As AT&T employees face the prospect of returning to the office due to company mandates, it's crucial to understand the steps to take before making this significant transition. Whether you're considering retirement or anticipating job loss, these moments can be monumental in your life. The whirlwind of emotions, racing thoughts, and uncertainty can leave you feeling overwhelmed. Job loss, especially after dedicating over 20 years of service, can affect your emotional well-being, akin to the loss of a loved one. The connection you've built with AT&T over two decades is undergoing a transformation. In times like these, it's essential to reach out to AT&T HR & Benefits at 210-351-3333 for comprehensive AT&T summary plan descriptions to help you navigate this journey.
The journey through retirement, job loss, or significant transitions due to return-to-office mandates often mirrors the same five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. These stages form the framework for understanding and coping with the challenges of job loss and transition.
As the reality of the situation settles in, your emotions are likely to be in turmoil. You might experience moments of frustration, sadness, or anger, and the urge to vent these feelings can be strong. However, it's essential to remember that impulsive reactions rarely lead to positive outcomes and can exacerbate an already challenging situation.
Here are a few items to check off as you consider leaving AT&T:
1. Sit down and carefully analyze your finances. If you have a spouse or significant other, involve them in this process. Avoid doing financial business with friends or family. Money and friendships do not mix.
2. Call your Credit Union or Bank, and consider opening a line of credit against your home equity. Consider opening additional credit cards to create an emergency credit line. As many of you have been employed your whole life, you probably won't think to do this - once you are unemployed, it becomes exceedingly difficult to get credit, making it very important you take this line of action.
3. Go over your 401(k) contributions, if you were making them. Decide whether or not you should increase your contributions for your remaining time on payroll, or cease them entirely to build up more immediate cash. How you proceed may have big tax implications. Depending on when you stop contributing, you may end up in a much higher tax bracket due to your severance payment, unemployment, etc.
4. It's not always wise to file for unemployment immediately after the loss of a job. Depending on the time of year you are laid off, paired with your financial situation, it could be beneficial to wait to file your claim so that your unemployment payments fall in the next tax year, when your overall income is lower due to the fact that you're unemployed. There are an overwhelming number of situations that you want to consider before making a move on this. We recommend speaking with a AT&T-focused retirement specialist to go over your options, at 800-900-5867.
5. Unless you believe your layoff was deserved, speak to a trusted lawyer to go over your options. Venting your anger at managers and colleagues may feel amazing temporarily, but it will damage your career in the long run. You spent all this time building up your relationships at AT&T, why burn them now? Avoid going online even anonymously to berate past AT&T staff & management
6. Have a plan for how to fill the void on your LinkedIn profile and your resume. If you are pursuing a new job, having a job makes it much easier when finding your next adventure. In the meantime, you might consider becoming a consultant until you find a permanent position. You may also find the ability to go back to AT&T as a contractor working on your terms.
7. Figure out what you will tell your AT&T coworkers - create your go-to statement and practice it, so you can say it without becoming too emotional. It will be normal for friends and acquaintances to ask, and we assume you won't want to burst into tears or lash out every time the question is popped. However horrible you feel, it's crucial to remain calm and act professional, and try to avoid doing anything that might hinder your reputation or integrity. Remember to stay professional on social media when discussing AT&T.