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Quitting Your Job or Getting Laid Off – What’s the Better Option?

Author : Steven De Nazareth

Updated : June 11th, 2019

There’s a lot of upheavals taking place in the organization and a round of layoffs have been happening. Decide if you need to quit your job or if you should leave your job.

Your workload is shrinking and other people’s positions are being slashed. You feel you’re being excluded from meetings and that you might just be the next in line to get the pink slip.

Quitting Your Job or Getting Laid Off

You’re faced with a question, “Should you quit your job on your own terms or wait for the company to decide your fate?”

Each of the situations has its own advantages. But as an employee, you need to draw the fine line between staying loyal to your current company and making the wise decision to move on

Advantages of Quitting Your Job

Advantages of Quitting Your Job

In some situations, quitting your job willingly can be beneficial as it helps you approach an interview with more confidence. Candidates who get laid off tend to lack confidence when they attend interviews, even though the reason due to which they were let go is usually not their fault.

Interviewers have the habit of asking the interviewing candidate their reason for leaving the previous job. This question is almost always asked regardless of the position to be filled.

When a candidate leaves a job voluntarily as against being laid off, it becomes easier to take on this question and answer it. Candidates find it easier to say that they took a conscious decision to quit their job and move on rather than having to admit they were let go of even if it was without a cause.

Speaking along these lines, quitting your job voluntarily makes it a smoother emotional transition between jobs. The fact that one gets to make their own decisions and has not been handed over their fate, makes them feel like they’re in control of the situation.

This helps the person feel empowered during their job hunt instead of feeling the desperation that could be accompanied by losing a job.

By quitting your job, you could be saving your current company from the difficult task of firing you and also save on unemployment benefits. You could also probably negotiate a notice period that gives you sufficient time to look out for other opportunities.

Maybe you can even ask for a viable recommendation or two. Mention it to your employer that you will continue to maintain a positive attitude with the company until your last day.

Advantages of Getting Laid Off

Advantages of Getting Laid Off

From what we have weighed so far, quitting your job seems to have quite a few benefits when compared to anxiously awaiting a layoff.

Quitting a job, however, makes you miss out on certain benefits that come with being laid off.

What are the benefits you gain when you are laid off?

  • Severance pay
  • Unemployment benefits
  • Health insurance through COBRA
  • Compensation for the remaining vacation days
  • Possible deferred compensation like retirement plans, stock options, pension.  

Your unemployment checks will not completely replace your paychecks. Nonetheless, if you’re a middle or low earner it could help you pay your bills until you find alternate employment.

In most states, one can draw unemployment benefits up to 26 weeks. In Massachusetts, unemployment benefits could amount to as much as $1,103 and extend up to 30 weeks.

Check the maximum weekly benefits in your state. So if finances are a concern to you, it might just pay off to wait until you get laid off.

The financial support that accompanies a layoff relieves you from the burden of paying bills and staying afloat. It also gives you time to look for the right job.

If you are stressed out about money, it’s likely that you will jump towards the first offer that comes your way. A little financial support to help you sustain, you can take a little time to search for jobs and also approach the situation from a more level-headed outlook.

To Quit or Not to Quit

Making a decision about whether waiting to get laid off or quit before the situation arises can be a tough decision. Here are some reasons to stay on in the job and also situations in which you should probably quit before you are handed over the pink slip.

Read on to help yourself make a composed decision and not a hasty one:

Reasons to Stay on the Job

A few good reasons for you to continue with the company are:

  • Candidates tend to be more confident while networking and interviewing when they are still employed
  • It is relatively easier to get hired while you still have a job than when you are out of work
  • You could probably start applying for jobs while you’re still working so that you can avoid the question about why you quit or having to tell your interviewer that you were laid off

Situations in which You Should Consider Leaving

Employees tend to get a little too comfortable in their positions and build emotional bonds with their companies. This is especially common in situations where the employee enjoys their job.

Such employees tend to stick on to the company even when the company is sinking instead of looking out for other jobs. Another reason for employees not to begin their job search is laziness.

The second situation in which you should consider leaving is if the job is affecting your mental health in a negative way. If the stress and anxiety of getting laid off are affecting your work life, your everyday activity or your confidence, quitting could help you.

You could put down your papers and try to negotiate for a sufficient notice period and start your job search at the same time. The one disadvantage that you need to be prepared for though is that they may ask you to leave immediately without serving a notice period.

How to Prepare?

How to Prepare

The feeling of not being in control of the situation can always be stressful, but preparation can make things easier. Update your resume and start applying.

The best case scenario would be that you’ll get a job offer soon after you put down your papers. In the worst case scenario, you could be let go.

But hey, you’ll be prepared for it as you would have already updated your resume and begun the job search. Then there’s always the severance pay and unemployment benefits to look forward to.

