I’ve Been Laid Off. Now What?

Q: Unfortunately, I’ve just lost my job and don’t know what to do next. As soon as my compensation check runs out, I’ll have no income. I’ve been laid off – now what?

A: Being let go can be devastating and unsettling. The job you’ve depended on for daily structure and livelihood is now gone. You’re understandably dealing with overwhelm, stress and confusion (and, possibly, some other emotions). As your credit union, we are here to help! Here, we’ve outlined the steps to take when facing a layoff, as well as various tips and advice that can guide you through challenging times like this. 

Take time to process and reflect

It’s important to take the time to process the shocking development before moving forward. 

First, remember that being laid off is not the same as being fired. Getting laid off means you lost your job because your employer can no longer afford to pay you or no longer needs your services. It’s through no fault of your own that you are currently not employed. In fact, if circumstances change, you may even be offered your job back.

Next, take the time to process, and even grieve, the layoff. While you may not be at fault, the job was likely a big part of your life that is now being taken away. In addition to financial security, you’re losing the sense of purpose, fulfillment and social life that came along with your job. It’s a big change, and it’s OK to spend some time just letting it all sink in.

Finally, reflect on the experience and what it means for your career and future employment goals. You may just find that the layoff isn’t all bad after all. 

Talk to your former employer

Your ex-boss may be the last person you want to talk to right now, but it’s important to have this conversation so you can receive as many layoff benefits as possible. Ask for clarity on the layoff, in addition to the following questions:

  • When can I expect to receive my last paycheck?
  • Will I be compensated for my unused paid time off and/or sick leave? 
  • Will I be receiving severance pay?
  • What will happen to my 401(k)/pension plan?
  • Will I have health insurance coverage after my last day of work?
  • Can I count on you to provide a positive reference for me and/or endorse me on LinkedIn?
  • Can you provide me with copies of my performance reviews?

Assess your finances and create a budget

Evaluate your financial situation and assess your immediate and long-term financial needs. Calculate your expenses and determine how long your savings can sustain you. Create a budget that aligns with your current circumstances, prioritizing essential expenses and cutting back on non-essentials for the time being. Consider reaching out to financial advisors or experts for guidance on managing your finances during what will hopefully be a short transitional period.

Polish your resume and enhance your skill set

It’s a good idea to update and polish your resume before diving back into the workforce. Make sure the document reflects your most recent work experience and accomplishments and highlights your most relevant skills.

You can also take advantage of this work-free time to broaden your skills and acquire additional training. You can enroll in online courses, in-person workshops or obtain advanced certification in your field. Taking steps toward improving your game at work will significantly boost your marketability and make you stand out to potential employers.

Network and leverage online platforms

The more people who know about your job hunt, the better. Attend networking events, both in-person and virtual, to connect with industry professionals and potential employers. Utilize online platforms, like LinkedIn, to expand your network and showcase your expertise. Engage in industry-related discussions, join relevant groups and seek out mentorship opportunities. 

Explore alternative employment options

While seeking full-time employment, consider alternative options to stay financially stable. Freelancing, consulting or taking on temporary or contract work can provide income while keeping your skills sharp. Explore the gig economy and online platforms that offer flexible work arrangements. Additionally, entrepreneurship or starting a side business could be an opportunity to pursue your passion and create your own path. Be open to exploring different avenues, as these alternatives can offer valuable experience and potentially lead to unexpected career paths.

Getting laid off is never fun, but with these proactive steps, you can make the time between jobs stress-free and productive. Best of luck in your new job search! 

TikTok Inspo: Play the part of the employee who’s just been laid off. Tell us what you’re looking for in a new job.

How Much Business Debt is Too Much?

Small businesses routinely require additional capital. Funds may be needed for covering everyday operations during a slow season, or to pay for the company’s growth and expansion. Often, small businesses will take out a loan to procure these necessary funds. However, while debt can be a useful tool for growth and investment, excessive debt can lead to financial distress and, ultimately, the demise of the business. There’s no one-size-fits-all answer for how much business debt is too much, but these factors can help you determine whether your business has too much debt and whether it can take on any more.

