You're Fired! How to Leave a Job With Grace If You're Laid Off or Let Go
One of the most challenging things to do is to be gracious when you feel you’ve been wronged.
And, when the situation is one where you’ve been terminated from a job, it can be especially difficult to not become angry and vindictive.
A colleague was recently laid off from his job at a major company. He sent me and others an email about how he handled the news. Instead of losing his cool, he was gracious and professional.
Here is his email:
As some of you know, I was laid-off a couple of weeks ago. I want you to know that I was nothing but grateful for the 10 years of extensive learning and participating in <name of company> which was the most significant part of my professional career development.
Not a single negative thought crossed my mind from the moment I received the ‘separation meeting invitation’ through to this moment. During the separation meeting with my director and HR – I was in a great state of mind, professional, attentive, responsive, balanced and aligned. As such, I was able to provide my director relief through the process as well as maintain many amazing relationships that I have developed over the many years.
What I love about his email is seeing how by being calm and courteous through the lay-off process he not only maintained the positive relationships he made in his job, but he strengthened them as well. I have no doubt that should he need references or introductions from the people he worked with they will be happy to give them.
I’ve been at companies where people were let go and I know it’s a very emotional, difficult time. People feel angry, betrayed and afraid. And in those challenging times it is easy to want to express your feelings to your manager or in your exit interview. While you may feel better after calling your boss a jerk and telling the HR manager the company sucks, you will regret it. You will only burn bridges. Bridges you need.
If you are in the unfortunate position of being laid off or fired follow these steps.
- Do not argue, beg or grovel with your manager or the HR folks when you get the news. You can certainly ask questions to understand why you are being let go, but do not make a scene. It is very challenging letting people go and no matter the reason, it’s usually been carefully thought out. Arguing with your boss will not change her mind and instead will reinforce the need for you to go.
- Listen carefully to what you are being told so that you can understand what transition benefits you will receive, if any, such as unemployment insurance, career placement coaching, a severance, references, etc. This is a good time to ask about these things if they aren’t discussed.
- Find something positive to say about the company and/or your manager. For example: “As you can imagine this is hard news to receive. While I’m very sorry to be let go, I’ve loved the eight years I’ve spent at this company. I’ve made some wonderful friends and have enjoyed working on many exciting projects.”
- If you are given an exit interview, either in person or with a form to fill out, do not be negative. It usually won’t make a difference anyway. Instead, it will just look like sour grapes. Again, find something affirmative to share about your experience at the company and focus on that.
- Invite your coworkers and manager to connect with you on LinkedIn. Ask for recommendations from those who directly worked with you and who you think would be open to giving you a nice plug. If someone doesn’t respond, don’t push it.
- Don’t badmouth your manager or company with your coworkers or employees. Again, stay upbeat and don’t go into details about why you were let go.
Years ago at Washington Mutual, my manager’s manager was dismissed. While we all knew she had been terminated, she never said one negative word about the organization or the people who canned her. She maintained her professionalism and graciousness throughout her leaving, including her goodbye party. I was so impressed.
I hope you never have to face a pink slip. But if you do, hold your head up, stay positive, gracious and kind. Your career will benefit from it.
An Advisor's Guide to Helping Women Become Savvy Investors
Today, more women than ever are involved in managing their personal and household finances. In a recent study, nearly half of the women surveyed (44%) stated that they are solely responsible for their household financial decisions, compared to 35% of men1. But the study wasn’t all good news. While women may be taking the lead when it comes to their finances, they also reported that they are not confident in doing so. In fact, in every financial category included in the survey, men reported much greater confidence than women. Where was the biggest gap? You guessed it: investing.
For advisors, this presents a challenge and an opportunity. There is a 90% likelihood that a woman will be financially self-reliant at some point in her life due to divorce, becoming a widow, or choosing to marry later in life or not at all2. By taking steps to help your female clients become confident, savvy investors, you’ll not only be more effective at serving in the best interests of these women and their families, but you’ll also be able to build much stronger, more trusted relationships to help ensure each family’s assets remain in your care for decades to come.
Follow these five steps to help your female clients invest with greater confidence:
1. Urge every woman to put her financial needs first.
Women do have a weakness when it comes to planning for the future, but it has nothing to do with a lack of knowledge, skill, or smarts. Their primary weakness is a willingness to put others’ needs first. This is a huge mistake when it comes to planning for the future. Investing for retirement simply can’t wait until the kids are grown or aging parents no longer need care. In fact, based on average life expectancies, women should plan to accumulate enough funds to last at least 20 years after retirement. The following chart illustrates the power of compounding based on an 8% rate of return to help bring that point home:
This hypothetical example assumes an annual 8% rate of return and does not take into account income taxes or investment fees and expenses. This example is for illustrative purposes only and does not represent the performance of any specific investment. An investor’s actual return is not likely to be consistent from year to year, and there is no guarantee that a specific rate of return will be achieved.
2. Educate women about the power of investing.
Security about any topic is rooted in confidence and knowledge. Educating your female clients about investment basics can help drive more confident decisions and more positive long-term outcomes. From the basics of compounding to the nuts and bolts of researching options and understanding the pros and cons of different asset classes, make it your job to help every client understand what she is buying—and why.
3. Dive into the details of asset allocation.
Asset allocation is by far the largest determinant of a portfolio’s success—even more important than the individual securities selected and timing of an investment. This is critical information for your client to understand as she pursues her financial goals.
4. Discuss how her investment strategy needs to evolve over time.
Part of every client’s financial education should be to understand how financial needs and goals change with each stage of life stage. Because a shorter investment time horizon creates greater vulnerability to market volatility, she needs to understand the impact of shifting a portion of her investment portfolio to more income-oriented investments as she moves closer to retirement. This Life Stages Guide can help you paint a clear picture of how allocation strategies need to evolve to fit her changing needs.
5. Be sure she’s covering all the financial bases.
Smart investing is vital, but missteps in other areas of financial planning can thwart even the best investment plan. Offer every client a basic planning checklist that includes these three important steps:
- Focus on the big picture. Organize your important financial papers and schedule an annual review of your investment strategy with your advisor. Regularly monitor your net worth—including your assets (all investments and savings) and liabilities (mortgage, credit cards, and other debts) to be sure you’re always moving toward your end goal of a secure retirement.
- Pay down any outstanding debt. Debt reduces your net worth, threatens your financial security today, and reduces your ability to invest for the future. Do whatever you can to minimize debt, and build an emergency fund to help pay for any unexpected expenses.
- Make estate planning a priority. Once a year, review your will and your beneficiary designations for every account to be sure they continue to reflect your wishes. If you have children under 18, work with your advisor or estate planner to establish a trust and select a trustee to ensure your assets are managed for the benefit of your children.
As a trusted advisor, make it your mission to provide your female clients with the education and guidance they need to become savvy investors and make the smart, educated financial decisions. By doing so, you can help every woman you work with not only enhance her financial security, but also gain the confidence to take greater control of every aspect of her financial life.
Click here to learn more about IndexIQ.
 Survey conducted by Regions Financial Corp. in partnership with Vanderbilt University, 2015.
 The Simple Dollar, “Guide to Financial Independence for Women,” 2014.
Disclosure: The information and opinions herein are for general information use only. The opinions reflect those of the writers but not necessarily those of New York Life Investment Management LLC (NYLIM). NYLIM does not guarantee their accuracy or completeness, nor does New York Life Investment Management LLC assume any liability for any loss that may result from the reliance by any person upon any such information or opinions. Such information and opinions are subject to change without notice and are not intended as an offer or solicitation with respect to the purchase or sale of any security or as personalized investment advice.
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