If you haven’t attended an interview in a long, here are some interview tips that you could use to brush up on your interview skills. Browse through our site and view the unemployment benefits for different states.

If you have any questions regarding the unemployment situation, you can visit our Community Forums to get quick answers to your queries. Communicate with experts in the field and interact with people in similar situations and get answers to all your queries.

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  1. I applied for unemployment on 8-1 and was approved. I received my letter of eligibility and debit card about a week ago. I did not file my intitial bi weekly claim because I missed the deadline by 1 day (didn’t realize they would be closed on Saturday). When I logged on it said I would have to reopen a claim because mine had been closed. I filled out the online form to deactivate the claim. My question is this: will I have another waiting week? And will unemployment have to contact my employer all over again to verify my wages and go through the entire process all over again or will they just reopen the claim with a new date window to file?

  2. Lost my job in 10/2018 due to plant closure, collected vacation and severance pay. Opened a claim in 1/2019. Got an on the job training job through career link in 5/2019 worked one week and became very sick and was off for two weeks VA could not find anything wrong but gave me medication for the symptoms and an excuse to return to work, prior to returning got a call from my recruiter at career link telling me the position was filled so i did not return. Reopened my claim, a few weeks later got a letter informing me the employer had appealed and said i did not return, had a hearing and the employer did not show but i lost and got a 2500.00 over payment. Got a temp job through an agency but have only worked 4 days in two weeks. Reopened my claim and was told i need to earn 2604.00 from current employer before it can be opened, did i do something wrong? Still applying for work but am days away from losing everything, need income to pay bills. PLEASE HELP

    1. Rodney,

      Your eligibility to claim UI benefits depends on multiple factors including monetary eligibility. If you’ve been officially told about the shortage of earnings, there’s nothing much one can do. If you’re still confident of winning the appeal, please make a strong case.

      1. I live in KY but my base wages were from earnings in GA when I lived there. I’ve exhausted my benefits in KY. Am I able to now file through GA since my earnings through 10/18 came from there?

        1. Dee,

          As much as I am aware, Unemployment Insurance is a one time cycle. Please call the Unemployment Office in GA for more.

  3. The hours at work have been cut due to lack of business for every department.
    So all full-time positions are now part-time.
    How do I file for partial unemployment?
    The only options I see (in Texas) are for full unemployment.

    1. Eric,

      You should be able to claim partial UI benefits. Please consider applying online until full hours are restored.

    1. William,

      If everything goes well, it should not take more than 7-10 business days (waiting week). Please call the Claims Center for more.

  4. I was employed by a VA company for 5 years, my contract ended yesterday (07/31/19), however, I worked remotely for those 5 years and live in FL, which state do I apply to for my unemployment benefits?

    1. Oscar,

      Please check with your employer if they remitted UI taxes into the system. Contract workers are generally not eligible.

        1. Oscar,

          In that case, please go ahead and apply if your employer remitted UI taxes into the system.

    2. You apply in Virginia…however, I worked seasonally and they used a ‘quarter’ that was empty, so even though my employer paid in, I only got a 1/3 of what I should have received. Figured that out later :/ They will also question WHY you aren’t able and available to work IN Virginia. They froze my account for about a month.

  5. I worked 37 years with the same company in Texas. On July 2nd of 2018, I was let go due to workforce reduction. I signed up for benefits several months later and now have drawn my 26 weeks of benefit. Is there any program currently open in Texas or federally that will extend additional money while job seeking?

    1. Lonnie,

      The E.U.C(Emergency Unemployment Compensation) remains expired. There is no extension available. Please inquire further with the labor authorities in your state by calling them.

  6. I have been an employee of my company for 34 yrs. My position is being eliminated but I have been offered another position for less money. It is a much more physical job that I am not sure I can perform well. I am 75. If I try to fulfill the position and cannot do it, will I still be able to get benefits if I quit? They want me to try it for a couple of weeks to see if I am strong enough and if I can afford the cut in pay.

    1. Lynda,

      I suggest you call the Unemployment Office to find out about eligibility before making a decision on continuation.

      1. I recently lost my job..i was late for work and they took me off the schedule..never told me i was fired..didnt ask for uniforms back. Another cook was andd has been late for work and he didnt get taken off the schedule.can i still get unemployment?

        1. Kandie,

          Please note UI benefits are only offered to claimants who lose employment due to no fault of their own. You can call the Unemployment Office for clarification.

  7. Are there any training benefits or programs that will pay for an advanced degree, such as a PhD which is needed to become more employable?

    1. There are multiple training programs administered by the Labor Department in each state. For more info, please call visit the official website of the Unemployment Office.

  8. I’m about to exhaust my Unemployment benefits. I was laid off from my first job and
    found employment then I lost my job and became unemployed again. I applied for benefits and have have almost exhausted my benefits but have not found employment. Can I file for an extension?

