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What To Do When You Lose Your Job

8 MIN READ

The world today may seem like it’s falling apart all around us. For some, that could truly be the case. Nothing seems to be comfortable, and every day can be different from the last. Luckily, there is always light at the end of the tunnel if you look hard enough.

If you are one of the 40 million Americans who have lost your job and were laid off in the past couple months since the outbreak started, or if you are just someone who is looking for a new job after normalcy has returned, this guide should help you get on your feet and get your life back on track. Losing your job is never fun, and being unemployed means a job search.

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What to Do When You Lose Your Job

You may be wondering what exactly you can do to get back on your feet. The first thing you should do is not let your emotions sit inside you. If you truly loved that job, don’t try to quell any emotions with your loved ones. We aren’t therapists, but we know it’s important to make sure you aren’t holding anything in!

Quickly after that, though, it’s time to rebound. Job loss is always difficult. There are many things that could help you between jobs though. Unemployment benefits, severance pay, unemployment insurance, and more can help you cope with the stressful loss of a job. You’ll go through stages of grief, denial, self esteem problems, and more after being laid off. 

It’s important to stay positive and find yourself a fallback plan when companies are laying off employees so diligently nowadays. After being fired, setbacks will happen on the road from being depressed, and the loss of income will be difficult. Go to a support group, try to get another job interview and prepare for job interview questions, and most of all, remember you have to keep moving forward.

1. Get Organized

Everything that you used to know is going to be changing. Gather your bills and see what your expenses are each month. That will give you a base guideline on what you need to make with your next job to just make the line. You should look to be making more money than just the line. Financially, it’s the safer place to be.

You might spend a few months before getting a new position, so it’s also important to understand how much money you have stocked away. This will be your lifeline for the time you are out of a job, especially if you cannot lean on someone else for support.

After losing a job, being out of work forces innovation, too. Bounce back with a new method for organizing your bills. Don’t let job loss devastation affect you to the point that you don’t try to make your life better!

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2. Reassess Your Budget

Once you start receiving unemployment checks, which we will get to next, you will realize that you will most likely be making less cash than you were when you held work. You’ll need to reassess your budget to live under your new cashflow. 

Right now, during the pandemic, it will be harder to get financial aid than during times of nationwide calmness. After you get organized and understand what you need to keep living, you’ll have to move categories and money around to make your lifestyle work as much as you can without putting yourself in dire straits. 

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3. Apply for Unemployment

No ifs, ands, or buts: you need to file for unemployment if the loss of your job will lead to tough financial times. Usually, if you were not the reason for termination, you should be eligible for compensation through the government. There are certain conditions which could grant you unemployment even if you were fired, too. 

Nowadays, the pandemic means that there are expanded eligibility requirements and extra funding for unemployment. Some states are providing $600 more per week for up to four months. Family caregivers, nannies and childcare workers are also available specifically for expanded benefits. July 31st is the program deadline for many new financial disbursements, so don’t delay when it comes to applying for unemployment.

If you had a severance agreement with your former employer, that will help too. Basically any unemployment benefits that you can find will be useful.

4. Check Health Insurance Options

Health insurance is one of the biggest things that people need to think of once they are ousted from a job. While you may feel like there could be little need for healthcare in the few months that you could be out of a job, it is illegal to not have any sort of insurance. You have to find options.

There are affordable public options if you need cheaper programs via the Affordable Care Act, but if you would like better options to fit your needs more, you can get private healthcare individually. It will obviously cost more, but you’ll have more flexibility. It’s not a bad idea to talk to your human resources department, either, to ask questions about continuing your coverage without the company’s sponsorship.

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5. Next Steps with Your Retirement Plan

Many employees will include benefits to help employees with retirement savings. For example, your employer might tell you that they will match dollar for dollar every penny of your paycheck that you put into a 401(k). 

You need to figure out how termination from your job affects your retirement funds, and if you seriously need money and have nowhere else to go, what fees and/or penalties there would be for taking out money early.

