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I Just Got Laid Off – Part 1

work This is the start of a three-part series on what to do if you get laid off. On the show today, we discuss what to do today before you leave the building. Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll discuss Part 2 – what to do in the next couple of days and then move to Part 3: moving on – going for your next job. So please check back in!



Getting laid off is one of the most stressful events anyone goes through. So before we get into details, take a deep breath. You can expect to feel a whole range of emotions, even if you weren’t completely surprised. It’s a grieving process. Psychologists have identified five stages that we go through when we lose something or someone:

  • Denial
  • Anger
  • Bargaining
  • Depression
  • Acceptance

These stages don’t necessarily happen in sequence. You may feel more than one at the same time. You may jump around. You will feel it how you feel it. What’s important is to understand what’s going on within you. It’s only natural.

Your job may have been taken from you, but your talents haven’t been

Your unique skills are still yours. You still have that great personality. You’re still an incredible person. And you know it!

With that mindset, and knowing that you will bounce back, here are some things to do, and things not to do, before you leave the building today.

Don’t burn bridges

Life is funny. Things change quickly. If you show class, it will be remembered. So filter what you say.

There may be a temptation to lash out. Resist that urge, because nothing good can come from it. Sure, you may feel better at the moment, but that feeling will quickly fade into regret. It’s much better to conduct yourself very professionally.


You will have to decide whether or not to extend your health insurance with the company. But you have 60 days to make this decision so don’t make it today. Talk to two or three insurance brokers who sell individual insurance. In almost all cases, you will find that you can get similar coverage for less money.

If you have one or more pre-existing conditions, it might make sense to sign up through COBRA. But first, check out comparable policies with several insurance brokers and get their advice.

Your 401(k)

Here’s another decision you don’t have to make today. In fact, there really isn’t much of a time limit on making this decision. A lot of people still have money in an account through an employer they haven’t worked for in seven years!

Resist the urge to cash out. You may feel stressed about money. We’ll talk about that more in an upcoming show. The Wall Street Journal reported that 40% of workers in their 20s and 30s cashed out their 401(k) when they changed jobs. As we discussed this on a previous Bigg Success Show, this may be a costly decision.

Before you decide what to do with your 401(k), you’ll want to investigate your options. Find a plan that offers the right combination of options and low fees. One thing you should find out, when the subject of your 401(k) comes up, is if there are any exit fees. This will be useful in your decision making process.


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Your final paycheck

If you get your final check today, be sure to verify everything. For example:

  • Were you paid the correct amount for the time you’ve worked since your last check?
  • Did you get the severance pay that you should have?
  • Were you paid for the vacation days you haven’t used?
  • Is everything in accordance with your agreement with your employer?

Other issues

You may be asked to sign releases and other documents. You don’t have to sign anything right away. Read the documents carefully. If you don’t understand something, ask. If you’re not satisfied with the answer, seek professional guidance from an attorney if need be.

Reach out

Finally, if you can muster the emotional strength, reach out to the people you worked with. Make sure you have their contact information. You never know when it might come in handy.

Thanks for reading our post today. We hope you’ll check in again tomorrow. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!


Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:

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(Image in today's post by hisks)

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I Lost My Job Because of Organizational Downsizing! Now What?

Bigg Challenge:
We received an e-mail from Christina who was one of a number of people let go in a corporate downsizing. She’s feeling a mix of emotions right now. She gave 100 percent to her employer and was identified in the community by her job. She’s having a hard time and wondered if we might be able to offer some tips to get through this. 

Bigg Advice:
We’re so sorry to hear about your situation, Christina. It’s natural to feel a roller-coaster of emotions immediately after a dismissal. So how do you deal with it?

Find a way to mentally escape for a bit.
One way to do this is to turn to music. On the show, Mary-Lynn shared some favorites:

  • Ramble On (Led Zeppelin)
  • Freefallin’ (Tom Petty)
  • Cool Change (The Little River Band)
  • Don’t Give Up (Peter Gabriel)
  • Roll With the Changes (REO Speedwagon)

It’s a grieving process
You’re going through a grieving process, Christina. Sounds strange, doesn’t it? But that’s what it is – you’re grieving the “death” of your job.

In her book, On Death and Dying, Elizabeth Kubler-Ross identified the five stages of grief: 

  • denial
  • anger
  • bargaining
  • depression
  • acceptance

We’re sure you can relate to some, or all, of these. It’s only natural. Allow yourself to be human and give yourself permission to ride this emotional roller-coaster.

You may go through the stages sequentially, but it’s more likely that you’ll jump around. Let yourself go through it. Grieving is a process. You won’t be over this loss overnight so don’t set unrealistic expectations for yourself.

Talk to people who care about you. And seek professional help if you think it will help.

Moving on
The good news is … you can replace your job! It may not be easy. It may not come quickly. But you can do it!

So when you’re ready, start planning to move on. Picture yourself in your new job. Maybe you envision a career change. Or a business of your own. Develop a plan to get what you want.

Perhaps you’ll need some more education. You may need to get some experience first. Your plan can factor in all of these things.

You may still be grieving, but you’ll likely reach the acceptance stage faster if you focus on your future, instead of the past. Then do something about it. Try to do something every day that moves you toward your new life.

Sometimes what seemed like a bad thing turns out to be a blessing. Many people have found their passion when they were forced to do so. Maybe you’ll be the next one!

Our thoughts are with you, Christina. E-mail us anytime to let us know how you’re doing.

If you have a suggestion for Christina, leave a Comment!

Our bigg quote today comes from Kenji Miyazawa:

“We must embrace pain and burn it as fuel for our journey.”

And as Journey would say … Don’t Stop Believin’

Next time, we’ll talk give out 100 tips to succeed bigg. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!


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Coping With Life Change


(Image by Jeff Kubina, CC 2.0)