By Tim Hopkins

As a society, we are living in incredibly stressful and uncertain times. The COVID-19 crisis has dominated the headlines and, unfortunately, many experts are expecting the pandemic to continue for quite some time. While we as individuals have been impacted, so have businesses. Across the country, more and more employers are being forced to make tough financial decisions that will affect the livelihood of many individuals and, ultimately, their families.

So, how should you cope with all the insecurity? I will harken back to the days of my youth as a Boy Scout and say this, it is all about being prepared. While times were certainly easier, the lesson still holds true today.

  1. Know the difference between a furlough and layoff. A furlough is a temporary layoff from work or a reduction in hours worked. In most cases, employees are not paid during the furlough but benefits such as health insurance are maintained. For many companies, the goal is to position themselves to retain their staff once business “gets back to normal.” For the business, this is a smart choice as they are positioned to fill job openings with current staff without the need to start over. For the employee, this is not a guarantee of work, but the odds are significantly in your favor. A layoff takes place when an employee (or more frequently a group of employees) are officially released from their position. Like a furlough, layoffs are not associated with job performance and the employee may be rehired in the future. For the business, this often takes place when paying salaries and benefits is difficult and/or a business is no longer able to generate revenue. When possible, businesses will offer a severance package that may include health insurance for an allotted time in addition to a dollar amount to help the employee transition. However, severance packages are not guaranteed.
  2. Update your resume. It might seem pre-mature and even discouraging to update your resume now but think of it as a necessary step in preparation. Updating your work history to accurately reflect the work you have been doing will take time. You may not even need to use it, but if down the road you find yourself presented with the need – you will be ready.
  3. Consider budget cuts. I know … the dreaded budget cuts. Just as businesses are adjusting their budgets, you should too. This is especially true if you suspect a furlough or layoff coming your way.
  4. Talk with your family! Although I have it listed here as number four, it really is the most important step. As a recruiter, I see candidates far too often who go down the road of employment decisions only to discover a very unhappy spouse or family member who was shocked! Keep your significant other in the loop from the beginning and lean on each other to make decisions together.

So, you feel prepared but then the dreaded conversation happens … you have been furloughed or laid off. Do not panic!

  1. Don’t take it personally. Remember that if you face a furlough or layoff, this is not a reflection of your job performance. I know … that is easy for me to write and for you to read, and yet quite different to live through. But it is extremely important that you maintain your confidence and know your worth.
  2. Ask about your options. Ask for a severance package or the opportunity to keep your benefits.
  3. Get letters of recommendations. Ask for written letters of recommendation from your direct supervisor and other leadership within the organization.
  4. File for unemployment. Yes, employees can file for unemployment if laid off or furloughed. The amount of unemployment benefits furloughed workers are eligible for varies in each state. There may also be other unemployment programs your state is offering to help through this pandemic. Look at your local workforce commission and do your research right away.
  5. Use this time to update your education. Discover ways to update your skill set while on furlough or laid off. Take this opportunity to increase your education and advance your career.

You have many resources at your fingertips and certainly are not alone in these challenging times. If you need support finding a position give us a call at Stephens International Recruiting Inc. We are always happy to help!

Tim Hopkins is the vice president of operations and executive recruiter for Stephens International Recruiting Inc. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of TechNation or MD Publishing.

Imposter Syndrome Antidotes

Un-checked feelings of unworthiness and thoughts of doubt can grow into what is commonly known as imposter syndrome.

How to Decide Between Two Job Offers

I recently spoke with a friend whose daughter has to decide between two job offers very soon. One is a very good position at a very reputable firm in the town she most wants to settle in. The other is a similar position at what is considered to be a more prestigious company – but it is in a different state

How to Handle When your Boss Takes Credit for your Work

I recently read about a survey from BambooHR that asked employees what they consider unacceptable boss behaviors. I was surprised that it wasn’t something like “my boss overloads me with work” or “my boss constantly criticizes what I do.”

How to Recruit and Retain BMET Career Changers, Prep for Gen Z Workforce

For the past decade, the looming retirement crisis for BMETs has been at the forefront of the industry’s mind. It is apparent that there are multiple ways in which we need to recruit talent to sustain our field for the long term. Perhaps the key to attracting more people lies in the many different paths individuals can take to become a BMET.

Can You Hold Off on Accepting a Job Offer?

You get a job offer almost immediately after an interview, but have interviews lined up with other companies. How long can you wait before giving an answer? And should you mention you’re also interviewing for other positions?

How Honest Should You be in an Exit Interview?

Preparing for an interview is something most job seekers are always a bit nervous about, so it’s something they take time to prepare for. But what about an exit interview?

What Should You Do After Sending the Wrong Resume?

Resumes and cover letters are usually tailored specifically to each individual job listing. What happens when an applicant hits “send” and realizes soon after that they’ve attached the wrong resume or cover letter?