What Happens When You Get Laid Off ?

Everything happens for a reason. I’ve been absent for a while, so let me tell you what happened.

Photo Credit: Google Images

Photo Credit: Google Images

Aiight so boom let me tell y’all…about a month ago I HR called the employees of my program into our meeting room and there was a sense of uneasiness. There was a sense of bad news and some people already knew what was happening. A woman from senior leadership that only comes around to deliver bad news was there so I figured we were not going to like what we were about to hear.

She in her carefully worded and obviously practiced speech she told us that they were closing down our program along with another similar program to combine for bigger and better, sounds good right ?

The catch was we were all laid off effective June 30th (mind you that’s a Sunday) and if we wanted to transition to the new location we would have to reapply like new employees. The worst part was that our counterparts at the other closing program were about to be told the same thing and we would have to apply against each other because there aren’t enough positions for everyone to transition.

It was so silent I feel like I heard someone’s heart breaking.

I was in disbelief for several reasons;

This laying off, losing your job in an instant is really a thing ! I got upset thinking about my coworkers and how some of them just started and that senior leadership knew they were going to close down our locations but they continued to conduct interviews and hire people. I thought about my long train rides to work and all of the beggars and saw and how they told stories of loosing their job and everything in an instant, I thought about how that could’ve easily been one of us.

Photo Credit: Google Images

Photo Credit: Google Images

I felt embarrassed, used and hurt, like I really bused my behind and they can just let me go like I mean nothing ! I started thinking like what happens when you get laid off ? How would I tell my family and friends ? Should I tell them ? Do I have to go for unemployment ? How would I pay my bills ?

What happens when you’re laid off ?

When you are laid off, they call you into a room and give you whatever sugar coated reason of why they are deciding to let you go, give you some lame option which more than likely would include applying for “open positions within the organization” if you qualify and then they present the severance package.

A severance package is:

pay and benefits employees receive when they leave employment at a company against their will. In addition to their remaining regular pay, it may include some of the following: Any additional payment based on months of service Payment for unused accrued PTO vacation time Holiday pay or sick leave.

A couple things to know about severance packages, according to salary.com

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Last Paycheck - This usually covers all the time worked until your termination date, accrued vacation time payouts due, statutory deductions, and your benefit elections. In some cases, you may be eligible for an accrued sick leave payout or a bonus payout depending on your company's policies.

Severance Agreement - This contains the severance pay and benefits that employers elect to offer beyond your last payment, commonly known as the severance package.

Photo Credit: The Balance

Photo Credit: The Balance

The money components of a package can include:

  • Severance pay based on terms of service

  • Commission, Bonus, and deferred compensation payouts due

  • Rights under a pension, profit sharing, and 401(k) plan

  • Stock option statement and exercise schedules

  • Restricted stock and acceleration schedules

  • Loan Repayment terms

  • Un-reimbursed business expenses*

You are eligible for unemployment.

Severance is the same amount that you would get paid if you were working but it feels like less for some reason. The length of severance pay varies so you have to keep applying for jobs, and we all know how hard it is to find a decent paying job in NYC because the price of living is going up but the pay isn’t.

I was in disbelief because that woman really came into our space and told us she basically took our directors job and we have to duke it out with the other program to have a job on top of having to apply like we were new There were people who’ve been there for 10+ years, like how dare you !

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More importantly I was in awe of how amazing God’s timing is. Like a month or so prior I was offered a position, a more active role and better pay. The position isn’t set to start until July. I constantly prayed that any new position I get I hope it allows for me to finish the school year with my current students. The demographics of students I work with, I’ve worked with them since 11th grade so they’ve grown attached and they as a unit have attachment and abandonment issues that I did not want to contribute to. I wanted to finish what I started and starting in the summer allowed me to do just that.

This entire situation reaffirmed my belief that God has a blueprint for everyone and that blue print coincides with a timeline that he has for you as well. I am so thankful for the way things are coming together and that I am seeing my purpose clearer and clearer every day. Thinking about the way things have been coming full circle makes me teary eyed. The demographics of students that I’ll be serving at my new job align with everything I’ve been working on since college; empowering young women, understanding our history, the struggle of where black and brown women have come from and the power we have to change the future.

I was stressed at first thinking about my financial responsibilities and how I wanted to be active socially this summer, but then I remembered a saying that I heard about how He brought you to it and He’ll get you through it. I can’t have faith and fear at the same time.

Faith x Fear = Doubt

How could I ever be doubtful !?

I strongly believe that July was left vacant to prepare me for what is next and allow me time to learn how to relax. I’ll be jumping in full force in August actively working on two Masters degrees and my teaching license in addition to my Higher Education Administration degree and I couldn’t be more excited.

Everything happens for a reason!