I Lost My Job, Now What?

cpShort of losing a loved one either through divorce or death, losing your job is one of the most stressful life changing  events you will experience.  It is stressful both emotionally and physically.   It can be a huge knock to your self esteem.  You may feel like a failure.  In some cases, you may have family members who blame you for the job loss.  You may even feel that you want to just give up due to the heavy financial responsibilities you have looming.  Don’t!  Don’t give up!!

When a job loss occurs you can do one of two things.  You can turn inward, cry “woo is me” feel sorry for yourself, sit at home and collect the unemployment check.   If you do that, what will you do when  the unemployment check stops?  It is almost like going through a second job loss.

The second, and recommended option for  you  is to stand up, brush yourself off and look forward not backward.  There is light at the end of the tunnel and it is not a train.  Yes, losing your job is terrible, but it is also a time to take a step back and re-evaluate your goals.   It is a time to ask yourself some questions such as:

  • Did I really like what I was doing at that job?  Maybe now is a good time to change careers.
  • What else can I do that will bring in enough money to pay for the living expenses of my family? You can get a part time job in the evenings that will keep some money flow coming in, UPS, Fed Ex pay pretty well for loading trucks in the evening.  Even delivering pizza could bring in $750 to $1000 extra a month on top of unemployment.  Use your imagination, think out of the box.

Focus on the fact that you are not unemployed, but that you have a new job…your full time job is to find a job,  this not the time to think “oh, I will be getting an unemployment check for the next several weeks so I can just kick back and relax.”  This is no time to relax, your bills are not taking a break, they will keep coming each and every month.   You need to do whatever it takes to insure you keep up with your responsibilities.  Sadly, unemployment checks lull many people into a false sense of security, it is designed to be a temporary hand up not a replacement for your job.

So what do you do?  First and foremost you need to inventory your financial situation.    If you don’t have a budget, now is the time to work a budget.   You are in crisis mode so make sure the four walls get paid first, housing, utilities, food, transportation.  Sadly, during the time of a job loss is the time you may realize you have been living beyond your means.    You may have to make some tough decisions to cut back on expenses, such as selling a car maybe two to get into a much cheaper car, even one that is only $2000 to  $5000 instead of making a $400 or $500 car payment each month.  A cheaper car will also reduce your insurance payments as well.

Credit cards need to be paid but during times of financial crisis they don’t take precedence over utilities, rent/mortgage or food.   Please don’t mis-interrupt what I am saying, I am not saying don’t pay your credit cards.  I am saying they may not get paid for a few months while you manage your money to keep your household going until you get new employment.

Get your resume’ up-to-date, there are wonderful resources online that can help you get your resume’ in an updated format.   I would recommend customizing your resume’ for each job you are interviewing for, that way you can highlight key areas for that specific job to make them stand out more.   The key is to make your resume’ stand out above  everyone else.

Practice interviewing, go to job interviews regardless of your experience or desire for that position just to get the practice of interviewing.    An important part of the interview is first impression, right from the first handshake, make if firm, don’t give a weak, limp wrist handshake.  Show by your handshake you are confident not defeated. Look the interviewer straight in the eye and smile.

Each evening sit down and write our your schedule for the next day.  Where are you going to look for a job, which sites online will you investigate.  Contact your friends and other coworkers.  Network with as many people as possible.

Each weekday morning  be up by 6:00am, take a shower and dress for success.  Whether you have a job interview or not, you need to keep in the habit of getting up and getting ready just as if you had a paying job, this will keep you motivated and fresh for interviews.    Remember, even though you are not bringing in a paycheck you do have a full time job….your job is to get a job.

You may have to get a evening part time job to bring in a little bit of money while you are looking for a full time job during the day.  Yes, you will be more tired being unemployed than if you were employed full time working 8 hours a day.   The job of looking for a job is always much harder than having a job.

You were dealt a major blow to the ego when you were laid off from your job, the choice is yours on whether you will take this blow as a negative or turn it into a positive.    Yes, times may be tough in your area and there may be “no jobs” but what does “no jobs” really mean?  No jobs at the salary you were used to getting?  Maybe.  But there are always jobs to be hired for, even if it is day labor, working at a fast food restaurant or UPS.  The key is get some form of employment to keep money coming in and meet your major financial responsibilities.    Believe me, in my financial coaching I have heard every excuse in the book of why someone is unable to find work, but the key word here is “excuses.”  If you want to work, you will find work, who knows, you may just find out that you can make money off the hobby of yours.  That’s right, try selling your stuff or talents and become your own boss.

When one door closes another always opens, but you will not know what is on the other side if you don’t get up and walk through it.