By the time the words had come out, the sound in the room hadn't returned.
"I'm sorry man, but today...today's your last day."
You see, I knew it was coming and had even planned for it, so I thought, but there's nothing better than the actual thing to define reality. My reality?...my manager had just informed me that the wave of layoffs flowing through the company had finally reached me.
I was being layed off for no faults of my own. The company of which I was working was taking on a new outsourcing initiative. Unfortunately, my job function, as well as others, was selected to be outsourced.
In my case, it truly was business and not personal.
My manager, who also happened to be a friend of mine, and I gathered our things and walked slowly to the door to exit the conference room. As the door began to crack, I could almost feel the thick awkwardness begin to seep out of the room.
We both returned to our desks and proceeded to attempt to return to business as usual.
Layoffs, terminations and firings come in many different flavors. But, there are a couple of things that they all have in common. They never seem to feel good and they all create an Employment End Date.
Let's focus specifically on layoffs and what someone should do on that particular day, while still on-site at the company after experiencing a layoff.
If you are allowed to walk out on your own and without the assistance of security, you should do the following:
- Give it time to process. Take a walk or spend some time alone, if you can to allow it to sync in, in order to think more clearly. Use this time to plan your next steps if you haven't already.
- Keep your cool. We are all human and humans by nature can be very emotionally driven especially in potentially stressful situations like losing a job. Don't get into a screaming match with the manager or any employee concerning the situation. Keep it professional and keep your dignity.
- Contact Human Resources to discuss conditions of the lay-off. Verify eligibility for severance, benefits or possible education or retraining programs.
- Follow-up on any job leads you may know about. If you have applied for a job or know of a recruiter that has submitted you for a job in the past, give them a call or shoot them an email to let them know you are in the job market again and are available as of today for a position that matches your experience and background. Provide them an updated copy of your resume and any updated contact info if you haven't.
- Finish Strong. Tighty up your pending projects or incomplete tasks by informing the remaining team members of their statuses. At this point you may ask, "Why should I?" Ok, well, it's like this. This is the last time to make an impression with the folks you've worked with for months or even years. Don't cast a shadow over the time you all worked together by not passing on info that could help them in your absence.
- Collect your things. Grab everything you came with and leave the rest. In some cases, companies allow you to take things you may have obtained while working there but be sure it is approved by someone with the necessary decision making power before doing so.
- Say your goodbyes and collect contact info. Visit friends or co-workers on-site to inform them that you will no longer be an employed at the company. Be careful not to convey confidential information around your layoff while speaking to them. Most importantly, be sure to collect their business cards, email, social media, phone numbers or other contact info. It is very possible that they know of a job or may know someone that has information about a job of which you may be a great fit.