You just got laid off. Now what? If a layoff situation comes out of the blue, with no warning, then the separation may force the affected employee to make decisions that he or she would have ordinarily spent months pondering. What am I going to do now? Rest assured, there is a new life awaiting you, but there are some steps that you must consider to help get you there.
An important first step is to immediately apply for Unemployment Compensation benefits. Do it the same day as the lay-off, if you can. Many States have websites to allow you to apply for your benefits on-line. The reason that this step is critical is that your qualifying benefits begin the day that you apply. Having some income that can replace a portion of your regular salary will be a big help. Do not procrastinate. It may not be a lot of money, but it is a benefit that you are entitled to due to your lay-off. The money that you receive can offer you a little bit of comfort as you begin to decide what to do next. And do not feel badly about applying. That’s why your employer paid for the insurance.

Another step is to immediately tell everyone that you know that you have been affected by a layoff. This is a hard step, however it is critical. Often times, particularly if the lay off was unexpected, the displaced worker is left in a state of shock and disbelief. That state of mind can easily lead to shame and depression. Those feelings make it difficult to tell everyone that you know. As hard as it is, though, by telling people, you begin to build a support system. You never know what might come out of your relationships with people. Someone might even know of a job that is perfect for you! Your new support system can also help offer you comfort and advice. Everyone can benefit by being surrounded by a network of good people.

If you were offered a severance agreement, it is a very good idea to have it reviewed by a lawyer. Some companies offer generous severance, and some do not. It is very important to make sure that any offer that you accept is in your best interest and is reasonable in its terms. While consulting a lawyer may seem overly cautious, they will be able to advise you as to your rights. And do not be afraid to ask for a free consultation. Many attorneys will speak to you for an hour free of charge.

The next step may seem like an obvious one. Get out your resume, and polish it up. The advent of the internet has made posting resumes a breeze. The problem then becomes competition. There is a lot of it. Make sure that your resume is a concise and accurate description of your work history. Don’t be afraid to let yourself shine. Posting it on the internet job sites is easy. Create a profile for each job site, such as,, etc. If you create a profile first, although it may seem time consuming, it will save you time in the long run. This way, you can float your resume to all of the jobs that you are interested in with the click of your mouse.

Finally, be kind to yourself. Being laid off is traumatic. You will undoubtedly encounter a myriad of emotions. Through it all, try to remember that it is not the end of the world, and you did not make the decision for the lay off. You are who you are, independent of your former employer. Recount your blessings, and try to remember that there is life after being laid off.