Debt-to-equity ratio

The debt-to-equity ratio measures the proportion of a company’s financing that comes from debt compared to its equity. A higher ratio indicates a greater reliance on debt and higher potential financial risk. A healthy debt-to-equity ratio varies across industries, but as a general rule of thumb, a ratio above 2:1 is considered excessive debt.

Debt service coverage ratio (DSCR)

The DSCR measures a company’s ability to cover its debt obligations with its operating income. It provides insight into whether the business generates enough cash flow to service its debt. A DSCR below one suggests that the business may struggle to meet its debt payments, indicating that the debt level may be too high.

Cash flow

It’s important to analyze your company’s cash flow when assessing debt levels. Negative or inconsistent cash flow can be a warning sign, as it may indicate the business is struggling to generate enough revenue to cover expenses, including debt payments. Insufficient cash flow can quickly lead to financial distress when carrying a substantial debt burden.

Industry standards and benchmarks

Comparing your business’s debt levels to industry standards and benchmarks can provide valuable insights. Some industries require business owners to take on more debt, and comparing your own debt to industry-specific ratios and averages can help determine if the company’s debt is within reasonable limits or if it exceeds industry norms, potentially indicating an elevated risk.

Growth opportunities and investment needs

Consider your company’s growth prospects and investment requirements. Debt can be a reasonable option to finance expansion or capital investments, but it should be balanced against the expected return on investment. If the debt level becomes excessive relative to growth potential, it may hinder future profitability and financial stability.

Risk tolerance

Every business has a unique risk tolerance based on factors such as industry dynamics, market conditions and the management’s risk appetite. A company with low risk tolerance should aim for lower debt levels to ensure greater stability, while a company with higher risk tolerance might be more comfortable carrying a higher debt burden.

Future outlook

Consider the overall economic climate and the business’s long-term prospects when considering its debt. If economic indicators suggest a potential downturn, it may be best to reduce debt levels to increase financial flexibility and mitigate the risks associated with economic uncertainties.

If you’re still unsure whether your business has too much debt or if it can handle more, consult a professional, such as an accountant or business consultant. 

Debt is often a necessary part of owning a business, but too much debt can be harmful for a business. Use this guide to determine how much business debt is too much. 

TikTok Inspo: How are you using a business loan? Tell us all about it in a short video. 

The Anxious Achiever: Turn Your Biggest Fears into Your Leadership Superpower

Title: The Anxious Achiever: Turn Your Biggest Fears into Your Leadership Superpower  

Author: Morra Aarong-Mele

Hardcover: 272 pages

Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press

Publishing Date: April 11, 2023

Who is this book for? 

  • Anyone in a leadership position who’s ever stressed about feeling anxious in the workplace. 
  • Readers looking to turn their anxiety into success in their career. 

What’s inside this book?

  • A compelling guide to managing the anxiety that accompanies success and leadership from a top-rated podcaster, entrepreneur and mental health advocate.
  • Morra’s personal stories, research-based insights into mental health and practical advice culled through her years in the field of workplace mental health.

3 lessons you’ll learn from this book:  

  1. Anxiety is built into the nature of leadership.
  2. Anxiety should be harnessed into a force for good.
  3. You can learn to resist perfectionism, manage social anxiety and set boundaries to prevent burnout.

4 questions this book will answer for you:  

  1. How can I confront my bad habits and unhealthy coping mechanisms?
  2. How do I deal with feedback, criticism and impostor syndrome?
  3. How do I model and communicate healthy behavior as a leader?
  4. How do I figure out my own anxiety profile so I can recognize and avoid common thought traps and triggers?

What people are saying about this book: 

“Aarons-Mele has written an astonishing book. This is not a book for just anxious achievers–it’s a book for any human being who wants to transform their mental health.” – Andy Dunn

“Armed with the concepts in this well-researched, raw and vulnerable work, you will learn how to take anxiety and channel it toward a powerful purpose.” — Rita McGrath

“Great leaders take their mental health seriously. The Anxious Achiever gives you the skills to do it.” – Dorie Clark

TikTok Inspo: What did you think of The Anxious Achiever? Share your own review with us in a 15-second video. 

A Review of the Most Popular Workplace Communication Platforms

There are so many popular workplace communication platforms available today, each of them offering a range of features to support team collaboration and communication. Here are some of the most popular platforms, along with a brief overview of their key features.


