Getting laid off can be a terrible experience that not only negatively impacts your finances, but also can chip away at your confidence and self-esteem.
The US unemployment rate currently stands close to 10 percent, the highest unemployment rate in decades. Millions of Americans are going through the process of losing a job and having to figure out what to do next.
For many of us, especially those of us who have spent many years training for a specific career or decades at one place of employment, our jobs are very much a part of our identities and ideas of self worth. When we lose that job or career, it’s perfectly natural and expected to experience feelings of grief, loss, helplessness and worthlessness. Financial anxieties caused by the loss of one’s livelihood can compound these feelings and actually make it harder to regain the verve and self-confidence needed to move on and find a new career or other employment.
Your job is not the totality of your existence, however, and the sooner you realize and accept this, the sooner you’ll be able to move on and find other work that you may even enjoy more than your former career. Looking back and pining over the job you lost won’t get it back, and more importantly, it won’t pay the bills, either.
When you’re laid off from a job, the first thing you need to do is take stock of your financial situation. Sit down and figure out your monthly bills and expenses. (Remember to take into account the cost of health insurance that you’ll now have to supply for yourself.) Also figure out how much, if any severance you’ll be getting, how much in savings that you have and how long your unemployment benefits will last.
Once you’ve sorted your finances, you should start weighing your options. Is it likely that your old job will hire you back? Do you want your old job back, having been laid off once already? With your current skill set, can you find a job with salary and benefits comparable to the one you lost? Is moving to a new area for a job an option? Would you like to go back to school to pursue a new career path?
A layoff can be a great opportunity to retrain for a new, better-paying career. Many states have grant programs to help workers displaced by a layoff pay for retraining. The best way to find out about these opportunities is to get in contact with the financial aid office of your local community college or four-year university.
Another option could be to start your own business. During recessions, when layoffs abound, many people take losing their job as the push they need to strike out on their own and start their own business. There’s a variety of small business loans and grants available to first time business owners from the government.
If you decide to re-enter the work force right away, use your social network to your advantage and also take the time to give your resume a facelift. A good resume is the key to finding quality employment as it is often your prospective employer’s first look at you.
A layoff can lay you flat on the canvas, but with a little grit and determination you can pull yourself up again and find new and better employment.