Chair throwing, keying someone’s car, blowing something up. If you’re laid off, these and many other emotions may run through your head in the first few days. And as satisfying as these may be, it’s always more practical to process through your feelings and get yourpriorities identified and covered. This can give you peace of mind and a place to start the journey into your next opportunity. Let’s look into some of the top things you can do to start cutting through the cloud of thoughts swirling through your head and begin taking your first steps.
Unemployment Benefits – Finances should be a hot priority. Severance pay or not, if you were separated for a qualifying reason (no misconduct, you didn’t quit, etc.) file immediately for your unemployment benefits.
Budget – Make a temporary budget based off your new income, factoring in income from any investments, rental properties, or side business in addition to your unemployment pay.
Insurance – There’s no “off-the-hook since you’re in transition” with an emergency room visit or expensive diagnosis. So I never recommend just winging it without insurance until your next job. You can try to get on your spouse’s policy, choose a policy on your own (a local broker like Dudley Carter 615-415-4328 or perusing a site like Health Insure can help you with this at no extra cost), or if you’re not married, check healthcare.gov for many options (with the government paying part of your monthly premium in most cases based on your estimated income for the next 12 months). Another option is companies like Cowan Benefits that you can find through the COBRA coverage from your current employer. They can help you find a similar plan usually at a lower cost.
Mental Health – Right out of the gate, you probably feel shocked, unappreciated, angry, etc. It’s a good idea to talk to someone besides your spouse, partner, or best friend about these emotions and work through them in order to “get the chip off your shoulder.” Ask for time with your pastor or a Stephen Minister (Google “Stephen Ministers” + your city to find churches who can get you in touch with one.), and feel free to meet as regularly as you need. Further, you can Google for job search support groups in your area.
Physical Health – Staying fit is not only good for your body but your mind, mood, and attitude as well. Take this opportunity to start exercising regularly (even if it’s just walking for 30 minutes daily). And keep up the good work if you already have a fitness routine.
Career Coach – Establish a relationship with a Career Coach at your local Department of Labor or a recommended life coach. This person can give you valuable advice on your Action Plan, Résumé’, and current insight into all things job search as you begin to have questions.
Elevator Speech – Very soon at a party, family function, mixer, etc., you’ll have to answer the question, “What do you do?” Craft this 30 second schpiel that will cover your background, key things at which you’re successful, and a few top job titles to represent what you’re seeking and help people begin to keep you in mind as they hear of job openings.
Also, check out these 2 helpful videos:
3 Important Things to do to Get Your Unemployment Benefits Started After a Layoff
Job Loss & Staying Obamacare Compliant
Looking for a new job? Want to get what you want fast? Check out my book, Here Today, Hired Tomorrow, and subscribe to my blog (kurtkirton.com) for free advice on your job search.
Have you ever lost a job? Perhaps you were downsized when your employer reorganized or was sold. Maybe you were fired.
My first lay-off involved a factory job. We showed up for our regular work shift and were given pink slips and directions to the nearest unemployment office. Years later I was downsized from a white collar job when corporate priorities changed. I’ve also left jobs amid strong hints that I’d be fired if I didn’t leave. I didn’t like those jobs and knew within months that I’d made a mistake letting myself get hired.
Even so, losing a job is absolutely devastating. It damages our sense of self-worth because we invest so much of ourselves in our jobs, even the bad ones. Inevitably we wonder what we did “wrong”. But it’s important to recover quickly and move on. After some trial and error, I hit on this sure-fire method to do that.
Step One – Buy a BIG bottle of champagne. Throw a champagne party to you salute yourself as a great person. It’s not your personal fault that the company had financial problems causing them to downsize. You’re not responsible for the screwed up life of a bad boss who took out her/his emotional problems on you (and your co-workers).
Step Two – Recognize the skills and experience you developed with your former employer. Every job I lost taught me at least one skill that helped me get the next job. So you’re in a better position in this job search than you were in the last one because you have new skills to sell!
Step Three – Acknowledge that sometimes losing a job is the best outcome. It forces us to move forward in our lives. If a job is truly awful, losing it can literally be a life saver. After one particularly rotten job ended, my mental and physical health improved so dramatically that I never again made the mistake of hanging on for the sake of a paycheck.
So if you’ve just lost a job or are still grieving the past loss of a job, reevaluate your situation. Buy that champagne, and salute yourself. Then start searching for the next job which may just be a lot better than that bum steer you lost.
Being laid off is one of the most challenging things that can happen in life. It may make you feel disposable, shafted, slighted, angry, and depressed. After my fifth layoff I remember the stages for me were shock, questioning, anger, and finally acceptance. Before you begin to look for your next position, if there’s any hint of negativity, resentment, anger, etc. about your situation, you’ll want to “get the chip off your shoulder.”
For most, employers/interviewers may pick up on the fact that you are negative, bitter, or holding a grudge against your former employer. Don’t come across like a wounded animal. HR professionals and hiring managers will most likely sense this. Don’t succumb to the thought that unemployment is going to be forever or that you’re blacklisted by all companies in your industry.
I think the weight of what we bear as a result of a layoff is too much of a burden for a friend to hear over and over. It’s also embarrassing–even to talk with your closest friends–about how you feel. You need to be honest about your feelings in order to work through them and come out the other side stronger and ready to pound the pavement. I recommend talking to a psychiatrist, your pastor, or a Stephen Minister (an unbiased confidential lay person who’s trained to listen and provide care and support at no cost to those in crisis or difficult life situations.)
Google “Stephen Ministers” + your city to find churches that can get you in touch with one. It was such a support and encouragement to have Wynn, my Stephen Minister, to listen and give advice. He was actually a supervisor at his job and had great perspective. Don’t be ashamed to seek out support or apprehensive to talk to someone new (Stephen Minister or other) about your feelings and situation. Having a shoulder to lean on and someone to listen will help you get back on your feet faster than going it alone.
If you know someone who has recently lost their job, please share this blog with them.