This blog contains some simple tips and advice from two regular guys. We're not accountants, financial advisors, or brokers, so follow, ignore, or discuss our ideas as you see fit.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

You've Been Laid Off, Now What?

Posted By Paul

It's happened to a lot of people (including me). All of a sudden you find yourself involuntarily unemployed. So what do you do? Here are some tips that I came up with after going through it myself.

1) DON'T panic. It happens to lots of people, it doesn't mean that your life or career are over.

2) DO sign up for unemployment. You pay into it when you make money, so you might as well draw it when you qualify.

3) DON'T "take a few weeks off." When I got laid off several of my coworkers did as well, and I know several that decided to take an impromptu vacation. I can see the appeal of some fun after being laid off, but it seemed like for many people the impromptu vacation turned into months of idleness.

4) DO try to keep a normal schedule and routine. It's easy during this time to get in the habit of sleeping in until noon, lounging around in your pajamas all day, and staying up late every night. I'm really glad I didn't do this since I got a few surprise interviews that were at 8AM the next day, and I was glad that I was still in a daily schedule where waking up at 6:30AM wasn't a huge adjustment.

5) DO try to have somewhere to go every day. In my case I was lucky to have a friend who owned a small retail business so I would go over there and help them out (since I was laid off during the holiday season). Not only did I get to help my friend out, but it gave me a reason to wake up, shower, shave, and get dressed each day which helped me keep my attitude positive. Even if you only go to the corner coffee shop to read the paper, try to have something that keeps you from spending the whole day in your pajamas.

6) DO make getting a job your job. Job hunting is a lot of work under the best of circumstances, so spend some of every day job hunting. With the Internet you can do an amazing amount of job hunting in a few hours. I got in the habit of looking over 6 job hunt web pages each day and applying for any jobs that looked promising. When I made it through all 6 pages I was done hunting for the day.

7) DON'T give up. Using the above system there were days (especially around Thanksgiving and Christmas) where I would go through all 6 job hunt pages and find no new jobs to apply for and be done in 30 minutes. On those days I would go over my resume or try to find some new job hunting page I had never heard of before. You never know which lead will be the one that pans out.

8) DO take a serious look at your finances. One of the best choices I made was getting a house where I can pay my mortgage while on unemployment. That made for a much more peaceful state of mind while job hunting. Still, I knew how much was in my rainy day fund and I watched it closely as the months went by.

9) DO save your pennies. You don't have to panic and shut off your heat and electricity, but it doesn't hurt to skip the meals out or hold off on buying that new TV.

10) DON'T go without health insurance. I know it's tempting to just go without medical insurance until you get a new job, but I think this is a bad idea. If you go without your dental and vision it's not the end of the world, but don't go without health insurance.

By following these rules, my 5 months where I was without a job were memorable but not traumatic. In fact, there were some good things that came out of the experience. Not only did I learn that I could get by without a job (at least temporarily), but when I make lifestyle and financial decisions I can remember back to that time in my life and imagine how this decision would impact my life if I were to lose my job again.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'd say, get a company name and be self-employed during those months off.

In other words, create work for yourself which you can then put on your resume.

At the same time, upgrade those skills so that when you actually interview for the next thing, you look more seasoned than someone who was out of work for some time.