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b&b121 What to do if you lose your job

It’s the last thing you want to think about happening, but also can happen at any time.

This week, we talk about what do when you lose your job, from severance, unemployment insurance, and health insurance, to how to deal with the emotional rollercoaster, to how to handle the dreaded interview question, “so why did you leave your last job?”

We also touch on how much you should have saved in case of job loss, how to build temporary income streams, and how to transition into freelancing instead of finding another job.

Episode Highlights:

Pam: People don’t think about asking for a severance package, and that is always a conversation you need to have, whether you’ve been fired, especially if you were let go due to downsizing, than always always ask for a severance package. Dyalekt: I mean, not in nonprofit land, right? Pam: See what happens, because severance package doesn’t just mean several months of pay, it can also mean, “Will you let me keep my medical for three extra months? Will you let me fully vest in my 403b, for instance. Can I take all of my employer match with me?”…It’s always worth the conversation…If you are in a position where you’re offered a severance package than, one, you can negotiate it to a better severance package. So, you can negotiate extra months of pay, you can negotiate more benefits like I mentioned: paying for medical, fully vesting in the retirement plan, the stock options, whatever you have, make sure you get paid out for your vacation time that’s gone unused, all of that kind of stuff.

Pam: If you can’t negotiate a severance package, one thing that you can do is make sure that they don’t contest your unemployment. So, for unemployment it’s not just something you can apply for if there was downsizing or if you were let go, you can apply for unemployment if you were fired for under-performance.

Pam: If you own an LLC or any kind of business entity, like if you were doing something on the side, you will not qualify for unemployment.

Pam: If you do have severance you may not qualify for unemployment.

Pam: Sign up for Medicaid as soon as possible. This is a big qualifying event basically. You lost your job you have no income now, and Medicaid lasts for a year. Cobra only lasts for two months.

Pam: You got your severance, or not. You’re getting unemployment instead, potentially, and you’ve signed up for Medicaid. Give yourself a break. Figuratively and literally. Do not jump into job hunting the day after you get fired. Give yourself time to settle in. Give yourself a week or two to just think through what the hell just happened.

Pam: Yes, polish up your resume, but start reaching out to your network. And this is the other thing too, where if you still have your job, do not neglect your network. Build your network when you don’t need one.

Pam: One of the thing to keep in mind and why it can be so devastating for someone to lose their job is because they’ve made their job their life.

Pam: The hardest question you’re going to have to get through in that interview is: Why did you leave your last job? or Why were you fired from your last job? And it’s going to be very uncomfortable, and you need to very very much prepare for this question so you stay as calm and collected as possible. This is something you practice. This is something you think through. This is something you reflect on yourself. And so the very first thing you need to think about is how you’re going to keep it as succinct as possible. First of all do not lie. Do not lie. Own up to it..So do not lie, keep it succinct, talk about–just say “Honestly, unfortunately I was let go.” “Unfortunately I was fired.” Don’t dwell on it. Don’t make any excuses. If you were downsized, tell them. If you were fired for performance reasons you can say thing like there were extenuating circumstances: maybe the role changed, maybe it wasn’t what you expected it to be. The one thing to also keep in mind is do not, do not place blame on your company….Practice. Practice being calm and collected, and be very clear about what you’re going to say and how you’re going to say it.