Slack is a cloud-based communication platform that allows teams to communicate and collaborate in real-time. It offers a range of features including direct messaging, group channels, file sharing and integration with other tools. Slack also offers a mobile app for iOS and Android, which makes it easy to stay in contact with the team while on the go. 

Users love Slack’s screen share and video conferencing, claiming it’s quicker than competitors, but they don’t love the lack of customizable backgrounds or the minimal storage capacity on the platform. 

Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams is a unified communication and collaboration platform that integrates with other Microsoft services, including Exchange, SharePoint and OneDrive. Teams offers real-time messaging, video and audio calls, file sharing and integration with a wide range of other tools and services. 

Microsoft Teams offers benefits like advanced chat features with badges, GIFs and stickers, which always make workplace communications more fun. Also, many companies will not need to make an additional purchase to use Microsoft Teams, as it’s included in Microsoft 365, which they may already have. However, there are some disadvantages to this platform as well, such as limited capability for internal communications, challenging navigation and a complicated search interface. 


The video conferencing platform that exploded during the coronavirus pandemic is still a favorite among businesses across the world. The cloud-based platform allows teams to hold virtual meetings and webinars at no cost, with extra features and unlimited meetings available through subscription. Zoombombs are an unwelcome part of this platform, but virtual backgrounds are a favorite among users, because who doesn’t love attending a work meeting from outer space? 

Google Workspace (formerly G Suite)

Google Workspace is a suite of cloud-based productivity and collaboration tools that includes Gmail, Google Drive and Google Meet. Workspace offers real-time collaboration on documents, spreadsheets and presentations, along with video and audio calling, making it a popular choice for remote teams. The live Docs and Sheets, which can be reviewed, edited and updated by any team member who’s been granted access, make teamwork easy. However, some users complain of integration issues with Google Meet. 


Asana is a project management and team collaboration platform that allows teams to track their work, set and manage tasks and share files. Asana offers integration with other tools and services, as well as a mobile app for iOS and Android. Users find the task calendar to be super-convenient and user-friendly, though some complain that the mobile app is too limited and that too many emails result from use of the product.

Each of these platforms has its strengths and weaknesses, so the right choice for your team will depend on your specific needs and requirements. 

Your Turn: Do you use one of these platforms at work? Tell us what you love about it in the comments.

The Art of Bouncing Back: Find Your Flow to Thrive at Work and in Life ― Any Time You’re Off Your Game

Title: The Art of Bouncing Back: Find Your Flow to Thrive at Work and in Life ― Any Time You’re Off Your Game 

Author: Darleen “Coach Dar” Santore

Hardcover: 208 pages

Publisher: McGraw Hill

Publishing date: Feb. 28, 2023

Who is this book for? 

  • Anyone struggling through a rough patch with their finances or another area in life.
  • Anyone looking to build a stronger emotional foundation to help them survive – and thrive – when life throws them curveballs.

What’s inside this book?

  • Coach Dar’s proven strategies and techniques as a mental skills coach to help others with bouncing back when life gets them down. 
  • Coach Dar’s stories of how she and her clients rebounded after financial devastation and other setbacks throughout her 25+ year career.

4 lessons you’ll learn from this book:  

  1. Any adversity you face in life can create new opportunities for growth. 
  2. Pour a strong emotional foundation now to prepare yourself for future challenges.
  3. When you connect with your “Why-Power,” you can create your own bounce-back environment.
  4. Every setback you encounter in life can be instantly reframed. 

4 questions this book will answer for you:  

  1. How do world-class athletes suffer through defeat and come back stronger; and how can I do the same?
  2. How can I increase my confidence, emotional intelligence, agility and resilience to build my business or career?
  3. What’s the right way to accept feedback?
  4. How can I identify the exact pivot I need to push myself forward?

What people are saying about this book: 

“In The Art of Bouncing Back, Coach Dar shares 9 simple and practical ways to not only bounce back but thrive again. A must-have guide in everyone’s home.”— Bob Goff

“This book is an essential road map for those needing hope, tools for change, and a vision for their lives.” — J. Douglas Holladay

“Anyone who has had the privilege of learning from Coach Dar knows she offers sage counsel and guidance, and as a person she is truly one of a kind. When applying her leadership principles, our executive team was able to successfully lead a Fortune 500 Company through the uncharted waters of a global pandemic and come out on the other side stronger and more aligned than ever.” — Sheryl Palmer

“The Art of Bouncing Back is a must-read!..There is something in it for everyone.” — John H. Dalton

Your Turn: What did you think of The Art of Bouncing Back? Share your opinion in the comments.

