Surviving a Layoff

Losing your job because you were laid off is not your fault – you did not do anything wrong. Dealing with a layoff can be stressful and emotional, so allow yourself the time to deal with your emotions, talk about how you feel, and remember: you are not alone.

As many sectors of the economy struggle, many people and families are being affected by layoffs. If you see a layoff in your future, or if you have already been affected by a layoff, the following tips and topics may helpful:

Working together, your financial institution may be able to help:

  • Set up a line of credit to tap into the equity in your home if that becomes necessary.
  • Consolidate your high-interest debts into one manageable loan.
  • Help you access community resources. You will find agencies ready and able to give you the planning, networking, and emotional support you need.

Some things you can do, perhaps with help from your employer’s human resources department:

  • Take a look at your health insurance policy so you will know what to expect. (COBRA coverage offers temporary health insurance benefits so you can maintain health coverage at group rates.)
  • File for unemployment benefits as soon as you receive word that you are out of work.
  • Weigh your needs and establish priorities before making any purchase, and rank-order expenses to be sure you are paying the most important bills first.
  • If you’re one of the many Americans directly affected by an economic downturn, call on us for help. We will help you take a look at your budget and review your debt situation. You even may be able to make interest-only payments on loans until things look brighter.

What’s the difference between a firing and a layoff?

Firings remove people, layoffs remove positions. People who are fired usually did something to deserve losing their job – theft, chronic absenteeism, refusing to do the assigned work, etc. People who are laid off did nothing wrong. Instead, their position or job was closed – usually, because there was not enough work, or because the company needs to rearrange positions to become more efficient.

What if I handled the news badly?

Everybody takes the news differently. Some clam up and say nothing. Some plead and beg. Some sob and cry. Some get angry and say things they later regret. Some are glad and cannot wait to start something new. There is really no wrong way to react. However, if you feel your initial reaction needs to be addressed, consider the following: The person who told you that you were being laid off is a professional. He or she knows losing a job is traumatic and that people react emotionally, not rationally. They try not to take your reaction personally.

After a week or so, if you still feel guilty about how you reacted when you were laid off, consider sending a short note to the person who delivered the news. Simply say you were surprised by the news and became emotional. Explain how you regret taking out your feelings on them. A short, hand-written apology says more about your character than all the tears and cursing of the original emotionally-charged meeting.

How am I going to tell my family?

Say it clearly and avoid being dramatic or timid. You might say, “I have sad news about my job. I have been laid off. The layoff is effective today and the decision is final.”

Stress that you were laid off, not fired. Layoffs are emotional and you will want to talk about it. Explain what happened – who laid you off, what they said, how you felt, what you said, etc. Do not be afraid to mention the names of the other people who were laid off with you, as well as those who were not, and how everyone felt.

Introduce some hope. Tell your family that most people find new jobs in a month or two and many find better jobs than before.

How am I going to make ends meet?

Try not to worry about your finances today. Put it off for a day or two. Use the tips above and work with your financial institution or creditors. Communication is an important tool when dealing with your finances during a layoff.

What if I am a wreck over the layoff?

Each of us lives in a “comfort zone.” This emotional “place” is where your work, family, and the demands of life in general are routine and comfortable. A layoff can suddenly smash your “comfort zone,” leaving you in an uncomfortable state of shock.

Losing a job high on the list of life’s major stresses, so everyone needs to allow time to heal. Most people will need a few weeks to get back on their feet – others who may have been deeply wounded by a layoff might need a few months. Deal with the emotions as they come – take it one step at a time and give yourself the necessary healing time.

 

 

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