In a world where the only constant thing is change, it’s best to be prepared for the unexpected — like losing one’s job.
However, many people may still be caught off guard when they suddenly receive that dreaded pink slip, especially if they’re still on the road to becoming financially stable.
The usual initial reaction may be shock and dismay, followed by this question: “What do I do now?” Hopefully, this article will help answer that somehow, and be a guide for the unemployed who don’t want to be financially broke.
First things first
Before anything else, here are three things you need to do if you suddenly find yourself jobless:
1. Take some time to reflect.
After being let go from your job, try to take some time to think about the possible reasons why you were laid off. Ask yourself these questions:
● Was my work performance up to par?
● Was I adding value to the company?
● Did I do something that violated company regulations?
● Did the company fall on hard times and did cutbacks really need to be made? (In this case, you need not be too hard on yourself.)
After you’ve answered these questions, it may help to come up with “solutions” that will help you at your next job.
For example, if you think it was your work performance that may have led to your losing your job, evaluate what you could have done to be a better employee and a more “valuable” part of the company. Then, apply whatever you discover when you land a new job.
On the other hand, if you lost your job because the company where you used to work had to make cutbacks, try to look for job opportunities with companies that are faring well in today’s economy. This way, you will at least have greater chances of having a stable job, and lesser chances of losing it.
2. Consider filing for unemployment.
It may be a while before you land your next job, so you may want to look into applying for unemployment. If you worked a certain number of hours and lost your job through no fault of your own, you may be eligible to file for unemployment. Check what your state requirements are. At least you won’t have to worry about being totally financially broke — unemployment benefits, though a lot less than what your previous salary was will still help you survive until you get a new job.
3. Think about your health insurance.
When you are laid off, you also lose company benefits, which usually include health insurance. Now, you may have the option of applying for health insurance under Cobra, but it is quite pricey. Try researching more affordable alternatives or find out if your spouse’s insurance plan can provide you coverage. Decide on a plan that will fit your needs and your budget.
Budget, budget, budget
Once you’ve done the first three action steps described above, you will want to take a look at your budget. If you want to know how to survive when you’re broke, or potentially on the way to becoming broke, you should know how to manage your budget.
First of all, determine your spending priorities, i.e. what budget items are totally necessary. Make a list and find out which items are “non-essentials,” and cut them out from your budget.
Next, rework your budget. Look at your savings and emergency fund money — if you have these — and try to see how long they will last you. This is one of the reasons why it’s important to create an emergency fund when you’re still employed, or have a steady, stable source of income — you never know what life may throw you way: you may lose your job; you or your family members could fall seriously ill, there may be an unexpected death in the family; your house might burn down; etc.
Before you dip into your emergency fund or savings, you will want to factor in any unemployment money that you will receive, plus other potential sources of income that you may get. Revise your budget as needed.
If possible, take a look at the budget items you deemed necessary and find out ways to further minimize your spending.
For example: Ask your telephone/Internet/cable providers if you can change your service to something less expensive. Or you may want to explore cutting off your cable service altogether. Also, if you own a car, you could see about putting storage coverage on it and use public transportation. If you are renting an apartment or house, try looking for a place with cheaper rental rates, or someone to share the rent with you, i.e. a roommate or housemate.
While fixing your budget, it may be wise to have a credit check too. This way, you can see if you have any outstanding balances that need to be paid off, and factor them into your budget. When you get your credit score, don’t forget to check if there are any discrepancies or errors in your report.
If you really think about it, there are lots of ways you can cut down on your expenses. This is a chance for you to think more creatively when it comes to your spending (and saving) habits.
Go get that job!
Now that you’ve obtained at least some peace of mind even if you’ve just become jobless, prepare yourself for the next important step: hunting for your next job. Here are some things you can do that may help you:
● Revise your resume. Include your recent work experience when you update your resume. Look through the other positions listed on it and make sure that you’ve highlighted the experience you gained and the results you achieved at each position. Make sure your resume looks professionally done, and proofread it for any typos and grammatical errors.
● Tell the world about your “need.” Although it may be embarrassing to admit that you’re currently jobless, this may actually be the opportunity you’ve been waiting for to land that job you’ve been dreaming of all this time. Be open about your situation to your friends, acquaintances and even family members. Who knows? That job opportunity may be just a social media post, email or text message away.
● Look for part-time opportunities. While you’re still searching for a stable job, take on part-time work to help you from becoming financially broke altogether. Look at your strengths, abilities and talents, and see how you can channel them into income-earning opportunities.
If you happen to lose your job, don’t panic. You can survive being jobless — you just need to know what you need to do. Hopefully, by heeding the advice given above, your stint as a jobless person will only be temporary.
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Planning and preparation are an important part of surviving unemployment. Your eventual goal will be to find a new job. Make sure you read these Tips for Skype Interviews so you have a leg up on the competition.
|Written on 9/3/2013 by Joy Mali. Joy Mali is a staff writer on The Washington Times and Examiner. Her work is also published on Lifehack, Yahoo and other mainstream sites. She likes to share interesting tips to help people manage their personal finances & credit. You can see more of Joy’s articles for Dumb Little Man on her Featured Writer Page.|
Photo Credit: James Lee