There are very few people in the world who can get laid off gracefully…I’ve been laid off twice and, both times, cried like a baby…it was not ideal…and in both cases it was expected…and I never cry! It was humiliating, tres strange and I can’t explain why it happened…TWICE. If you can keep it together that’s huge. I did keep my mouth shut this time, and was taking notes, and didn’t sign anything the day of. ABSOLUTELY don’t sign anything before you leave the office and make sure you carefully review all of the documents they give you. Typically, if there’s something to sign, there’s a window-a week, two weeks, maybe even a month-for you to look it over and maybe even get some professional advice regarding the situation. Do it…and if things don’t seem right to you, talk to the HR department, get them to explain terms…and if they don’t seem right in the letter, make edits and submit them. HR departments won’t always incorporate your changes but it’s worth a shot. Terms should be clearly defined-that’s better for both you and your company. Make sure they explain that they have eliminated your position in the letter and that the termination is not for cause. Little details like this can make a big difference down the line.
The one thing I did that really helped was I kept things light at the office meaning I didn’t bring a ton of stuff in so I only had a few small items to pack up. The office was a bit of a pit anyway…we never new when a pipe was going to burst or the whole thing was going to go up in flames…best to keep things from getting too cluttered. If you know or think you’re going to be given the boot, clean your desk and take personal items home. As previously stated, I knew it was coming…except that I thought it was going to happen in September. Having only a few personal items at my desk saved me the humiliation of carrying a big box home or having to come back and spend an afternoon packing with a coworker watching to make sure I don’t steal any company property on my way out…sounds harsh…and imagine how your coworker feels…but that’s how a LOT of companies roll these days.
Another suggestion, especially if this is your first job or early in your career and you have a good relationship with the job you’re leaving, get a letter of recommendation. It’s hard to think about when you’re there and in the moment but it’s actually the best time to ask for it. Trust me, it’s going to take a lot more effort-emotional and otherwise, once your out the door. And it’s a good thing to try and get before you sign the termination letter and other paperwork.
So that’s my 2 cents and here’s a Time article that goes into greater and more professional detail. Also, I had no idea Costco was offering health insurance! THAT is crazy.