At the beginning of the end of March 2020, the American workforce has started to feel the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, more than three and a quarter-million people have already been laid off from their jobs, destroying the United States’ old record of 695,000 people getting laid off almost four decades ago in October 1982.
This phenomenon is proving to be quite a disaster, businesses and companies are being left with no choice but to sever their relationships with their long time employees because of not being able to afford to pay them anymore. Whether or not you are prepared for it, it’s just the reality that we have to accept. Luckily, we have written a guide to get you over this quickly and be able to face the hurdles of being laid off.
Anticipating Being Laid Off
If you belong to the group of people who are fortunate to have a job still and you feel like the company you are working are preparing for laying people off because the income is no longer as high as before, it’s better to be ready and already set your mind to expect the worse; it would be easier to deal with the lay off if you are ready for it mentally. And also, even before the layoffs happen, you should already be searching for a new job, as stealthy as you can. Do not think about showing grudge to your current or soon former employer, just think about this as another step in your career and embrace it with an “I’m ready for it” mindset.
Ask For Every Single Pay You Can Get
When the meeting finally ended, and you know that officially you are laid off, this is the time when you scamper through every possible monetary benefit you can get. The most important thing to ask is for your separation pay; this is most likely the most significant chunk you can get; the others are your unclaimed benefits like performance bonuses, awards, commissions, sick leaves, and unused vacation days that can be converted into cash. Although it can be quite insignificant (but remember, we are trying to squeeze every little pay that we can get), also remember the receipts for purchases that are considered business expenses that you still have yet to reimburse. For others, they might be able to get a lump of cash from their life and health insurance, or even tuition reimbursement. Finally, don’t forget to ask if your employer is offering special payouts due to these layoffs that have been happening.
Ask For A Laid-Off Employee Notice
This laid-off employee notice is essential for applying for your next job. This is a brief and straightforward letter that you request from your company HR that affirms that you have been a part of an overall layoff instead of being fired due to underperformance.
Find Out How To Still Be Covered By Health Insurance
Assuming that your employer is giving you health insurance, you may ask how it could be continued even after you get laid off. There is federal legislation that was established in 1986 called by the United States Department of Labor the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) that grants you to be able to continue your health insurance for a limited time, most of the time it’s 18 months, but please be informed that you would be asked to pay the premium in full.
Sign Up For Unemployment Compensation
In addition to the severance package that you have already received, be sure to immediately go to your local state employment office to sign up for unemployment compensation. There is a big chance that if you don’t immediately sign up for this, you might no longer be qualified.
Get A New Business Card
This time, your business card would represent yourself rather than your company. These would help you build new connections and potentially find prospective employers.
Revise and Retune Your LinkedIn Profile
The days are over when you have to physically distribute copies of your resume to potential employers just to get their attention. We live in times when you can put the work once on your LinkedIn profile, and you can watch it work for you. You won’t realize how big is the reach of LinkedIn, and shortly, you get the opportunity to talk to a potential employer.
Make Job Hunting A Little More Fun
A job search on your own after you just got laid off can be very depressing and massively lower your morale, you have to prepare for unexpected rejections that would happen most days of your job hunt. To help cope with this and to make your job hunt more fun and motivating, consider joining a support group that specifically caters to people who are looking for jobs, this would give you the sense that you are not alone. The rejections do happen for a reason. A quick internet search would land you to a significant amount of these support groups, you just have to pick the one you want, and that is nearest to you.
Meditate, Realize Your Situation
We understand that things got bad very quickly, and most of you haven’t even seen this phenomenon coming. You suddenly lost control of your career, and it can be very depressing for a while, suddenly losing your job is like losing your identity. Be careful, though, while going through recovery and throw your emotions outside the window because it would only cloud your judgment, and it can give your potential future employer a wrong impression. It is then an excellent idea to stop, think, and realize your situation, have patience, and believe that it would get better soon enough.
Losing your job affects your pride, finances, and your relationship, but it doesn’t mean that you have lost everything in your life. This is the time that you take a break and start counting everything that you still have, and you will realize you have a lot, and you still have all that you need. You can go back to the very basics and be thankful that you always have the family that truly loves you, that you still have a roof over your heads, you have a dry, warm and safe place for shelter, and you still have something to eat, drink, and all the means for you to be able to find a new job and get a fresh start.
Don’t Blame Yourself For Being Laid Off
Always remember that it is not your fault, and it’s entirely out of your control, realize that you don’t get to say when pandemics like the COVID-19 would happen, and neither do you have power with how your employer would decide with regards to handling their employees. So don’t beat yourself up too much, thinking that only you are responsible for what has happened.
Never Deny Being Laid Off
It is not uncommon to be laid off; if you happened to be employed by a large corporation, the chances are that the news for the layoffs would have spread already like wildfire, and there’s no escaping it. You can even think about getting laid off as an advantage when you are interviewing for a new job. Think about it; you no longer have to do all the explanation on why you left your previous post as it’s already apparent enough.
Remember, You Weren’t Fired
Being fired and being laid off are two very different things, with the former being too depressing because it would signify that it is your fault why you lost your job. People get fired because their employer sees that they have not been performing well in their roles. On the other hand, people get laid off because of the decision of the company to readjust their focus, downsize or restructure themselves, not because people have underperformed.
Do Not Badmouth Your Previous Employer
Despite how depressing what happened to you was, you are still expected to behave in a civilized manner, besides it is not really that hard, and it may even come naturally to you to be as cheerful and positive when talking about your previous employer and how the relationship between you and them went really well. Do not forget that the last place you worked at has at least taught you a lot of precious things that improved your skillset and that they have also given you the opportunity to be able to work alongside brilliant and professional people.
You can always think about it like you are a student that studied in the previous company you worked for, and that you are just graduating and moving on to the next more significant phase of your career.
What Lies Ahead Is More Important
Being laid off is just another way of saying, I am done with this level in my career; my skills now require a more valuable role in a company. You can always think of these situations as not a bad thing, but a necessary step for you to be able to move forward with something that matters more.
Here is a list of companies that are still hiring during the COVID-19 pandemic.