So you got laid off, now what?Whether the unthinkable happened or you're just curious about what to do in case it does, these moves will help keep you sane when things get crazy.
By Korin Miller
We were floored when we heard the news that The X Factor's host and half of the judging panel had been laid off. Even though the new reality show had good ratings, Nicole Scherzinger, Paula Abdul, and Steve Jones were given the ax with apparently no warning.
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Unfortunately, their situation isn't unique. The unemployment rate is at 8.5 percent-better than it has been in the last three years-but some companies are still downsizing. That said, we're not trying to freak you out. But just in case the unthinkable happens, we want you to be prepared. If you're handed a pink slip, take a sec to spazz in private and then make these moves to cover your butt.
1. Ask For Severance Pay
Usually when you get laid off, it's not because of anything you did or didn't do; it's because the company just can't afford to hold onto you anymore. So capitalize on that. If your company doesn't automatically offer severance pay, ask for it. According to executive coach Marc Dorio, author of The Complete Idiot's Guide To Career Advancement, most companies will agree to pay you one week of your full salary for every year you've worked for them. So, if you worked there for five years, you should get five weeks of pay.
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2. Get a Recommendation
X Factor executive producer Simon Cowell released a statement after the news broke that thanked Paula, Nicole, and Steve for their hard work on the show. Did they ask him to do that? Maybe, but if you find yourself in a similar situation, you should. Before you leave the office, ask your boss if you can use her as a reference in the future. Even though you'll probably be pissed/confused/floored, it's important to do it when you're face-to-face, says Dorio, since emails can get lost in the shuffle.
3. File For Unemployment
Yeah, the ex-X Factor team probably didn't go this route since their individual salaries are more than those of our entire extended families combined, but you should. Unemployment checks take anywhere from two to three weeks to kick in after you file, says Dorio, so it's crucial to get on it ASAP. The money is distributed on a state-by-state basis and some will let you file online. Google your state's name and "how to file for unemployment" to find out how to get the ball rolling.
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4. Tell Everyone
Once you've had a moment to process what just went down, email everyone you have a good relationship with in your field to clue them in on your situation. And don't feel weird about it. "So many millions of people have been laid off in the past three years," says Dorio. "It's not uncommon." He recommends a simple, "Due to a reduction of staff, as of now I'm no longer with my company. I'll be reaching out to you later for advice as I begin my job search, but in the meantime, please keep me in mind for any future opportunities."
5. Don't Freak
Yes, it's a total WTF? situation you didn't see coming but take this break to think about what you want to do next. Do you want to stick with the same kind of gig? Do something totally different? Or maybe go back to school? "Don't jump too fast into a new job," warns Dorio. "People tend to get panicky during this time and make bad decisions." Of course, you may need a new income in order to make rent. Keep in mind that there's nothing wrong with taking up dog-walking, babysitting, or house-cleaning. Plenty of people make a good living doing these jobs and, if it's not your favorite job ever, at least it's temporary. Even though the situation kinda sucks, keep your head up. It will get better.
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