the option to consolidate your old plan with the new one. If so, you’ll get your retirement investments back under one roof without suffering tax penalties.
  • Open a rollover IRA (individual retirement account), and drop you old 401(k) there. You can choose from a wide variety of investment options — stocks, bonds, mutual funds, real estate investment trusts, and so on — or you may simply select a “lifecycle fund,” which bases investments on your target retirement date.
  • Cash out. We mention this only because it is an option, although it’s a lousy one. Not only will you injure your retirement plan, perhaps beyond repair, you will pay a premium for grabbing the money now: federal (and, where applicable), state, and local income taxes will be due on the lump sum, plus a 10% penalty for early withdrawal.
  • If your company offered a traditional defined-benefit plan — that is, you work a certain number of years at a certain salary level, and at retirement you can expect a predictable monthly payout — you may have options here, too.

    Much of your decision will pivot on how old you are and how long you’ve been with the company. For those not fully vested — that is, they weren’t with the employer long enough to qualify for full retirement benefits — it might be wise to take a lump-sum payout, if offered … but don’t spend it! Instead, invest it in a rollover IRA and let it grow.

    Closer to retirement? If you’re vested and research indicates your former company is on firm financial footing, and you fancy the idea of regular payments, you could be happier waiting for your annuity to kick in.

    Life After Layoff: 40 Ideas to Motivate + Inspire During a Job Search

    Laid off and need to stay positive and motivated during your job search? These ideas for life after layoff can help. There’s no point trying to sugarcoat it. Being laid off is never a pleasant experience, and we all know it. But just like any of life’s hardest moments, a layoff can also be

    Laid Off From Work? Here’s 7 Things To Do ASAP


    How do I get a job fast after being laid off?

    5 Ways to Finding a New Job after Being Laid Off
    1. 1) Don’t rush into your job search. Unless you are really clear about where you want to be and what will work for you – do not rush it. …
    2. 2) Evaluate your options creatively. …
    3. 3) Don’t accept the first job offer you get. …
    4. 4) Don’t give in to fear. …
    5. 5) Stay Positive. …
    6. Conclusion.

    Is laid off better than fired?

    Being laid off means you have lost your job due to changes that the company has decided to make on its end. The difference between being laid off and being fired is that if you are fired, the company considers that your actions have caused the termination. If you are laid off, you didn’t necessarily do anything wrong.

    How do you mentally deal with a layoff?

    9 questions to ask when being laid off
    • When is my last day? …
    • When will I receive my last paycheck? …
    • Will I get paid for unused vacation time? …
    • Will I get a severance package? …
    • What happens to my bonuses or commissions? …
    • How long will I receive healthcare coverage? …
    • What are my 401(k) options?

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