The boss asks you to come into their office, and then the news strikes like a hammer: you’re being laid off.

This may be difficult to process at first. Once the shock fades, you might be faced with an onslaught of different emotions, ranging from sheer panic to overwhelming anger.

Being fired or laid off is not the end of your career. There are a number of different reasons companies lay off or fire employees, so try not to internalize it as a personal attack. After being confronted with this unfortunate situation, you can get back on your feet and put yourself in an even better place than you were in before.

To help ease your stress, here are some steps to prepare yourself to move on after discovering you’re being laid off. Despite the bad news, you can still set yourself up for success.

1. Don’t Panic

Don’t let your emotions take charge of the situation. If the job is ending on good terms, keep it that way and stay friendly with your coworkers and bosses. Alienating your employers in a moment of anger will deprive you from resources and recommendations in the future. Try not to be combative and stay good-natured during any conversations held at work.

Let it all out once you find an appropriate space to do so. Control your breathing and take a walk afterwards if you have to. Know that there is a way forward, and let that path materialize before you.

2. Review Any Documents Before Signing

Some companies may present you with a termination letter or paperwork upon your firing. Don’t sign it immediately, but take a moment to read it over and review the contents carefully. Any form of paperwork might just be as simple as saying, “Yes, I have received this letter,” or it could be barring you from suing or competing with the company, which may be limiting depending on the job circumstances.

You’re not refusing to sign the letter, you’re just taking time to read and consider the content. You are entitled to time to review any paperwork you are asked to sign.

3. Speak with Human Resources

When you are fired or laid off, there are sometimes entitlements you should receive. Human resources will be able to detail everything about the process thoroughly. In many situations, employees can receive severance pay or outplacement help. There are also questions of collecting unemployment money.

Human resources will also be able to tell you when your last day is, your last paycheck, how much unused vacation time is available to you, and what you can do with any retirement savings. It’s always smart to get everything in writing as well, in case the company or employer does not follow through.

4. Ask for a Recommendation Letter

Just because you’re being laid off or fired doesn’t mean they won’t be willing to help you.

If there are bosses or coworkers you have good relationships with, ask them if you can use them as a reference or if they can write a recommendation letter for you. Obtain their contact information, including phone number, address, and email, for the jobs you will be applying to shortly.

When leaving a job, it’s normal to ask for a recommendation letter. Don’t get hung up on the fact you’re being laid off – ask for a reference!

5. Get Yourself Ready

Remind yourself of all the accomplishments and successes from the job you’re leaving.

Add them to your resume, and make sure all your skills and references are up to date. After being in a job for a while, sometimes we let our resumes collect dust.

Even if you’re laid off or fired, you should still add the position, especially if everything is amiable and you have references from the position.

It’s also important to take a look at your online reputation. About 80 percent of job recruiters are required to look into your online presence. It’s best to keep your social media profiles squeaky clean.

6. Begin the Job Hunt

Armed with information, a reference letter, a clean reputation, and an updated resume, you are ready to re-enter the job market.

Create accounts on larger job search engines, such as Indeed and Monster, but also look for more local opportunities. If you live in New York, for example, it’s a good idea to look into New York Jobs.

You can upload your resume to these sites as well, enabling jobs to come to you.

Persevere, and you will have a new, better job before you know it. 

Published by Arina Smith