Sensible Steps Before and During a Layoff Make It Easier to Cope

Companies trying to make it through tough economic times sometimes cut jobs. If you think a pink slip may be on its way, there are things you can do while you still have a job and within the first few days of a layoff to make a period of unemployment more manageable.

If you're still working, beef up your emergency fund so that it carries you through several months of missed paychecks. Pay off debt, if possible.

And, if you don't already have a home equity line of credit, consider opening one at Harvard University Credit Union to use only in an emergency. Talk to one of our loan officers for guidance.

If you lose your job and you can see that your resources will not be enough to cover all your essential expenses, you need to set priorities. Keeping up with your rent or mortgage payments should be your top priority. Car payments, basic utilities, food, and essential insurance coverage come next. Make at least the minimum monthly payments on credit cards, if possible.

Because laid-off workers often are cut off from company computers immediately and can't retrieve their address books and personal files, keep these backed up at home. You'll want to be able to contact former colleagues when you begin looking for a new job.

As soon as you get laid off, file for unemployment benefits; it can take a few weeks before your first check arrives.

Review your severance or separation package, making sure you understand what's being offered and what paperwork you might have to fill out. You also should determine if you believe the package is fair and gauge if there's room for negotiation.

While you may not have control over what happens to your job, you do have control over how you prepare for and manage a layoff.

If you think you might be facing a layoff, talk to a professional at Harvard Credit Union. We can help keep your finances in order during this difficult time. It's never too late to ask for help. Stop by or contact us today at 617-495-4460.