laid off worker speaking with caption 'I asked about my severance package' (l) laid off worker speaking with caption 'Questions I asked when I got laid off What were the questions that you asked? but I think some people are curious on what I asked' (c) laid off worker speaking with caption 'What happens with my health coverage?' (r)

@xtineseo/TikTok Remix by Caterina Cox

‘Severance is negotiable’: Laid-off worker shares what questions to ask when you’re let go from a job

‘Having this information at that moment gave me a little more confidence.’


Eric Webb


Getting laid off is one of the most jarring life events, but an ex-Disney worker shares questions that you can ask to feel more prepared.

Creator Christine Seo (@xtineseo) shared her experience of getting laid off from her job as a UX designer for Disney last month. On June 16, she responded to a comment from a viewer of the previous video, who was seeking more information about how she handled it.

“Here are some questions I asked during my (initial) call – hope you don’t have to go through this but save it just in case!” Christine writes in the caption of the video, which has more than 353,000 views and 32,600 likes. 

@xtineseo Replying to @kingxkhan24 Here are some questions I asked during my inital call – hope you don’t have to go through this but save it just in case! 🫡🙏 #layoffs #techlayoffs2023 #workingintech #womenintech #uxdesigner #productdesign #questionstoask #layoffvictims #layoffsintech #career #jobhunting ♬ Chill Day – LAKEY INSPIRED

Christine says that after being laid off, her former manager handed the worker off to HR.

“I asked a bunch of questions. I did research beforehand, because I thought it would happen,” she explains.

Her questions for HR included when her last official day was, what would happen with her health care coverage and 401(k), if she was eligible for rehire, when she could expect her last paycheck, and more.

She also asked whether the layoff was performance based or due to budget cuts for the team she was working on.

Christine inquired about her severance package, and if she would get paid for unused vacation time. The worker suggests asking about who a future prospective employer can contact to verify employment, in case your manager gets laid off, too. 

And don’t forget about job outplacement services, which she says, “Your employer is actually paying for.”

Christine says toward the end of the video, “Having this information at that moment gave me a little more confidence.”

Christine’s questions line up with those recommended by many employment resources online. Harvard Business Review also advises to ask about your stock options (if applicable) and whether you can receive copies of your performance reviews. When it comes to severance, CNBC says a laid-off worker can ask about extended health coverage, increased monetary packages, and staying on the job a little longer.

Viewers shared some of their own tips in the comments.

“You should also know that severance is negotiable,” one wrote.

“Remember to always keep track of the 401ks I’ve seen people forget about old retirement accounts and it goes to the void,” another commented.

“HR here: a lot of these are dependent on the state you live/work in! Your vacation payout and final paycheck are subject to local laws,” someone else wrote.

“Don’t forget to ask about Flex Spending (Accounts) and HSAs. I got laid off and found out after the fact I might lose my flex spending,” another worker chimed in.

One comment read, “As someone who has a career in fine dining, I often forget how different and honestly fascinating the other half of society operates.”

The Daily Dot reached out to Christine via email.

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