How to Cope with Your Layoff
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Unfortunately, when a business or company goes downhill, the best way to handle the situation is by laying-off employees. Often times, they do what they can by cutting other costly measures before laying off; however, if you are the one getting laid off, you don’t care about what just happened to the company. You lost your job.
It is very shocking and unexpected to be laid off and is equivalent to having the wind knocked right out of you. Although it’s not about any one single employee, it oftentimes feels very personal. It is out of your control, but the way you react to it shouldn’t be.
1. Keep Your Emotions Together
Give yourself some time to deal with the emotions of getting laid off. You will most likely feel shocked, disappointed, and upset. Oftentimes, you don’t realize that you would be on the chopping block, which could make it even more emotional.
Do not express your disappointment at the workplace, because you don’t want to burn your bridges, regardless of how upset or bitter you may feel. Someday, you may need your supervisor or manager for a reference, or want to stay in touch with close co-workers. Act calmly and ask for personal phone numbers and email addresses.
If you feel the need to vent, do so to family or close friends, or even a therapist outside of work. Do not feel bad for being confused about your future. Take time to deal with your emotions and don’t rush into feeling “fine” with the layoff.
2. Get All Necessary Information
Don’t forget to ask about important information. Find out if there is a benefit or severance package? Will your family still have health insurance? Is there any assistance from your company to help you find a new job? Will you be able to use them for a job reference?
You will feel overwhelmed, but know that most HR departments will provide all necessary information to you within letter form, and they will be available by phone or email for any follow up questions.
If your employer doesn’t offer anything, you should look into unemployment benefits. It often isn’t very much and is a lot less than your employment income was, but it is something at least! It can help you get by until you find another source of income.
3. Regroup, Reframe
Don’t let your emotions turn to depression or give you a pessimistic outlook on your career or life.
Therapists use a technique called “reframing.” Basically, you take the negative feelings, thoughts, or situation and look at it in a positive aspect. You need to regroup in your career and in your life. Reassess your path for your career and be certain that you are still interested in doing what you have been doing. Consider your long-term happiness, even when the economy is bad.
4. Take Note of Your Budget and Finances
Take a look at your finances and budget. How long will the severance package or unemployment last you? Although it is not enjoyable dealing with finances, especially while laid off, it is really important to do it within the first week.
If your budget requires you make limitations, consider things like unlimited mobile plans or digital television. Is it necessary to go out to eat twice each week? That new flat screen TV can wait! Consider your wants versus your needs.
Also, keep in mind your 401(k), which you can borrow for some temporary relief and is often less expensive than adding credit card debt. Credit cards should be used as a last resort.
5. Don’t Forget About Insurance
Often times, you don’t realize how expensive insurance is until you are laid off. Most people are offered COBRA, which will let you continue with the same insurance; however, there is a catch. You have to pay for the insurance now. COBRA might not be a good option for you and could exceed your unemployment benefits.
Shop around for the best health insurance that is within your budget. You might end up paying a higher deductible in order to have a lower monthly premium, but there are many plans available at varying costs.
6. Look at Classifieds
Search through the online classifieds to see who is hiring. Search for jobs outside your profession to see what else is available.
Some people take time during layoffs to learn a new job by going back to school. Subsidized loans and government grants are available to help pay tuition. If you are the primary source of income for your family, this might not be an option for you but should be a thought during a layoff.
7. Never Give Up Hope
Remain optimistic through your unemployment. Being pessimistic can cause depression, especially while job hunting. It can be a tough market looking for a job, but you must stand out and never give up!
If you are feeling down and unlucky, there are many support groups around and you can learn from others who are going through similar situations. Stay positive, no matter how difficult it may seem at times.
Overall, believe in yourself. If you don’t believe in yourself, others will find it difficult to believe in you. Stay positive and optimistic. Explore all career options, even if it is nothing like the job you just lost. Do not be pessimistic because it could lead to depression. Don’t burn bridges and deal with your finances and budget right away. Remember, layoffs ARE NOT personal. Unemployment is difficult, but you can get through it with your life still intact!