5 Ways to Communicate More Effectively at Work

Knowing how to effectively communicate with your coworkers is essential for ongoing success. Effective communication helps reduce misunderstandings, fosters a positive workplace vibe, encourages productive collaboration and helps prepare team members for challenging situations the company may experience. Here are five ways to communicate more effectively at work.

Be clear and concise

The fewer words you use to communicate, the better. Try to keep your written and verbal communications while at work as short and direct as possible. This is not the time to show off your high-level vocabulary. Use simple, clear language, avoid technical terms and keep it brief for more effective communication. 

Actively listen 

In our screen-addicted world, active listening is a lost art. Be the team member who is known to really listen and pay close attention to the message someone is sharing. When a coworker is talking to you, or you’re reading an email from a colleague, don’t do anything else. Try to hear them out without jumping in to offer your own solutions or an outrageous story that tops theirs. Listen, validate, ask clarifying questions and then respond.

Watch your body language

Effective communication isn’t only about what you say – it’s also how you say it. Your body language speaks volumes; when communicating with coworkers, make sure it’s sending the same message as your words. Avoid crossing your arms or tapping your foot. Both behaviors communicate impatience and an eagerness for the conversation to end. Make sure you’re facing the person you’re speaking with and maintain eye contact throughout the conversation. Try to relax your facial muscles so you don’t look angry or tense, even if you’re feeling particularly stressed at the time. Positive body language can help keep the conversation smooth and productive for everyone.

There’s an app for that

While there’s no tech that can replace a face-to-face conversation, a communication app can help team members share workplace updates and developments in real-time. Apps like Slack, Microsoft Teams, Asana and Google Hangouts offer features like chat rooms, video and audio calls, task management and more.

Upgrade your emails

Most people shoot out emails mindlessly throughout the workday. Follow these tips to ensure you’re hitting all the right bases with your online missives:

  • Write descriptive subject lines. This will grab the attention of the recipient and let them know you aren’t wasting their time. 
  • Start with a great greeting. According to a survey from Perkbox, the most popular email greeting lines are “Hi,” “Hello” and “Good morning/afternoon”. The most annoying? Overly pompous greetings like “To Whom it May Concern”.
  • Break up your text to make it more readable. Use bullet points, numbered lists and paragraph breaks to keep the text flowing.
  • Don’t bury the lead. Make sure the most important point of your email isn’t buried at the end of a long paragraph the recipient may not even read. 
  • Sign off politely. End with a “Thanks” or “Have a great day”.

Effective communication makes the nine-to-five life smoother and more productive. Use these tips to improve your workplace communication.

Your Turn: Are you an effective communicator at work? Or are you still a work in progress. Share your best tips and experiences in the comments.

Two Weeks Notice: Find the Courage to Quit Your Job, Make More Money, Work Where You Want, and Change the World

Title: Two Weeks Notice: Find the Courage to Quit Your Job, Make More Money, Work Where You Want, and Change the World

Author: Amy Porterfield

Hardcover: 304 pages

Publisher: Hay House Business

Publishing date: Feb. 21, 2023

Who is this book for? 

  • Frustrated, overworked or under-stimulated employees who are looking for more time, flexibility, recognition, income and impact. 
  • Employees seeking a way to leave their job and start their own business.

What’s inside this book?

  • A step-by-step blueprint for financial freedom through business ownership.
  • Three revenue-generating strategies.
  • Porterfield’s strategies, stories and mindset shifts as a 9-5 escapee who built an 8-figure online business on her own terms. 

4 lessons you’ll learn from this book:  

  1. How to use your 10-percent edge to build a foolproof marketing plan.
  2. How to give notice and “unboss”.
  3. How to set your business up for success.
  4. How to build your company website and a social media following.

