Let Go Vs Laid Off

The difference between “Let Go” and “Laid Off” is pivotal to understanding your employment scenario. Both situations can have consequences that affect your professional and personal life. Therefore, it is essential to know the difference between the two terms and what they entail. In this article, we will explore what “Let Go” and “Laid Off” mean, their implications, and how to deal with them for optimal outcomes.

What does “Let Go” mean?

When an employer “lets you go,” it means they are dismissing you from your duties, responsibilities, and position in the company. This kind of termination is often due to factors such as poor performance, disciplinary issues, or company restructuring. In most cases, the decision is made by the employer or the employee at the end of the probationary period. It is important to note that when you are “let go,” it is not necessarily a reflection of your skills, work ethic or value as an employee.

When you are “let go” from your position, it is essential to understand your severance package, as it plays an important role in your transition to your next job. Depending on your contract, you may be entitled to severance pay, health insurance, and other benefits. Make sure to consult your employment agreement or HR department to understand the terms of your severance package.

What does “Laid Off” mean?

When an employee is “laid off,” it means their job has been eliminated due to financial constraints, lack of work or reorganization within the company. A “laid off” employee may experience temporary or permanent job loss, which may have serious financial implications. In most cases, employers inform their employees about an impending lay-off in advance to provide them with adequate time to prepare.

When you are “laid off,” it is important to check if you qualify for unemployment benefits or any other government-sponsored programs that can alleviate the financial burden. Unemployment benefits can provide financial assistance during the job search process, giving you the chance to find a suitable job, while minimizing the economic impact.

The Key Differences between “Let Go” and “Laid Off.”

The primary difference between “let go” and “laid off” lies in the circumstances surrounding their respective terminations. For “let go” cases, termination is often due to an employee’s performance issues, disciplinary problems, or restructuring. The employer may choose to terminate the employee’s contract during probation, or even after a prolonged period of employment, due to their failure to uphold the requisite level of work quality or company ethics.

On the other hand, “laid off” cases are due to the company’s financial constraints or reorganization. During the “laid off” process, the company is forced to reduce its workforce, which may include cutting more jobs in the future. In such situations, the company often provides severance benefits to the affected employees, which could range from severance pay to continuation of other employee benefits like life insurance, health insurance, or pension plans.

To summarize, being let go means the employer has decided to dismiss you from your employment, while being laid off means your job has been eliminated due to financial constraints or due to corporate restructuring.

How to Handle “Let Go” or “Laid Off?”

Whichever end of the spectrum you’re on, losing a job can be a challenging ordeal. The first step to handling either situation is to remain positive, focused, and proactive. Here are some tips to help you cope:

Stay calm and Positive: When you’re let go or laid off, try not to take it personally. Remember, this is oftentimes a reflection of corporate policies or financial constraints, rather than your work performance. It’s important to remain calm and composed so you can take proactive steps to move forward.

Review your Contract: Whether you’re let go or laid off, it is vital to understand the terms of your employment contract. This can help you understand the severance benefits you’re entitled to or any other terms that may affect your transition to your next job.

Maintain Professionalism: Regardless of the circumstances surrounding your termination, it’s essential to maintain a level of professionalism. This helps you maintain your reputation and credibility, which can come in handy in your future job search.

Consult Professionals: When you are “let go” or “laid off,” it can be helpful to seek the advice of experienced professionals who can provide guidance and support. Consider consulting with an HR professional, financial planner, or job search coach to support you during the process.


In summary, there’s a significant difference between “let go” and “laid off” when it comes to employment termination. While both situations can be challenging, understanding the differences can help you navigate the situation better. If the worst happens, stay calm, remain positive, be proactive, and seek professional guidance to help move forward. With the right mindset and support, you can not only overcome “let go” or “laid off” situations, but also land on your feet faster than you think.