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Have an Action Plan for Layoffs, Expert Advises

January 15 2003 - WICHITA, Kan., (AScribe Newswire) -- If you get a pink slip at your job, don't panic, says a Wichita State University sociologist who researches displaced workers. That may be easier said than done when you're faced with a layoff, but not being in a panicked state will make it easier for you to develop an action plan for your future.

Chuck Koeber, an assistant professor at Wichita State University, has written a 99-page manual, I've Been Laid Off - What Should I Do?, that is being distributed in the Wichita area, where more than 7,600 people lost their jobs in 2002, primarily because of aircraft industry layoffs.

Being laid off is one of the most difficult challenges a person can experience, Koeber says. But there are some things you can do to help you get through this uncertain time. Here are some things Koeber recommends individuals do and consider when faced with a layoff:

- Apply for unemployment benefits almost immediately. If you delay filing a claim, you may not be reimbursed for the weeks you were unemployed but didn't file.

- Ask your former employer and union, if you are a member, what benefits or other resources they'll make available to laid-off workers and find out how to get them.

- Get in touch with your local labor department to find out about help centers and programs for laid-off or unemployed workers. Use the centers and participate in their programs.

- Don't try to just wing it. Develop a written plan of action for the goals and tasks you'll need to accomplish to move you toward a new job. Use that list to schedule your time. "This advice is particularly helpful for those displaced workers who were used to having a supervisor schedule their time," Koeber says. "Without a plan and structure to your day, you may find yourself wasting valuable time, extending your period of unemployment, and prolonging the stresses and hardships of living without a pay check," Koeber says.

- Talk with your family about the loss of a job and what sorts of changes it may bring to them and you. Encourage them to be positive, understanding and supportive in this difficult and uncertain time.

- Don't try to maintain a lifestyle you can no longer afford by using credit cards or cashing in assets, such as your retirement pensions. Make a budget that reflects the loss of earnings from your job. Seek the professional advice of a credit counselor, if necessary. Groups such as Consumer Credit Counseling Service offer free budget counseling.

- Seek professional counseling if you have difficulty coping with feelings of anxiety, anger, depression or other emotional difficulties that you have suffered since the loss of a job. Many communities and universities offer no- or low-fee counseling services.

- Spend some time career planning, which begins with a self-assessment to identify skills, interests, work preferences, strengths and weaknesses. You can find self-assessment tests and other useful advice on career planning in books at your local library. Career planning advice can also be found on the Internet at such sites as

- Think of your job search as a full-time job in itself. Make a resume, fill out many applications, network, interview, spend as much time as possible searching for another job. Expect rejection, but remember that you may be only one step away from getting another job.

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