When one Door Closes Another Opens Up

Maybe you had a feeling that a layoff was imminent, or perhaps you had no idea that this would happen to you. Either way, you were just called into your supervisor’s office for a meeting with her and your HR representative, and you were gently told that your job was being eliminated.

Even if you had the notion that this was coming, being laid off can be a jarring experience. In order to get through this time — and you will — consider taking the following next steps:

Take a Deep Breath

No matter how tempting, do not make any knee-jerk reactions like telling your now-former boss that you think he is a giant doofus or that the company will regret letting you go. You will probably want to call on your former supervisors for references, so keep your cool, go for a walk or sit in your car to decompress, and remind yourself that you will be OK. In most cases, layoffs are not a reflection of you or your work, so try not to take this personally. This advice also pertains to social media; take the professional high road and refrain from posting your lay off woes on Facebook and Twitter. While you may eventually wish to use these platforms as a way to network, post lay off emotions can be pretty raw and it’s best to keep your feelings to yourself.

Ask for Everything that is Coming to You

Once the dust settles and you have a bit of time to process being laid off, contact the HR person to get everything that is due you. This includes severance pay, unused benefits like vacation days you never took, and if you can, negotiate a great benefit package that will last you during your job search. Also, request that the HR person write you a laid off letter that will make it clear to future employers that you were let go due to a larger layoff or company financial issues, not because you had done anything wrong. It is also possible that the HR person will have brought along a severance pay letter and other things to sign during the meeting; ask to bring these documents home so you can take your time reading through them before signing them. You should also ask your HR person about if your medical insurance coverage will continue and for how long.

Register for Unemployment Pay

As soon as you can, head to your state employment office to sign up for unemployment pay. Even if your employer promised you a great severance pay package, you can still register for the compensation. Bring the laid off letter with you and do not dilly dally; if you wait too long you may lose your window to qualify for payments.

Look into Entrepreneurial Opportunities

While you may wish to find a job similar to the one you had before, you may find that the hiring process is slow, long and tedious. This may be a great time to embrace your inner entrepreneur and take advantage of the emerging gig economy. Look for ways to get formal and experiential learning opportunities from freelance platforms like Amway, Closet Collective and Uber. To help boost your knowledge about being an entrepreneur and get the tools you need to succeed, consider signing up for the recently-launched Amway Education; the curriculum was designed with budding independent business owners in mind and will help you become a successful entrepreneur as quickly as possible.