Your Complete Guide to Dealing with a Job Loss

Losing a job due to layoffs can be a difficult experience, both emotionally and financially. However, there are steps that can be taken to help cope with the situation and potentially turn it into a positive career opportunity. Expert advice can be invaluable in navigating the aftermath of a layoff and minimizing the negative impact it can have.

Here’s a guide on how to deal with the emotional impacts of a layoff, as well as tips for fast-tracking a career transition and minimizing financial damage. By following these steps, those impacted by layoffs can move forward with confidence and resilience.

Post-Layoff Career Tips

Losing a job can be a traumatic event that can leave a person feeling lost and unsure of what to do next. However, there are steps that recently laid-off employees can take to get back on track with their career. In this section, we will explore some post-layoff career tips that can help job seekers get back on their feet.

Take a breather first

Before diving headfirst into the job search, it’s important to take some time to process what just happened. Taking a week or two to prioritize mental and emotional well-being can lead to a faster and more effective job search. This time can be used to work through emotions, recover from the trauma of being laid off, and come up with a plan of action.

List out your accomplishments

Making a list of accomplishments can be a helpful way to remind oneself of their natural strengths, abilities, and resilience to weather any setback. This list can include both career-related and non-career-related wins. Not only can this list be used as talking points during networking conversations and cover letters, but it can also give a big confidence boost during a time of uncertainty.

Reach out to your colleagues, friends, and family

Networking is one of the best ways to find a new career opportunity. This can be done by making a big social media announcement to the entire friends-and-family network or by targeted, individualized messages to past colleagues and mentors. Individual outreach has seen the most success, whether it is a casual, informational interview-style conversation to build relationships, an opportunity to practice one’s story, and the chance to learn about unlisted jobs.

Stay positive and dream big

A layoff can be an opportunity to re-evaluate one’s career and pivot towards a direction more suited to one’s needs and desires. Rather than immediately looking for a similar opportunity, job seekers can position themselves accordingly and begin networking, researching, and applying to jobs that are more likely to be fulfilling in the long run.

Don’t rely on cold applications

Relying solely or mostly on job boards and online applications can be a big mistake. Many jobs are never listed, and the odds that an application will make it through to a human are less than 25 percent. That’s why it’s crucial to also network, learn about jobs that are never posted, and have a friend on the inside who can make sure one’s resume makes it to the top of the pile.

Be open to a rebound job

If finances can’t handle a long layoff, it may be time to look for a “good enough” gig. Taking a part-time job or gig work is a better idea than trying to focus only on the long-term goal of replacing a lost job. Gig work can offer immediate pay and more flexible working hours, allowing job seekers to look for more permanent work while still having a source of income on the side.

Being laid off can be a difficult and uncertain time in a person’s career. However, taking some time to prioritize mental and emotional well-being, listing out accomplishments, networking, dreaming big about the future, not relying solely on cold applications, and being open to a rebound job can all help job seekers get back on track with their career.

Navigating Your Finances After a Layoff

Losing a job can be a challenging experience, especially when it comes to managing your finances. However, taking stock of your financial situation and taking action can help minimize the impact of a layoff on your financial goals. Here are some steps you can take to navigate your finances after a layoff.

Take some timet to look at your financial situation

The first step in managing your finances after a layoff is to get a clear picture of your financial situation. This includes looking at all your bills, such as credit card bills, rent or mortgage payments, car payments, daycare fees, utility bills, and more. It’s also important to consider any income you will have coming in, such as unemployment coverage, a spouse’s paycheck, or a severance package.

Experts recommend having at least three to six months of expenses saved up in an emergency fund. However, if you don’t have emergency funds, finding a new income stream as soon as possible is the best option. Working in a temporary or part-time job in any field while looking for work in your field can help you stay afloat.

Check your health care options

If you lost your job, you may also lose your health care benefits. However, your former employer may extend your benefits via COBRA, though in most cases, you would be paying the full cost of the coverage. If that’s not an option, your job loss would likely make you eligible for an insurance policy through the Affordable Care Act coverage. It’s important to price out both options and compare what they cover vs. your typical healthcare needs, along with overall pricing.

Cut back on things you don’t need

When you lose your job, it’s important to prioritize your spending and cut back on things you don’t need. While food, shelter, and health are non-negotiable, you probably spend a fair amount of your income on things that may not be as essential. Look through your credit and debit card statements for things you can shave out of your budget, at least for the time being. You can also gamify it by looking for creative solutions, such as borrowing movies and books from the library instead of subscribing to streaming services.

Be open and honest with your loan servicers and credit card companies

If you think you may have trouble paying your mortgage, auto loan, or other debts, contact the companies as soon as possible to see what can be done. In some instances, they may be able to lower your credit card interest rate, or reduce the amount of your payments until you get back on your feet.

Only use a withdrawal from your retirement accounts as a last resort

If you’re in a break-glass-for-emergency situation financially, you may be able to withdraw some retirement savings to help you cover your expenses. However, this is not recommended as taking money out of your 401(k) or other retirement accounts early will mean that you lose out on future growth, along with having that money available for your retirement. You will also have to pay taxes on a hardship withdrawal. Only consider this option as a last resort after you have exhausted all other possibilities.

What could help you with your next career move

If you live somewhere where job opportunities are scarce, or are in a field with limited career options, you might want to look into options that may make you more marketable, such as relocating or getting additional training. It’s important to be realistic about what you will need to make a career change and how you will pay for it.

Don’t forget that this is all temporary

It’s important to remember that job loss is temporary and that you are likely to have a new job within a few months. Don’t let the layoff define you or derail your financial goals. Remember that our economy will recover, and jobs will become available again. Stay positive and take action to improve your financial situation.