A survival guide for when you’ve been laid off

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Big Tech layoffs: ‘Worst is on the way,’ tech insider says

Microsoft, Meta, Twitter and other big tech firms will continue layoffs and hiring freezes as companies look to cut costs, Bay Area recruiting site founder says.

You can’t predict whether you’ll be laid off, but you can have a solid plan in case it happens.

The rapid succession of layoff announcements at Meta Platforms Inc., Twitter Inc. and other tech companies have put some workers on edge, and not just in Silicon Valley. The job market overall remains strong, but forecasts of slowing growth have stoked worries that more employers across the economy may slash their payrolls.

Here is what you need to know, and need to do, should you be laid off — from launching a job search to finding emotional and financial support.

In recent days, Elon Musk’s Twitter laid off up to 3,700 employees while Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta is laying off 11,000 employees.

What to do immediately after

SMALL BUSINESSES STILL DEALING WITH INFLATION, LABOR SHORTAGES

First, figure out what kind of separation this is, which often is more important than the reason your company is letting you go. There are some important differences between being furloughed, laid off or permanently terminated, and it could mean the difference between having health care coverage or not. If you were fired, ask whether you will receive severance pay and how you will be compensated for any unused vacation days. You could also be eligible for unemployment benefits in your state, depending on the circumstances.

Negotiate your exit, if you can

A severance package is sometimes offered to departing employees.

Script your conversation before negotiating your severance so you have more confidence, and you can prepare yourself for the conversation.  (iStock / iStock)

In many cases, severance pay isn’t required by law, but some companies have established policies for offering it. The typical formula for a severance package is one or two weeks of pay for each year of service. This is either negotiated when a job is offered or when a job is terminated.

Check your employer’s handbook or ask an HR representative about severance pay. You can negotiate for a variety of things, from more money, how the severance is paid, and continuing health insurance benefits and services to help you land your next job. Don’t hesitate to explain your personal situation if necessary.

BIG TECH BRACES FOR RECESSION WITH LITANY OF HIRING FREEZES, LAYOFFS

Post on social media

One of the quickest ways to get a job lately has been to announce on social media that you were laid off. There are a couple of big benefits to this practice. Your network will take note and offer to help amplify your message, and people who want to hire will feel welcomed to call.

A worker carries a box out of the offices of U.S. investment bank Lehman Brothers in the Canary Wharf district of London in this Sept. 15, 2008, file photo. (REUTERS/Andrew Winning/File photo / Reuters Photos)

Career coaches advise that job seekers who post online steer clear of bitterness, signal an appreciation of their time at their former job and say they are excited to find a new adventure. 

Reach out to friends and family

After a job loss, it is important to stay connected to people who will support you. 

Many laid-off employees can feel directionless and lose their sense of self. To avoid that situation, career experts say it is important to reach out to your network, your family and your friends. Create a routine that will give you a sense of productivity, whether that means sending out a certain number of job applications a day, working on a new hobby or a daily workout. Setting yourself up for small wins can help you regain a sense of control over your life. 

Reach out to your network

Now is a great time to power up your roster of go-to professional contacts. It is daunting to put yourself out there and ask for favors, but if you have been laid off, this is the time.

Creating a routine, whether that means sending out a certain number of job applications a day, or working on a new hobby or a daily workout can help you regain a sense of control over your life.  (iStock / iStock)

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Sign up for The Wall Street Journal’s five-week networking challenge, designed to take the guesswork and anxiety out of developing contacts into relationships. The challenge starts when you sign up. Over five weeks, you will learn how to build a list of powerful allies, gracefully ask for help and revive old connections to help you with your job search.

If you weren’t the one laid off, you can reach out to those who have been. 

Losing a friend at work or seeing friends get laid off is stressful. Don’t pretend it isn’t happening. The worst thing to do is nothing — even if you’re not sure what to say. Say something simple, such as "I’m so sorry," and only offer help if you’re willing to follow through. 

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