4 questions this book will answer for you:  

  1. How do I build up the courage to leave my job?
  2. How do I navigate the most common boss traps, like self-sabotage and “superwoman syndrome”?
  3. What do I need to know before I start my own business?
  4. How do I identify my ideal customer avatar?

What people are saying about this book: 

“…Amy does a remarkable job breaking down the steps for creating a passion-filled life and business. If you’re a woman dreaming of breaking through the glass ceiling to create a life on your terms and enjoy the process along the way, this book is exactly what you need.”

— Mel Robbins

“Ready to ditch your 9–5 and follow your dreams? Then get this book now! In her signature step-by-step style, Amy delivers a practical and inspiring blueprint to becoming your own boss.”

— Marie Forleo

“Amy unveils the mindset, skill set, and grit required to quit your job and unboss with clarity. Not only will you find the courage to give your two weeks’ notice, but this book will guide you step by step through navigating entrepreneurship with a greater sense of peace, purpose, and freedom.”

— Patrice Washington

“If you’ve been daydreaming of starting your own business and being your own boss but have no idea where to start, this book is just the motivation you need. Entertaining and incredibly inspiring, it’s packed with actual practical advice that will set you up for major success.”

— Alli Webb

Your Turn: Have you read “Two Weeks Notice” or plan to do so? Share your thoughts in the comments. 

5 Ways to Save on Workplace Lunches

Did you know that spending $10 to buy lunch at work each day will cost you $2,600 a year? And if you spend $20 each day, well … that number doubles! That’s a lot of money that could be better spent toward a vacation, a luxury purchase you’ve been dreaming of, paying down existing debts or just sitting in an investment fund or savings account. Here’s how to save on workplace lunches by brown-bagging it and beyond. 

Check out your workplace kitchen

If you’ve been buying your lunch every day, you may not even know what space and appliances are available to you in the office kitchen. Check out what your workplace provides for its employees in the way of food storage and prep so you can be better prepared when planning and packing your lunches. Is there a microwave, toaster or another appliance at the office? Do you have access to cabinet space and/or a fridge? Are there spice packets and condiments for the taking? 

Love those leftovers

Don’t just use the bit of leftover dinner proteins to add to your work lunch salads; cook dinner with the next day’s lunch in mind. Add a bit of extra protein to your entree, and then slice it or shred it for your workday sandwich or salad. If you’re cooking up pasta, set some aside to take to work the next day before you add any sauces or cheese. Homemade pizza is great the next day, too. Pack some condiments, cheese and your favorite salad add-ons to add life to your leftovers at work.

Jar it

Mason jars are the perfect food storage solution, and they’re pretty, too! Pack a tight salad, layered meal or anything at all in small Mason jars and it’ll stay fresh for several days in your home or work fridge. Jarring your lunch is a great solution for the employee who finds it challenging to carve out time for lunch prep each evening or morning. All you need is one marathon food prep session over the weekend, and you’ll be set for the week.

Freeze it

If your office provides freezer space for its employees, you may want to load up on some frozen meal options. You can find some delicious and healthful frozen lunches at Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods and other grocery stores. Keep them at work for those days when you didn’t plan ahead for lunch but don’t want to blow a twenty on takeout. 

Partner up with a colleague

If you still want to spring for takeout at work, consider partnering up with a friend to bring down the price. You can split a lunch special, share a personal pie or even take turns sponsoring a lunch so you don’t have to pay for your meal each day. 

Use these hacks to brown-bag it like a pro and save on workplace lunches. 

Your Turn: How do you save on workplace lunches? Share your best hacks in the comments. 

5 Workplace Resolutions for the New Year

It’s that time of year again: the time when you draw up a list of New Year’s resolutions looking awfully similar to last year’s list. This year, why not go beyond the usual weight-related goals and resolving to spend less time on social media by setting some resolutions for the workplace? It’s time to turn yourself into a star employee! Here are five workplace resolutions for the New Year.

  1. Acquire a new skill 

You may be a dedicated worker, but you’re only as good as your skills. Are they up-to-date? Make a commitment to learn a new skill in your field this year or to significantly expand your current skill set. Broadening your range of knowledge and expertise can help you advance in your career.

