What’s the one thing to remember when you lose your job?

So you’ve just lost your job. Now what?  Getting fired or laid off can be very stressful. From how much severance you’re entitled to and how you’ll pay the bills, to the anxiety around not knowing when you’ll find another job, there are so many immediate things to think about.  Speaking from a non-employment law perspective, you will need one piece of information that is often missed by so many: what is the employer going to say if someone calls for a reference?

When there isn’t clarity about the reasons for letting you go, you will eventually start to wonder what kind of a reference your old employer will be.

Being in, and working with, the legal profession for almost 20 years, I’ve seen that when a someone is laid off for economic reasons, employers are generally willing to work with you on what the messaging will be to the outside world.  Examples from past clients of agreed upon language used by employers include:

  • “We couldn’t provide the work Cindy was looking to focus on in her practice, so we agreed it was time to part ways.”
  • “Isaacs was hired during the pandemic to handle the increased real estate work we had. Now that this work has slowed down, we had to let him go.”

If you’re ever let go from a job, think about what messaging you’d like said about the reasons for your departure and be sure to speak about them during the dismissal negotiations.  Many employers are willing to arrive at a mutually agreeable script. Sorting this out ahead of time is going to make you feel more comfortable when conducting your job search.

One final thought, some employers are prepared to either fund outplacement coaching or provide a stipend towards these services to help you land your next role. I do this kind of work all the time. Consider raising this during your departure negotiations to put you in the best position possible.

I know that job loss is tough to deal with; I’m hoping this tip (and a half) helps to empower you.

Should you need any assistance with your job search, know that I’m here for you. You can always set up a complimentary call to see how we could work together.

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