What to Do When You Get Laid Off Unexpectedly (And How to Get Back on Your Feet)

November 18, 2022

Losing a job unexpectedly can be a blow both financially and emotionally. Despite some positive economic news, the fact is that no job is completely secure. Workers get laid off for all kinds of reasons, oftentimes having nothing to do with their performance at work.

About half of firms are expecting to reduce their headcount in the near future, according to a recent study. When you factor in the millions of freelancers, part-time or seasonal workers, and other gig economy members, many people’s jobs are vulnerable even in good times. Plus, getting laid off is scary! You may be losing company benefits and unemployment insurance or compensation, in addition to the security of a steady paycheck.

Here’s what you can do if this happens to you.

Steps to Take Immediately After Losing Your Job

When laid off from a steady job, all hope is not lost. There are several steps you can or should take while still at the company. Even doing a few of these things upfront can take the sting out of a pink slip. They may not all apply to your circumstances, but you’ll want to think about helpful, pragmatic steps to take while you still have a foot in the door:

  1. Request a “laid-off letter” from HR.
  2. Ask about health insurance benefits.
  3. Get the status on your final payment.
  4. Find someone who is willing to provide a letter of recommendation when the time comes.
  5. If applicable, get clarity on the reason for the layoff.
  6. Reach out to key contacts before you leave to stay in touch.

Preparing for Your Next Job Search

Most people will need to dive into a job search soon after losing their job. Doing so can also help stave off the blues that often come with being unemployed. Keeping up your spirits and holding out hope that another opportunity awaits you will be as important as anything else you do during this time.

The first thing you may need to do is take stock of your situation. How much money do you have on hand? How long will you be able to pay the bills? Understanding your situation in the broader sense will help you plan your job search and keep realistic expectations so you know when to ask for help. With that in mind, here are some possible actions that will prepare you for your job search:

  • Update your resume.
  • Print new business cards if you use them.
  • Apply for unemployment.
  • Update any online job profiles.
  • Create a daily schedule to keep you on track.

Use the Internet in Your Online Job Search

Finally, let the internet do some of the work for you. Updating your profile on sites like LinkedIn (and alerting any followers that you’re searching) is just one step you can take. For example, if you’re applying for jobs online, pay attention to the details to make sure you apply properly and your resume gets through any applicant tracking systems. A Google search will provide more tips on applying online, like inserting terms from the job description in your resume so your experience better aligns with the position.

Posting questions on social media, following companies of interest on Twitter, and contacting former colleagues can all be good ways to stay active in your search. Check in regularly with job posting websites like Monster, Indeed, and Snagajob, a site for hourly workers.

Use Convenient Services at Chicago’s South Suburban Currency Exchange (SSCE)

Some laid-off workers don’t see their final paycheck for months, which is why it’s helpful to get all the information you need from HR at your former place of employment. Once you have that check, bring it over to SSCE. We can cash it promptly so you leave with dollars in your pocket within minutes – or have it transferred through a safe and reliable service to anyone expecting a payment from you.

At Chicago’s South Suburban Community Exchanges (SSCEs), not only do you access a range of necessary services – from check cashing, to plate registration, to bill payment – but there are also helpful services for job seekers for everything from photocopies to Ventra cards. And if you’re trying to hold on to your few remaining dollars, consider using a prepaid debit card to keep you from overspending.

SSCE helps south suburban residents who are in between jobs stay on top of their finances through multiple services. Find your nearest location or check out our other services online to find out what we can do for you.

A man sitting with his hands on his bead.