Surviving job loss is something you can do, no matter how bad things seem when faced with unemployment. Even though your first instinct may be to panic, it's important to try to pull yourself together quickly so that you can take proactive steps to get back on the right track as quickly as possible.
Tackle Your Finances
One of the first things anyone experiencing job loss needs to do is to take control of his or her finances.
- Live Within Your Means: Cut down your budget as much as possible. Focus on paying for food, shelter and utilities first. Reduce discretionary spending including eating out, entertainment, and the kid's extracurricular activities. Find low cost entertainment options for your family, such as going to the library or a local park.
- Apply for Unemployment: Visit your local unemployment office to find out if you qualify for aid. Unemployment compensation is typically available to most people who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own. Unemployment compensation can help you to keep your family in your home, healthy and fed during your period of job loss.
- Seek Out Job Loss Resources: For help beyond what is available via unemployment compensation, visit local churches, food pantries, and local social service agencies to inquire about assistance programs you may qualify to receive. For those in desperate need, these services can often provide food, help with utility bills and even furniture and clothing. In some cases, free or low cost job training may even be available through such programs.
- Use Credit Wisely: Those who lose a job may resort to using credit to help keep them afloat. Be careful doing so as this can lead to debt problems that can add to your stress. Instead of getting deeper into debt, contact your creditors to ask about reduced payment plans.
Be sure to stick within your budget and continuously focus on staying out of debt. You may need to spend a bit of money to get into a job, though. For example, paying a fee to have a professional review and update your resume may be a wise investment.
A period of job loss may be a good time for some individuals to go back to school. Completing additional education can help you to qualify for different jobs. Going back to school if you have not been there in a long time may seem intimidating, but improving your skills can help you to qualify for better employment.
- Check local community colleges for low cost programs available that can help you to advance your education. Those who may not be computer savvy may wish to take a few courses to help them improve these skills.
- Job training programs may be available through your county. These programs can prepare you for a completely new career you may be interested in.
- Get a higher degree. Those with a college education may wish to get their graduate degree or advance their education into another field.
Going back to school part time may be an option for some. Scholarships, grants and county funding may be able to help you afford these opportunities. Speak with an admissions representative or financial aid officer at the schools that interest you to find out what kind of educational support you are eligible to receive.
Surviving Job Loss by Looking for Employment
Surviving job loss involves taking steps to get back to work. Individuals who are coping with job loss can benefit from investing time in a daily job search. Contacting local employment offices is also important. Most importantly, individuals should use both online and offline means to locate their next job.
- Be open to taking on different jobs. The more flexible you can be in the types of employment you are willing to do, the more likely you are to find a job that is right for you.
- Update your resume. Post it to online job websites and submit it to employers likely to hire people with the types of skills that you have.
- Know what you bring to the table. When you talk to potential employers, show them you are an asset. For those who are older, your experience and knowledge are good assets. For those who are new to the workforce, your energy and upbeat attitude can help you to secure a job.
Invest time in yourself every day in finding a new job. Network with those you know both personally and professionals. Connecting to people online who work in your industry can also help you to secure long-term employment.
Focus on the Future
Jon Gordon, author of international bestseller The Energy Bus: 10 Rules to Fuel Your Life, Work, and Team with Positive Energy and several other books, told a member of LoveToKnow's editorial team that he urges people who have experience job loss to start the coping process by forgiving their boss and former company. He stated, "You can't create your future if you are focusing on the past. Next, create a positive vision for the future. Use this time to ask: What do I want now? What can I learn from this experience? How can I grow? What actions do I need to take? Do not focus on the past and instead invest energy in creating your future."