“I just lost my job! What do I do?”

Fired. Let go. Terminated. Downsized. Given the boot. Involuntarily separated. Furloughed. Shown the door. Whatever the company you worked for may have chosen to call it, you suddenly and unexpectedly find yourself without a job. Below are some pragmatic, brass-tacks tips for how to get through this tough time and get back on your feet.

  1. Have Your Severance Agreement Reviewed by a Lawyer

Sometimes when they are firing you, companies will offer you some severance pay in return for your signature on an agreement. Do you really know and understand what all the terms mean – and, more importantly, what effects they could have on your life? Sometimes companies are actually being nice and doing the right thing, but sometimes the terms in those agreements can really hurt you in ways that cost you way more than the amount of money they are offering you. Know what you are getting yourself into. Give us a call or email if you want help on that front. We offer several different levels of service depending on how involved your needs are.

  1. Ask Questions About Your Wages

Now is the perfect time to inquire as to whether the company you just left was in fact paying you everything they were supposed to by law. Why not let us take a look at your paystubs and see for you? This is the perfect time for several reasons.

First, if you do decide to file a claim against your former employer, it’s much less awkward to do so now that you’re no longer working there than doing it while you’re still employed. Second, there are time limits for making claims to wages owed, so depending on how long you worked there, for every day you sit on it and wait to do something about it, you may be depriving yourself of another day’s underpaid wages. Third, while you’re out of work you may have to borrow money or use credit cards more than you’d like – wouldn’t it be nice if you are owed money from your last job that could be used to pay those off? It doesn’t hurt to ask, just to see.

  1. Start Looking for New Jobs Immediately

The termination may have been upsetting – probably for very good reason. Brush it off, and let it roll of you like water on a duck. It happened; it’s over with. Now go out and start applying elsewhere. Many people just sit behind their computers all day and do online searches, but it’s a good idea to think outside that box! Ask people you know for ideas and referrals. Pound the pavement, knock on doors, email out your resume. Think about jobs you might actually like to have, and call up companies in those industries – employers love it when candidates are genuinely enthusiastic about working there.

  1. Apply for Unemployment

When you’re between jobs, it’s nice to have some compensation to get you through a tough time, but if you get it, don’t start relying on it instead of getting a new job. It looks so much better to hiring employers for you to have just a small gap in employment, not a giant hole. Also, sooner or later unemployment will end, and you will need to have a different source of income when it does. The goal is to get back up on your feet as soon as possible.

  1. Move On and Look Forward to Brighter Days Ahead

Many of our clients come to us after having left or been fired from their jobs where they were treated poorly and unfairly. Over the course of working through their claims related to their old jobs, we learn that they have found new jobs where they are treated better, paid fairly, and are generally happier all around. Being let go from your old job may very well have been a blessing in disguise!

  1. Be Kind to Yourself

Realize that losing a job can be a stressful situation no matter who you are. Manage your stress in ways that will give you more energy to do what you need to do, rather than to detract from you. It may have been the company’s choice to let you go, but it’s your choice what to do from here on out.

  1. Let us know how we can help!

Even though our focus at AndersonDodson is on recovering unpaid and underpaid wages for workers, we have experience with tons of workplace related difficulties and issues. We know of many resources that are out there and available to help you get back on your feet. Feel free to give us a call or shoot us an email and ask!

Written by AndersonDodson


AndersonDodson, P.C. is a law firm dedicated to holding employers accountable for paying their employees correctly. We are aggressive and tenacious when we need to be, if that’s what it takes to get the job done. Sometimes the playground bully needs to be brought down a notch, and we are plenty equipped for a fight if it becomes necessary. But we also don’t go looking for a fight. Our mission is to get our clients paid what the law says they deserve, not to stir up trouble where none is needed. Trouble is distracting from life, and living life should always come first.