1.Learn your company’s policy for layoffs. Will you receive a 60-day notice or will you be walked to your car immediately?
2.Find out what happens to your 401K, stock options, or bonus program payments if you get laid off. What will you do for money if tomorrow is your last day? You might want to hire a financial adviser to assist with evaluating your finances. Coordinate pensions, social security, etc., after your unemployment benefits conclude.
3.Learn about COBRA. If it’s offered, sign up right away—especially if you have a pre-existing illness/condition. The price is shocking, but your coverage remains the same until you figure out your next step.
4.Eliminate any potentially embarrassing items from your office. Your co-worker may be asked to clean it out and pack your personal belongings.
5.Keep your computer files clean of personal information. If possible, reformat your hard drive before turning in your computer.
6.If you do not have a personal computer or cell phone, consider purchasing one or both.
7.Update and maintain hard copies of your e-mail address book and cell phone contacts.
8.Keep copies of important documents from your work computer. They may be difficult to replace if you lose your job. Keep copies of picture files from your work computer, BlackBerry, or cell phone.
9.Company cars are a wonderful benefit. What will you do if they take yours back tomorrow?
10.Keep banking and financial information off your work computer. You may not be given time to access them.
11.If your company gives you a severance package and asks whether you want a lump sum or a payout over a number of weeks, know that the lump sum is taxed differently. In California, the lump sum could be taxed at 45 percent!
12.You can apply for unemployment online as soon as the Sunday after your last work day. You may be able to qualify for an extension if you agree to training. Check your state’s Web site.
13.Know that your company’s payoff of a certain number of weeks’ pay for the number of years employed is not considered severance—it’s considered part of your layoff package, even if it’s paid on the normal pay day schedule.
14.Update your résumé.
15.Work on a “life after” game plan now. Be sure to include lots of things that make you smile.
16.Request reference letters stating you were laid off and not fired for cause.
17.Apply for scholarships for annual conferences and/or reductions on association dues. >
18.Maintain your professional network.
19.Rely on friends, colleagues, and family members to lend a shoulder and give concrete advice.
20.Most important, stay positive. You own your attitude!