How to Handle Getting Laid off

21 Oct 2022

While it is obviously the worst professional situation you can imagine yourself in, being laid off can, unfortunately, happen to even the best of us. While there can be one or several reasons why your company may have decided to let you go, the more important question here would be: how do you handle getting laid off? What do you do once you have been laid off?

It is essential to remember that you should not feel discouraged when you are laid off from the company. It’s a setback, not a failure. Pondering over the reasons why your company took this extreme step is not going to help you progress in your career. It won’t help your situation.

Instead, you should try and focus on your next step and how to look for another job. Remember, the ‘dark mark’ of having been laid off on your last job has been added to your profile, and it will remain there till you find another job. It’s easier said than done, but only you can lift yourself back on your feet.

Here’s a list of how you can handle getting laid off in the best possible way—

Manage Your Emotions

Never let your emotions come in the way of your professional life. Sure, getting laid off feels terrible. But that does not mean you go on ranting about the fact that you’ve been laid off, or how you can’t wait for a chance to get away from your work and colleagues, or even say bad things about your boss and other employers. It will make them think that they made a good decision of letting you go.

Don’t freak out, don’t let your rage get the better of you, don’t speak about how life and your employers have been unfair to you. If you display irritability or gloominess to your colleagues or show them that you’re angry, it may leave a negative impression of you, and they may not refer you to possible future employees.

Even if you hate your job and you can’t wait to let go of it, a loss of the job can knock the wind right out of you. The choice to leave is no longer yours; someone has made that decision for you, and that can be hard to swallow. Take a deep breath and ask for a minute to process the news. Stay calm, do not lose your cool.

Preserve Your Hard-Earned Reputation

If you display extreme emotions to your peers or employers, it might invariably just embarrass you as well as them to an extent. If you display shock, anger, regret, or extreme sadness when the news of your termination is broken to you, or even if you cry in front of other people, beg to be given your job back, it is not going to help and will be seen as a desperate attempt to hold on to something that you cannot save.

Keep your dignity intact, and focus on the other things that come with your firing, such as a severance package, and the opportunity to be placed in some other department of the same company or opportunities and references of other possible jobs.

Lying to the Next Employer Does Not Help

You need to prepare to answer a lot of questions when you apply for a new job right away. Make sure you do not lie about having been laid off to your potential employers.

If you’ve been laid off, your employer might agree not to mention the termination and instead simply verify the dates you were employed by the organization. Be brief. Do not blame anyone. Prepare yourself mentally to answer the follow-up questions and remember to stick to the story.

Inquire if You Will Get Assistance to Get a New Job

There are companies that have consultants or offer services to an employee who has been laid off to find a new job. Ask them if you will get any kind of support to find new employment. Find out how long that support will last so that you can plan the next move accordingly. Figure out what kind of career coaching you’re eligible for. Get it in writing if you can, so that the employers do not go back on their word.

Find Out if There is Any Possibility of Applying for Other Jobs Internally

This may be a rare occurrence, but there is no harm in checking, right? If the reason for firing you was related to your specific department, you can always try to get a job in the same company in some other department. Some companies may have opportunities in other departments that you can try for if you were laid off due to restructuring plans. But, if you got laid off due to poor performance or due to some sort of misconduct, you may want to make a polite statement and leave without enquiring about other opportunities in the same company.

Don’t Sign Anything

Make sure you have all the information you may need for future employment. Clarify with your employer that you would want to get back to them if you need any further information or help from their end. Get complete details on your severance pay, health insurance, when to expect the final pay check, how you will be compensated for unused leaves, when you can expect your Provident Fund money, if your office items will be packed and sent to you, or if you have to do it yourself, if your commissions and bonus are included in the final pay check, and any other money-related question that you may have. Ask if the company needs help transitioning the work and what they expect you to do.

Until you are clear that it is the end of the road for you in the company, do not sign any documents for the Human Resources, as it may cut all ties that you have with the company immediately.

Take Care of Yourself

Take some time off if you must. Make sure you are physically, mentally, and emotionally fit to take up another job.

The most important thing to remember is that even when you are laid off do not indulge in self-pity or lose your self-esteem. Your true value would be realized somewhere else.

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