Position Eliminated? Here Are Some Actions to Take
It's gentler than a firing, yet stings more than a layoff. Sometimes, a position is eliminated for legitimate reasons—the company was over-staffed and change was inevitable. In other situations, “we’re eliminating your position” can be code for “we’re unhappy with you, but we don’t care to get into it.”
So what do you do if your position is eliminated? First of all, don’t panic—too much. Fear is a perfectly normal reaction, so give yourself a few minutes, or maybe even hours, to get it out of your system. After that, buckle down and figure out your next play.
No matter how hopeless it might seem at first, you do have options.
Figure out what, if anything, the company is offering
Talk with human resources about severance packages if your position is eliminated. You should at least be walking out the door with accumulated vacation time.
If your job was eliminated for legitimate reasons of overstaffing, ask if there’s an opportunity in another department. Take the initiative to look through the company’s recent job postings, and see if there’s a job open that’s a good fit, or even one that will do for now.
If nothing pans out, it’s time to move on and begin recovering.
Look into unemployment benefits when your position is eliminated
Unemployment benefits won’t come close to your previous income, but they can help tide you over. Chances are, you’ll be eligible.
Many states allow filing by phone or online from the comfort of your jammies. Check here to find out how to get started in your state. The process can be a frustrating game of “Mother, May I” at times, so pay attention to details, both for filing and reporting.
Consider a side hustle
Thanks to the gig economy, it’s easier than ever today to make money. There is, of course, a downside to doing this permanently—lack of benefits is a big one.
On a temporary basis, though, it’s an option. From Uber to turning a hobby such as photography into a money-maker, there are many possibilities. Sell beauty products, work for a grocery delivery service, start a lawncare business. Offer accounting, graphic arts, even administrative assistant services on a contract basis.
Everyone has skills that someone else is willing to pay for. It’s just a question of figuring out what yours are.
If you need those unemployment benefits, make sure your hustle doesn’t make you ineligible. Check earnings limits in your state before putting yourself out there.
Know what you’re up against when your job is eliminated
It’s not your imagination: It is harder to land a job when you’re unemployed. Some companies consider a layoff a red flag and wonder what you did to cause it. You need a strategy to take yourself out of the bargain bin and back up to full market value.
If you were in the same job for a while before the position was eliminated, you’ve probably let your network slide. It’s time to reconnect. Also make sure your resume and social media presence sparkle.
Wash your face and get dressed
As tempting as it is to live in your sweats, don’t do it. It might be fun at first, and there’s probably no harm in taking a week off from the world. It’s important, though, to establish a new routine so staying in bed until noon doesn’t become habit.
Devote at least a couple of hours a day to your job search. This can include time training yourself in skills that will make you more marketable. Take up a hobby you’ve always wanted to try. Volunteer for a non-profit or community group—you might also find networking opportunities.
Also, know that unemployment depression is real. It can leave amazingly competent professionals incapable of leaving their homes out of a sense of shame or failure. Be on the lookout for signs such as flagging optimism, loss of joy in life, and feelings of isolation. If you sense yourself really struggling, there are likely free resources in your community where you can find help.
Like any layoff, losing a job when the position is eliminated is a blow. Give yourself some time to grieve—be angry, sad, outraged, hurt. And then start recovering.
Check into unemployment and other income streams, but at the same time focus on finding a meaningful new job. At least you won’t have to worry about sneaking around the boss to go to an interview.