Being laid off is a fear most professionals must acknowledge, and you should know that lay-offs are usually not your fault. However, you must decide how you’ll survive and what you’ll do to further your situation. Sitting around thinking about your depression won’t fix your problems, so being laid off is a time to think pro-actively. Following are tips on how to survive being laid off.
Survive Being Laid Off: Get Your Resume Together
The first step in finding a new job is sending out your resume to prospective employers. It is better to jump on this task right away because you’re still in “working mode” and you’ll be less likely to make excuses for putting it off. Start by updating your resume with your most recent employer, which should include listing the skills and responsibilities you had there and the reason why you were laid off.
Survive Being Laid Off: Be Honest with Yourself
If you truly believe that something you did (or didn’t do) resulted in your being laid off, consider those reasons honestly. Decide how you will keep history from repeating itself and dedicate yourself to find a new job — fast. One of the pitfalls that can follow a lay-off is the tendency to remain unemployed for an extended period of time. Don’t concentrate on finding a specific type of work, just get a job so you can begin to rebuild self esteem.
Survive Being Laid Off: Get What’s Coming to You
Review all of your employment paperwork and make sure that you’ve received all of the benefits from your employer that you were entitled to. Unemployment benefits, COBRA health coverage, severance packages and any other benefits should be addressed as quickly as possible. If a dispute develops, meet with your old employer to talk about what you deserve. Make sure that you don’t let things go just because you “don’t want to deal with it.” Remember that you will have to support yourself and your family until you find another job.
Survive Being Laid Off: Cut Luxuries
Until you land another gig somewhere else, you might want to minimize extraneous expenses. For example, if you have a maid who cleans your house, you might want to cancel the service until you’re back on your feet. Cut any bills that aren’t absolutely necessary so that you don’t feel financial strain as you search for a new career. Talk with your family (spouse, children) and let them know that you plan to cut back for a while. Insist that money only be spent where necessary.
Survive Being Laid Off: Don’t Overreact
While I do advise that you cut extraneous expenses, don’t get rid of things that will help you in your job search. For example, you shouldn’t cancel your Internet service because websites like Monster and CareerBuilder are excellent sources of potential careers. You should also leave your cellular phone active both for security and for a place to receive calls about jobs. You might want to meet halfway, such as reducing your cellular phone plan or opting for dial-up Internet rather than a broadband connection.
Survive Being Laid Off: Plan Your Work Day
Just because you aren’t gainfully employed doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t maintain your old schedule. If you used to work a nine-to-five job, use those hours in your job search. Dedicate business hours to answering advertisements, submitting resumes and fielding phone calls from prospective employers. While sitting on the couch watching TV and eating comfort food might seem like a more attractive retreat, force yourself to work an entire business day.
Survive Being Laid Off: Update the Network
Often, when we fall into job security, we cut the old job search network. Now is the time to update that group of old colleagues, friends, relatives and former bosses to get the word out that you’re a free agent. The more people you discuss your situation with, the more chances you’ll have of landing a job quickly. And if you have a friend or former colleague who can give you a reference, so much the better.
Survive Being Laid Off: Size Up the Competition
And finally, there is one source of employment that you might not have considered. The ideal job would be one that is similar to the job from which you were just laid off, so start looking at your former company’s lead competitors. If they are looking for a professional in your industry, you have a leg-up over many of the other applicants. But make sure that you do this right away because industry trends can change significantly in a short period of time, so you’ll want to look when your job is still in high demand.