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Gracious reader,

So as I was writing this week, news about media layoffs swirled through my feeds.  

It felt a bit loud, maybe amplified by news about the 1.8 million government employees and contractors who had been furloughed or working without pay.  (IMO a functional layoff.)

If you’ve been affected by any of this in recent weeks, I’m so sorry.

Once upon a time, there was a stigma to being laid off.  Today, it’s a rite of passage.  It’s almost certainly going to happen.  (Especially as you age.)

That doesn't make being laid off any less upsetting. 

Loss of community can be particularly tough.  So, after you give yourself time to process, spend time with your people.  In real life.
Down by Law

Your Rights In the Workplace:  An Employee's Guide to Fair Treatment (library*) is an essential resource.   A few important points.
  • The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) requires ”employers with 100 or more employees…to provide at least 60 calendar days advance written notice of a plant closing and mass layoff affecting 50 or more employees at a single site of employment."   Good to know if you've been laid off without notice -- though if the company is in financial distress this legal point may not be useful.  Check with an attorney.
  • Your organization may have a standard severance plan, which may be outlined in your employee manual.  “U.S. labor laws don't typically obligate employers to pay severance, and you shouldn't expect it if you're being terminated for cause or are a low-level and at-will employee. Many companies, however, offer compensation, and you may even be able to negotiate what's included.”  Erik Martin’s How to Get a Better Severance Package at AARP has some excellent points for people of all ages.
  • Did you sign an employment contract?  “If you have a job in the U.S., chances are good you’ve signed an arbitration agreement that will stop you from suing your bosses in court for pretty much any reason.”  This Is What Happens When You Try to Sue Your Boss, by Max Abelson at Bloomberg.
*this is a new edition, which I assume is an update to the version I've read.
The Stages of Post-Layoff Life
  • “Don’t make any big decisions in those first few days and don’t rush into the job market the day after you’ve received the news. You need time to process what happened and ‘how you feel about it.’” How to Bounce Back After Getting Laid Off by Rebecca Knight. 
  • What about those "I'm available" posts on social media and personal blogs?  They seem common.  In my conversations with people who have done this, this has not been a universally effective strategy.

    Writing what you're looking for will help you to hone your own thinking about what's right for you, and what's next.  True story.

    That said, most of us are better off sharing what we write with loved ones, friends, and mentors as we figure out how to approach people who are directly authorized to hire us.

    Most of us are going to have to reach out, rather than post on social media and wait for the offers to roll in.

  • A career coach can be a great resource. Many public libraries offer free appointments with career coaches.  (If you're in NYC, you're in luck on this front.  A suburban Chicago library has offered one of my family members access to wonderful coaches.  Check your library!) 

    Your alma mater's Career Services office may offer services to alumni.  Some places of worship also have programs around job search.

    Caveat emptor:  before you pay anyone anything, check out what you should expect from a career coach, via the National Career Development Association.
Let's Go Back to the Videotape!

Here are a few relevant back issues of How to Have a Job:
You can find all kinds of advice online about what to do after you've been laid off. 

Before you spin up your side hustle, know the consequences.

In the 00s, I taught a weekly class as a volunteer in a not-for-profit.  After receiving grant money they needed to spend, they offered me $100 a week to teach my class, and wouldn't take "No" for an answer. 

Recently laid off, I acquiesced.  They put me on the payroll of a contractor that would pay me on a 1099 basis. 

Four hundred bucks a month did not replace the unemployment insurance payments that the great state of New Jersey decided I was no longer eligible for; once on the contractor's payroll, I was considered "employed."  I appealed, unsuccessfully.  #stillbitter

So, take care with your financial arrangements after a layoff.  Sigh.

Do you lead a team?
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