Losing a job can feel devastating (especially when you didn’t see it coming).

And there’s a lot that seems urgent all at once.

If that’s not something you’ve ever had to deal with, I’m glad to hear it because you’re lucky.

If you’ve experienced that kind of loss before, you probably remember the stress and pressure. And you survived it. Maybe used it as fuel to thrive.

If you ever have to deal with a job loss, here are 9 things you should do:

1. Take a deep breath. You’re going to be ok.

2. Get the contact information for HR. You’ll probably lose access to your email and these folks will be key to helping you with post-employment details like health insurance, retirement accounts, documents, etc.

3. Confirm the dates and details of your separation. Before you sign anything, make sure you fully understand the details of what you’re being offered.

Is there severance? A pension buyout? Continued vesting of company stock?

Is there any room for negotiating dates or amounts? Now is the time to ask.

4. File for unemployment if you’re eligible. You’ve earned it.

5. Tell the folks you love and ask for their support. Let them know if there are any specific ways they can help you (they’ll want to help). They might ask questions you don’t have answers to. It’s ok to say “I don’t know the answer right now, but I’m confident I’ll figure it out.”

6. Explore your health insurance options. It’s worth running the numbers before deciding between COBRA coverage, a new policy, or getting added to your partner’s insurance (if that’s an option).

7. Triage your spending. Review your monthly bills and determine what’s critical and what can be scaled back or cut if necessary.

8. Identify your sources of income and savings. I can help you figure out which accounts to draw down and in what order.

9. Network and jump into your job search. If possible, take some time to recover your equilibrium before plunging back into the job market.

I won’t pretend that losing your job is a picnic, but you might find that it unlocks dreams and depths that were previously hidden from you.

Be well,
Dr. Chris