    1. Deanna,

      The E.U.C(Emergency Unemployment Compensation) remains expired. There is no extension available. Please inquire further with the labor authorities in your state by calling them.

  9. After reading your article it’s still not clear to me about requirements surrounding moving to another state and completing/continuing to collect. I have 8 weeks eligibility left, I am moving from MA to FL. The end of your article says: “Since it’s all virtual (online), you may still consider the option of continuing your claims from the base state even if you move to a different one until completion. As a responsible claimant, it’s your duty to inform the base state about your movement to ensure there are no hassles in the near future.”

    So it sounds like even once I am in new state I am eligible to continue to collect from my base state. I can just continue to do my required weekly job search and reporting to and filing in my base state (I do it via phone call-in). No need to complicate things by doing some crazy state transfer of benefits. Benefits also done via direct bank deposit and no need to change anything. Do I even need to tell my base state I am now living in a new state? Why? Thank you.

    1. Paul,

      For the ease of understanding, each state has its specific rules and laws with regard to administering Unemployment Benefits. It might be an obligation for a claimant to inform about the movement. For clarification, please call the Unemployment Office and speak to a representative.

  10. I was recently fired from my work 25-June-2019/due to me not meeting their “standards/ expectations” i submitted my UE claim on 28-June and have not received any pay as of today, 19-July. The status is currently “adjudication in progress,” my question is, should i be worried this will be denied? I read the FAQ on the UE webpage and it said only a couple applications require the adjudication process. How long does this process usually take to get the final answer of whether I’m denied or approved? The website stated it susuallt takes ~25 days for the adjudication process, does this mean once that’s done then i still have to wait another 2-6 weeks for final processing after? THANK YOU SOO MUCH to whomever is able to provide me with some answers/ input.

    Sincerely,
    Talia
    ** this is my first time ever being fired or having to file for unemployment so i really have nooooo idea what is standard or normal or whatever. I feel like an idiot with my simple questions but it would bring me so much relief having them answered, truly

    1. Talia,

      I can understand your reason for the anxiety. Adjudication is a fact-finding process where both the claimant and the employer will get an opportunity to present their case. During this process, make sure to produce supporting documents that amplify your stance. For all you know, the adjudication can be a lengthy process.

      Best Wishes!

  11. I was permanently severanced from my job due to a Co. Reorg & received my last severance pay last week. I called UE & was told that I should now do my application online since I will no longer be getting funds & still without a job & that this coming Sunday regardless of knowing if I will or will not get benefits yet that I should still file a weekly claim in case of UE back pay.
    So my question is, do I still have to report 4 jobs applied to within this week, even if I do not know if I will be approved/denied for benefits until possibly next week anyway?

    1. Lynda,

      You should continue to report the job applications as long as you’ve been asked to do so. There will be a “Waiting Period” and the first payment will take about 7-10 days after which they’ll flow much quicker. Please call the Claims Center for clarification.

  12. I tried to transfer from one state to another. When I left Montana I was told there would be no problem transferring. When I arrived in North Carolina I had trouble reaching the area manager by phone. When he finally called me back he said to meet him for lunch to discuss when and where I would be working. He did not show up for lunch. Then he never returned any of my calls. I went PA to visit a friend a few weeks later and tried there. I met with the hiring manager and was told there should not be a problem doing the transfer since I was still in the system. I called the store a few times and they said it was still pending. Then I was terminated without even a phone call. Am I eligible for unemployment and if so do I file in Montana or North Carolina. I still have a Montana drivers license but I am living in NC.

    1. Stacey,

      As long as you were unemployed involuntarily, you should be able to claim UI benefits. Please consider applying.

  13. I have worked for 32+ years and recently have become unable to work due to health reasons, so I have had to resign from my job. I have contacted SS and will be able to apply for disability but it will take awhile to process. Can I apply for unemployment benefits? I live in WV.

    1. Sandra,

      UI benefits are only extended to claimants who lose their employment due to involuntary reasons. Please reach out to the Unemployment Office for more.

  14. I had to quit my job at Walmart in Fairmont West Virginia and moved back to my home state ky, I’ve got a son with drug problems and 3 older sisters that are not doing so well in health cause of their age. I didn’t understand about the transfer part they had at Walmart that I could put a date when I could start back because of my car problems I thought when I left I had to go in like in s few days, I’ve applied here at Walmart in Winchester ky 40391 two times already plus dollar store, speedway, truck stop, bp, a few other places it’s been going on 7 months without a job I live with my son and its getting harder on him paying rent and utilities and food, not to mention our personal hygiene stuff I really need help I have no income coming in to help him and his wife out I get foodstamps and Medicaid I was praying I could qualify for unemployment PLEASE HELP!!!

    1. Vicky,

      I can understand your situation. Unfortunately, UI benefits are only extended to claimants who lose employment due to involuntary reasons. Please call the Unemployment Office for further clarification.

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