There is a real chance I will be laid off in the next month and after working at company for 15 years. What should I do to prepare? What kinds of things should I be thinking about?
Preparing for a Layoff
Is this question about finances or a change of life? Do you have an emergency fund? Does UI cover your expenses? Is there a severance package? Do you have time to evaluate what you want...do you have to start applying to jobs right away or can you take a month or two to figure out a new direction in your life or perhaps 6 mths off? ... whether that has to do with looking for same kind of job or a different path? 15 years is a long time at a job you may be feeling all sorts of things - it could be exciting or stressful?
So my question filled response above was due to the fact that I'm in the same position and I did indeed get notice yesterday; downsized and partial work until June. I knew this may happen (depending on a contract coming through) so I was semi prepared, but it still is shocking to hear.
In preparation, create a 2nd budget (I have 3, regular, reduced and bare bones). The reduced budget consists of dropping "unnecessary" expenses (for me it was reducing health insurance (sliding scale), day care expenses and reducing savings (which are all significant amounts and reduce my expenses to half)), but still allows for some extra curricular activities - the idea being not altering life too much, but being more careful) Perhaps making minimum payments on loans instead of trying to pay one off. Smaller things like cable and cell phone plans ... I never had. Depending on your situation, choose carefully about what to keep and what to drop. Maybe you don't have to nor want to. Bare bones budget, is covering expenses (mortgage, utilities, food)
Not working after 15 years could be terrifying or fun; you may have a long list of things you have wanted to do, but not the time. You may feel scattered and unfocused with all the hours in a day ... In preparation, figure out what you might like to accomplish. Create a new routine for yourself; perhaps spend a few hours on personal (train for 5k?, crochet?), a few on home projects (paint walls, deep clean, garden) & family and a few hours on career (updating resume, checking out job ops, starting a class). Take advantage of free things to do, (spring is finally here), biking, hiking, swimming - focus more on family outings and bonding.