I received a layoff notice last week.
June 30 was the last day of the 2011 – 2013 biennium for which the State of Washington had their operational budget. Their new budget was supposed to be agreed upon by April of this year, but it wasn’t. If an operational budget for our state was not signed into effect by June 30, the government would not be able to operate, and would have to shut down.
A similar shutdown occurred in 1995 and 96 for the federal government, and federal workers were temporarily laid off. On June 24 of this year, I received, in accordance with policy, notice of possible layoff along with 25000 other state employees. I have received layoff notices before, but this was the first time I was eligible to claim unemployment benefits. Now I knew without a doubt what my own jobseekers have gone through when applying for benefits, not knowing what was going to happen.
We talk about the feelings that people who receive layoff notices experience– shock, dismay, disbelief, depression– they’re all real, and they’re all legitimate. First, we’re losing a stable part of our lives. About half of our waking lives are spent at work; that’s a lot to lose. Second, there’s the uncertainty of what the future will bring.
I put some of my own advice to work for me: I made a plan.
The first thing I wanted to do was take a break. I had planned on taking vacation leave for the first week in July, but it was revoked in the layoff notice. I had to put my mind in a more productive light, and think of things I should be doing– and while rest was one of those things, I couldn’t be in vacation mode.
I lined up some volunteer opportunities close to my home, within biking range so I could be productive to mind and body (and save on gas!). I did a little advance snooping of job openings in my field because, as they say, the best time to look for a job is when you still have one. I know my former supervisor manages employment services for a non-profit human services agency, so I planned on re-connecting with him. I planned a block of time to update my resume.
Thankfully, the new operational budget was signed into law only hours before midnight on June 30, and our layoff notices were officially rescinded. But I was able to rest a little easier, even when not knowing what was going to happen, in knowing I had a plan.
- State sends out notices to state workers of potential layoffs (blogs.seattletimes.com)
- Temporary layoff notices to begin going out to state workers (thenewstribune.com)