  1. Improve your sleeping habits

If you’re yawning your way through your workday and checking items off your to-do list in between too many cups of coffee, you may want to rethink your sleeping habits. Getting enough shut-eye each night will help you power through your workday while at your best, instead of slogging through it bleary-eyed and half-asleep. In addition to boosting your productivity, sleeping better can strengthen your immune system, improve your mood, make your memory stronger and help keep those extra pounds off. 

Follow these tips from the CDC for a better night’s sleep:

  • Be consistent with your bedtime and wake time.
  • Make sure your bedroom is dark and quiet when you’re ready for bed.
  • Keep your phone and other electronic devices out of reach or remove them from your bedroom. 
  • Avoid caffeine, alcohol and large meals before bedtime. 
  • Be physically active during the day.
  1. Rethink your work-life balance

A healthy work-life balance is crucial for success at work and further career growth. It isn’t easy to strike that perfect balance between absolute workaholic and careless employee, but you can do it! Take stock of your daily and weekly schedule now, at year’s end, to ensure you aren’t neglecting the parts of your life outside work, such as your family, friends, hobbies and more. If you’re overdoing it with work responsibilities, resolve to take some time each week to unplug from your job and tune into the rest of your life. 

  1. Improve your social media profiles

If you’re considering a career change within the next year or so, you may want to take a good look at your social media profiles. Most recruiters look up potential new employees online before moving ahead with the hiring, and if your social media profiles are in any way embarrassing and/or unprofessional, they can cost you a job. Spend some time now updating each of your profiles and ensuring that you’d be comfortable with any future boss checking them out.

  1. Create opportunities for engagement

Start the year off right by looking for ways to increase your engagement with other workers in your field. You can collaborate on present and future projects, share new insights and developments in your line of work and bounce ideas off each other for honest and productive feedback. Look for like-minded individuals on online forums and workspaces geared toward employees in your field. 

Let these workplace resolutions help you become the indispensable employee you’ve always wanted to be.

Your Turn: What are your workplace resolutions for the new year? Share them with us in the comments. 

What to Do Next: Taking Your Best Step When Life Is Uncertain

Title: What to Do Next: Taking Your Best Step When Life Is Uncertain 

Author: Jeff Henderson

Hardcover: 240 pages

Publisher: Zondervan

Publishing date: August 23, 2022

Who is this book for? 

  • Anyone interested in changing their career or life circumstances, but unsure of how to take that first step.

What’s inside this book?

  • A practical guide toward reevaluating your purpose and determining your next step in your life and in your career.
  • Jeff’s personal story and insights he’s learned along his own journey from marketer to church-founder and beyond.
  • The “Career Risk Calculator” to help you determine if you’re ready for change.

4 lessons you’ll learn from this book:  

  1. How to identify what to do, and what not to do when making decisions about change.
  2. How to exchange fear and confusion for confidence, freedom and purpose.
  3. How to cultivate optimal options in your life to guide you toward better decision-making.
  4. How to prepare for changes, both planned and unplanned.

4 questions this book will answer for you:  

  1. How can I pursue more meaning in my life?
  2. How do I know if I need a change?
  3. Is who I am right now as important as who I am becoming?
  4. I know I’m ready for change, so what’s my best next step?

What people are saying about this book: 

“The Great Resignation has resulted in millions of people wondering what’s next for them. It’s one of the reasons I’m excited about Jeff Henderson’s book. His practical and winsome approach will have you highlighting, laughing, and enjoying the story. All the while, he’ll help you take important steps toward figuring out what’s next for you.”–Michael Hyatt

“As a fellow restless traveler who took a career leap of faith in my fifties, I found comfort in Jeff Henderson’s journey … Change is hard. But Jeff Henderson helps make it easier.”–Stephanie Stuckey

“In an era when millions of people are facing a seemingly infinite set of career options and rethinking their futures, Jeff Henderson arrives with a thoughtful, highly practical and generous book. If you’re looking for actionable strategies and wise counsel, pull up a chair and let Jeff coach you.”–Carey Nieuwhof

“Reading this book is like having a million-dollar coach in your corner helping you navigate your next move confidently.”–Sangram Vajre

“Authentic. Helpful. Freeing….What to Do Next is a must-read resource for anyone looking for clarity, empowerment, and vision for what’s ahead.” –Shelley Giglio

Your Turn: What did you think of What to Do Next? Share your opinion in the comments.