Layoff Checklist

Layoffs are on almost everyone’s mind whose work depends on the state of today’s economy.  Being laid off typically comes suddenly and usually without warning, although if you’ve been paying attention to the world around you, you have realized that you need to be prepared.

Preparation means understanding what you would do after a layoff, and perhaps taking the time to build up some of these items now. It’s important to know what steps to take immediately after a layoff so that no time is wasted. I’ve collected a brief list of items to consider after you are laid off:

  • Health Insurance. Information is usually sent to you about how to continue health coverage with COBRA, or consider being added to a spouse’s policy.
  • Unemployment Benefits. File with your state workforce agency for benefits ASAP as there is usually a waiting period.
  • Life Insurance. If your employer had a group life insurance policy, you may be eligible to convert it to your own.
  • AFLAC. If you participate in any of AFLAC’s programs, notify your administrator or go to the AFLAC website. AFLAC policies are portable to a new employer or you can pay for them on your own.
  • 401(k) Money. You’re eligible to roll over any money left in your employer’s retirement plan to a personal retirement account.
  • Work Experience. Make sure your portfolio, resumes, and any other materials you will need to get a new job are up to date.
  • Personal Files. Collect personal files you kept on your work computer.
  • Conserve Your Money. Put together a revised budget and determine if further steps are needed to break even each month. Also see How to Find Cash Fast When Unemployed. Call creditors and utilities to negotiate lower payments.
  • Start the Job Search. Immediately let everyone you know in your field that you are looking for work. It’s like having an army searching for your new job.
  • Care for Your Mental Health. Losing a job is a strong emotional shock. Talk about it with friends and family to help you through the rough patch.
  • Visit with a Career Counselor. Are things in your field so bad that you doubt finding work? Do your passions lie elsewhere? Maybe it’s time to consider switching careers.
  • Register Yourself. Contact employment agencies, in your hometown or online, to find out if opportunities exist. Upload your resume as well.
  • Keep Your Hope. See The Positive Side of Unemployment.
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