Got laid off? Here are some tips for coping with job loss.
Facing A Job Layoff? Turn Your Thoughts To Action
Like most Americans, I really have no idea what it feels like to stand in a food line or live on the street. I’ll admit that I’ve been lulled into complacency by years of economic prosperity and have long assumed that the prosperous America that I live in will never change so that there’s no real urgency in having to build an emergency fund or to prepare for the worst.
But with the recent spate of job layoffs over the last year, I’ve been nervous about being in debt or not having enough in my emergency fund. Who knows if tomorrow brings the unexpected, which suddenly takes away our income power? Well, during a time of difficulty, it’s best to focus on the positive and to try to stay productive. I’ve been inspired to compile a list of things we could do to help us cope with the unexpected and deal with a job layoff.
6 Tips For Coping With Job Loss: What To Do If You’re Laid Off
1. Stay out of debt!
Story after story can be found of people who say that unemployment wouldn’t have been nearly as bad if they weren’t still trying to pay their debts. A part time job may save you as you try to land something more permanent or try to pursue a new career; but it would be so much easier if you aren’t working to get rid of your debt at the same time!
2. Give priority to your job hunting efforts.
Expect to cover maybe hundreds of websites, newspapers, and other business publications every week. Keep your resume updated, write cover letters, file for unemployment and collect the mountains of forms you will need for your job search. Some folks I know are working to acquire new job skills while they explore some income sources to pay their monthly bills. If you’ve got a lot of financial obligations, this just isn’t the time to be “finding yourself”.
3. Save more.
Spending is largely an emotional event and unfortunately, a lot of people are unable to distinguish between their wants vs their needs. How often do you hear about people relating their personal accounts of financial hardship while admitting that they wish they could have saved more? Think about how much money you could save over time when you take one less trip to Starbucks each week: money drains can potentially add up to many hundreds of thousands of dollars over a period of time.
4. Don’t rely on unemployment benefits for too long.
Unemployment will help but it isn’t going to pay your monthly bills for too long, so don’t count on it as a financial life saver. I’ve read numerous accounts of people overestimating their unemployment benefits: they mistakenly believed that they’d get more money than they ended up eventually receiving.
5. Don’t forget to network.
Do you feel complacent about your job? Even if you’re comfortable with your current position, it’s always a great idea to network and make contacts within your industry. In the unlikely event that you lose your job, you’ll want to have a long list of people whom you can call. It’s usually the case that job prospects come from your contacts. While you have a job, try to excel at what you do: your achievements and job record will help you land recommendations and possible employment leads if the need ever arises.
6. Don’t feel sorry for yourself.
If you find yourself laid off, you may want to spend a few days evaluating your position and regrouping. But try not to overwhelm yourself with negative thoughts. Pity doesn’t pay. There are a variety of reasons why you may have lost your job that most likely, have nothing to do with your talent. So pick up, move on, and battle the depression. You need to go into overdrive to restore your lost income. Try to channel your efforts and energy towards more productive endeavors that will help you secure new employment.
I’ve become a lot more realistic now that I’ve seen talented people I know lose their jobs. I may not be able to fully control my fate when it comes to my career but I can set up some safeguards in case something does happen. Those safeguards will give me a little bit of cushion if I ever end up losing my job.
Contributing Writer: Tim Parker from Elementary Finance