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6. Research the CARES Act

When the pandemic began its tour of the United States, the amount of businesses and individuals losing money from the country’s shutdown skyrocketed into incredible numbers. In response, the government agreed to the CARES Act. The act, which is a two trillion dollar stimulus package, aims to help individuals with the highest amount of financial need and businesses that are losing money and customers.

If you make under $100,000, you are in luck, as the CARES Act meant that the U.S. government would be sending you checks for perhaps $1,200, give or take. While that is obviously not near enough, research what financial help you can get based on any qualifications that you have.

7. Prioritize Your Debt Payments

When you are struggling to make money, you will also struggle to pay back debts you have incurred over the years. Think about it: your mortgages, credit cards, car loans, student loans or anything else that you have spent money on over the years and need to pay back. Those are the things you will have problems with in regards to paying back.

You’ll unfortunately have to prioritize what payments you can and cannot afford to miss. For example, will paying minimum on a credit card be a smaller hit than minimum on a mortgage? This is information you need to look into, and anything less is doing a disservice to yourself.

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8. Adapt and Pivot

When you no longer have a job in the industry you may have known for so long, it’s time to do a bit of soul-searching. Is this the career you really want to stay in? Maybe you would like to do something a little bit different. If so, what? 

Try to look at this part of your life as a new opportunity to start something instead of trying to get back something you’ve lost. Now, if the industry you were in is still your home, then by all means, stay there. There’s just something fresh in your mindset that losing a job gives you. Your life is a canvas, and you can paint it however you would like. 

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9. Prepare to Look for New Work and Start Applying

After preparation comes action. It’s time to look for new jobs and revamp your resume. Take a look at your resume and rewrite it for the industry you intend to work in, if you are changing industries. What have you done that isn’t reflected in your resume?

Once you finish looking over your CV, start looking at job sites like Indeed or Glassdoor. Apply to jobs in your industry and include cover letters. A cover letter will be attractive to employers for a new job during a job search. Do as many applications as you can, because the more you do, the more of a chance you’ll be hired soon. Prepare for interview questions, write your former employer information, comb through your social media profiles, update your linkedin profile, and make sure you get all the career advice you need right away. 

10. Tap Into Your Emergency Fund (Last Resort)

If life continually hits you down, you may need to dip into your emergency fund. Your rainy day fund is for that exactly; when you have nowhere else to turn, this money is there for you. It can be an extremely slippery slope when you start borrowing from this fund, and it’s highly suggested to take as little as possible.

Sometimes, though. It’s all you have left.

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Ask For Help and Don’t Be Discouraged!

Never think that people are going to judge you for financial situations. Your circle of people are always there for you, if they are the right kind of people to be with. They will be there emotionally for you, and maybe even financially. Don’t take them for granted, though!

Layoffs are everywhere. A company in the job market might be struggling to layoff people because they ultimately are losing money, too. Instead of being upset that “I lost my job,” try to find a new job! If you lose money from the endeavour, what matters is your happiness and financial situation. Move on from your old work life and let go of past hopes, because there’s a new working world waiting for you.

Recruiters look for people that want to bound back. When looking for a job, it would be a pity to spend time not learning new skills. If you lost your job, you wouldn’t want to feel displaced from passions. Find something you love to do! Getting laid off is a difficult process, so while job hunting, don’t self pity. Do what you love and work your mental and physical body! Go to the gym, read books. Loss of employment sucks, but it’s not something to feel shame over, especially during this time.

For normalcy in a time without the pandemic, some companies just need to downsize. Getting fired isn’t a mark on your skills. Being terminated means a new start. While coping after job loss can feel like you are just surviving, so many people lose their job. He lost his job, she lost her job. This is the unfairness of life, and a hiring manager wants to find people who strive to get better and don’t have the fear of losing their job. Displaced workers, laid off workers, and job seekers need to remember to bounce back is to cope correctly.

The world is bad right now, but there are ways to make it better. Things will get better, and the light is there. Just try to chase it.

MYRA provides personal finances for international and multicultural families in the United States. Our services include financial planning, investment management, and tax preparation. 

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