10 super smart things to do before you leave payroll

  1. BEFORE YOU LOSE YOUR JOB, make sure you open a line of credit at your bank or credit union, and it’s smart to open a at least one credit card, or increase the credit limit on card(s) you already have.  Why?  Because you may not be able to get a loan, get a line of credit or open a credit card after you lose your job.  Banks don’t tend to lend money to people who don’t have a job….. And since you don’t know how long it may take to find a job, nor what emergencies may come up, it’s good to have a back up plan for how you can access cash if needed.  It is really important and smart to do, so don’t discount it.  You won’t realize it probably, but many of you have never had a low credit score, or NOT been able to get a credit card, or a loan.  When you’re used to earning money your whole life, it’s something you just wouldn’t ever think about. When you are unemployed, your credit rating and ability to get credit will take a hit.
  2. Build your resume and skills list in Career Path. When I was doing this, it was far less intuitive that I thought, it took 10x longer than I expected. There should be some posts in the T-Space “Surplus Support” group with insights on how to do this more easily (I posted instructions some time ago.)  
  3. You’ll want to print out all your Surplus Notification materials, and also save all of that as a PDF so you have a backup.
  4. It’s not a bad idea to keep a journal of what you do – to keep track of the jobs you apply for (how many, which ones, etc.), to keep track of discussions you have with any superiors regarding your surplus activities, and impending layoff. As it’s such a stressful thing, it’s just good to keep good, accurate notes, with dates and times of discussions and who the participants of those discussions were.
  5. Ask why!!!  Many folks I’ve encountered are STILL wondering what the criteria was that was used to land them on the surplus list.   Why the mystery??  It’s smart to ask your supervisor or leadership team what the decision criteria was. [Note – you’re not likely to get an answer, but it’s smart to ask and keep careful notes in your journal.]
  6. It’s also smart to make a list of those around you whom you know are also on the surplus list. You may want to stay in touch, support each other or just know who’s been cut.  
  7. Read everything carefully – the documents provided to you — the ADEA sheets — will list, by job title, the age of those in your universe, the number of people in your universe with that title at that age, the number “selected” to participate in the surplus, and the number not selected. The intention of this document is allow folks to see how the universe maps by age, by job title. Said another way – you’re supposed to be able to see that there is no age discrimination. I think an excel file would be more helpful. 
  8. Print out/download your corporate training history – all of it.
  9. Print out/download all your previous year’s YTR (Your Total Rewards) statements.
    Print out/download your appraisal history.
  10. Print out/download your pay stubs.
  11. Download any contacts from your Outlook which you’d like to retain – friends, colleagues, etc.
  12. NETWORK, network, network. Make as many contacts as you can, and maintain your contacts – with peers, supervisors, vendors, etc. While your AT&T employment is ending, your relationship with everyone at AT&T doesn’t have to end. Some of these folks may be instrumental in helping you find your next job

Important Considerations Before You Do Anyting

Losing your job is a huge deal. Like a super-de-duper huge deal.  There’s a lot to think through, and sadly, you’re in no state of mind to clearly and carefully think of everything.  Here’s a helpful list of things you definitely want to do before you sign anything or make any dramatic changes.

  1. Sit down and go through your finances with your spouse (if you have one) or alone if you are single.  This might be a good time to speak to a financial planner…… more on that below
  2. Consider opening a line of credit against your home equity, and/or opening any additional credit cards to have access to emergency money.  If you’ve been employed your whole life, you won’t think of doing this… but once you are unemployed, it will be difficult to get credit. (And yes, this will kinda make you feel lower than dirt.) This one is SO important, I mention it several times in several places since people tend to skim!)
  3. Look at your 401K contributions, if you were making them.  Think through (discuss with a financial planner) whether or not you should increase your contributions for your remaining time on payroll, or stop them entirely (to build up more immediate cash).  What you do may have big tax implications.  If you stop contributing, you may end up in a much higher tax bracket due to your severance payment, unemployment, etc.
  4. Did you know that you do NOT have to file for unemployment immediately?  Depending on the time of year you are laid off, and your financial situation, it might make sense to wait to file your claim so that your unemployment payments fall in the next tax year, when your overall income is lower because you have no job.  The risk is, if you find a job relatively quickly, you will have essentially forfeited your unemployment payments, another risk is that the payments are calculated based on your most recent income (it’s averaged over some number of historical weeks).  Delaying your UI claim might render a lower payment overall, but may not – so carefully read the unemployment site details and payment calculations for your state.  
  5. Speak to a lawyer unless you feel you deserved to be laid off.
  6. Have a plan for how to fill the void on your LinkedIn profile and your resume.  If you are looking for a job, it’s easier to find one if you already have a job!  Does it make sense to become a consultant until you find a permanent gig?
  7. Figure out what you will tell people, create your little “elevator pitch” and practice it, so you can say it without crying.  Friends and acquaintances will naturally ask, and it’s horrible to burst into tears every time.  

A Few Things to Consider After You’re Off Payroll

If you haven’t found a job in your 60-day surplus period, and have rolled off the payroll, there’s a mountain of stuff to go figure out — new job, retirement, pension, 401K, start a business, whatever.  Here’s are a few things that are a sort of “low hanging fruit” so you can feel like you’ve accomplished somethin right away… and there’s benefit for you.

  1. Make sure you know how to get your W2 at the end of the year. 
  2. Non-employees and retirees who retain AT&T services can pay via credit card.  So if you’ve been paying via bank draft, you can now switch to credit card payments if you wish.  
  3. If you left the company with retiree benefits (medical, dental, life insurance, etc.) [this does not include folks who are not retirees and getting COBRA coverage] if you have supplemental life insurance through AT&T you may have an option to retain that coverage.  Compare prices – my life insurance cost (through the AT&T supplemental life insurance @ group rates) was costing me more per month than an individual policy I obtained on my own through New York Life.  Through AT&T, 8 times my pay was going to cost $422/month, and I am now proudly paying just $178/month for more coverage than I had before.  Group rates does not mean “discounted” rates.  You may get a much better deal on your own.  If you would like to discuss with a licensed agent, click here.
  4. Check out the recent notice (April, 2018) on AT&T’s auto-pay policy.  They’re taking your money sooner, effective  June, 2018.  You don’t have to let them take it nearly a week sooner, but they’d like you to – this way THEY can make money on the float of all the money collected from customers prematurely.


Consider stopping  “auto pay” on your AT&T services accounts. AT&T recently notified customers (wich would incude we ex-employees and retirees, unless you plan to cancel your service) that for auto-pay customers, they will take the payments 6-days earlier. I believe the start date for that new policy is sometime in June 2018. They stand to make a ton of money on the float of that money. Unless you want to give money to AT&T before you have to, you should take your account off auto pay and just pay it manually when it comes due each month.