Next Level You – Career Coach Insights into Navigating a Layoff

Whether you’re in a in a company that you think that layoffs may be coming or you’re confident that you’re safe in your career, Kelly and Karen want to make sure that everyone feels empowered in their careers all the time. When you’re laid off, it’s easy to feel disempowered. Through the exercises, there are lots of ways to react to practical information.

Here’s what to do:

  • If you’re given a separation agreement it is not something that should be signed on the day of, it’s important to understand what the terms and parameters are before turning it back in.
  • You have 60 days to sign up for Benefits + Cobra – the cleanest way to tackle this issue is to do as much as you can before your benefits end even if it’s the first of the month or the last two days of the month.
  • Make sure you have an internal resource at the company you’ve been trying to connect with – if you have questions about what happens to your 401K or spending, you’re going to need lots of small details where there could be room for questions, staying in contact with someone on the HR team can help you navigate this.
  • Sign up for unemployment benefits because every state has different laws – you can’t collect unemployment until your severance is completed, but it still allows you to collect unemployment benefits.
  • Get clear on your priorities – define what your next action will be, so you understand where you’re at in your career.

Here’s what not to do:

  • Don’t resume blast, you need to update your resume and take a moment to really get clear on what it is that you’re moving towards.
  • Resist the urge to undervalue the next phase of your life or the people you formally worked with.
  • Don’t panic, it’s temporary – there are resources to help in finding the next opportunity such as Job Boards and Networking.

Layoffs are financial exercises for companies, there’s nothing that you could’ve done differently to save or protect your role and performance. Give yourself the space to process the feeling whether you’re relieved or angry. Give yourself the clarity to move forward in the next step of your career. Reframe a lay off and find your work superpower. Figure out your incompetence, competence, excellence, and unique brilliance. With an internal locus of control, you can make positive things happen with a curious mindset. But when you have external locus of control, you start having doubts about the things that happen to you.

Challenges are opportunities in disguise, it allows us to pause and reflect. It makes us wonder what we learned about professionally and personally. The information we’ve grasped moves us forward, revisit your resume so you can speak about what you’re going to do in the future and create a language that helps with what you want instead of what you’ve done in the past.

Written by Joyce Chen, 2023 NYWICI Scholarship Recipient


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