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I Might Lose My Job – What Do I Do?

You think you’re safe. You’re a little worried. You’re totally freaking out. Whatever you’re feeling, there are things that you can start to do to get prepared just in case.

Fired, let go, laid off, downsized, dismissed, sacked, axed, restructured – who cares what to call it. It’s terrible and we need to think about what may happen and what you can do about it right now.

Depending on the situation, certain things are going to rise to the top of your to-do list based upon the immediacy of what’s going on with your life. You may be worried about losing your job. You just got fired and it takes effect immediately. You were given notice and you need to wrap up your tasks in a specific period of time.

When you lose your job (+ the current pandemic), you may not be able to think clearly. That is why I have taken the checklist approach. In 2018, I lost my job of 17 years when we got a new department head and they wiped out the entire leadership team to bring in their own staff. I couldn’t think straight but I was lucky and I had two months to get prepared. I’ve broken those tasks down into three categories to help. The immediate action items are what you can discuss with Human Resources.


End Date

– Find out the date of your last day.


– When will you receive your last paycheck?

– Will you be receiving a package or severance pay?

– Are you entitled to payment on accrued vacation, sick leave, overtime or back pay?

– If your termination date is not for another month or two, can you use all of your sick and vacation days?


– What is the status of your benefits right now?

– When do your benefits end?

– Is COBRA available to you?

– Are you eligible for coverage under the Affordable Care Act?

– If you are enrolled in profit sharing, how might you be able to maintain those plans after you leave the job or is lump sum distribution available?

– When do you have to move your money out of their 401K?

– Will the company pay for an executive transition firm?


– How can you file for unemployment?

– How soon can you file?

What do you need to return to the company?

– Technology

– Equipment

– Badges

– Keys

– Phone

– Company car


– Do you have to sign termination papers?

– Do you have to sign a general release?

– Do you have to sign an arbitration agreement?

– Do you need an employment attorney to review this paperwork?


– Do you owe the company money?

– Relocation agreements

– Tuition reimbursements

– Salary paid in advance

– Money for items that you were supposed to repay i.e. Loan for Executive Coaching Program


What belongings do you have at the office?

– How are you going to get them?

– Are they being sent back to you?

– Can you retrieve them?

Phone Contacts – Videos on how to move contacts off of your old phone

Transferring Videos from Phone to PC

Backup your Outlook Contacts – Videos on how to back up data

– Contacts in Outlook to Gmail -

Saving Personal Files

– Your personal files should not be on your work computer. Take them off even if you don’t think that you are going to lose your job.

– How-to Video for Send Anywhere -


You don't need to lose your job to do any of these!

Reference Letters

– Ask five to eight trusted colleagues individually for a reference. The friend that you think may give you an amazing one may suddenly become too busy or goes completely MIA. Others may give you one that looks like a three sentence form letter. Some may give a professional or heart warming recommendation. It’s best to ask for more than you may need.

Resume, Cover Letter & Letters of Interest

– Paid Service - https://resumegenius.comSet up Your LinkedIn

– How to Use LinkedIn for Beginners -

– How to Build a LinkedIn Profile -

– How to Use Linked In to Find a Job -

– How to Reach Out to Recruiters on LinkedIn -

– Harvard Business Review: How to Email Someone You Haven’t Talked to in Forever:

– Virtual Networking during COVID:

Prepare a Budget

– If you don’t have a budget, create one now. Review all your expenses and see where you can cut. Tighten as much as you can, because no one knows how long this will last. Here are some helpful links:

Call your mortgage company and ask for assistance

– Depending on your specific situation, you may be eligible to have your mortgage payments reduced or suspended for up to 12 months. Federal regulators are ordering lenders, through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, to offer homeowners flexibility.

– The first step is to call your mortgage lender to find out if you are eligible and determine the course that’s best for you. And keep in mind that this is not mortgage forgiveness - homeowners will have to repay the missed payments, but they can work out a plan to do this with their lender.

Call your credit card companies and student loan providers

– If you owe any type of debt, now is the time to call and ask for assistance. Credit card companies often have financial hardship programs where they can temporarily reduce payments or lower interest rates.

Just take it one step at a time. Get these done before you get on Netflix with that big bowl of ice cream. Next week, we are going to explore side gigs and ways to make more income.


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