In early 2009, the Bureau of Labor Statistics noted that over 40 states recorded an increase over last year in the number of layoffs. In February alone over 600,000 workers were caught up in layoffs. If you and your family have found yourself in this position, here are some steps to help you cope with this painful change.
1. Don’t panic — assess where you stand When you lose your job, you should try to remain as calm as you can and see exactly what the situation is. Ask yourself:
How much money do we have in the bank? How much are our monthly bills? How much am I receiving for severance? What do we need to modify in the budget?
2. Update your friends and family about the situation You may feel embarrassed or ashamed by what happened. Do not let that negative thinking stop you from getting emotional support. Ask your network to please keep their eyes and ears open for any employment opportunities that they might hear about.
You should also ask your family to help you come up with ideas to earn extra money and/or decrease your expenses. Having everyone on the same page will allow you to work through this challenge together as a family.
3. Open your mind to different jobs You need to cast a wide net, so don’t just look for jobs exactly like your last one. Being too focused on one particular job may decrease your chances of finding work. You might also consider taking on part-time work to keep you from hemorrhaging financially. Until you find a suitable job, working part time can generate income and provide you with a schedule that allows you to go on job interviews.
4. Update your budget At this point you should try to focus on cutting any nonessential expense from your budget. Living within your means is going to be tougher as you make this transition. Update your budget with the new income amount and see where you can adjust accordingly.
If you can’t pay all your bills, then prioritize where your money goes. First and foremost, your money should go to housing and food. Utilities such as electricity are also important so focus on those next. You should also give priority to medical bills and expenses when updating your budget.
5. Stay away from credit cards You might be tempted to put your expenses on a credit card until you can find a job. Don’t do it. Credit cards should be a last resort. Instead, see if you qualify for any sort of government assistance to help make ends meet.
This could mean filing for unemployment or applying for state insurance. Remember, this is only temporary — you’ll eventually get out of this predicament. Relying on credit cards can put you in an even deeper hold given the high interest rates and fees associated with them.
Now it’s your turn… Losing a job can be a very painful experience, especially if you have a family. Remember, you can’t do this alone. Rather, you should seek the help of others when getting back on your feet.
Do you have any tips for dealing with job loss? What’s the most important step?