What to Do When You’ve Lost Your Job

What to do when you've lost your job.

What to do when you’ve lost your job. That is the sentence I googled when I got laid off. It sucked. It didn’t feel good for me or even for my supervisor that had to tell me. They told me that they didn’t agree with the decision, I was a great employee, and it was only because of the cost of my salary that I was being let go. They were right. I was a good employee. I worked very hard for the company for 5 years and it felt like a rejection or discreditation of the care and work I’d done over the years.

I’ve also had family members that have lost their jobs. It can cause immeasurable and unique anxiety, uncertainty, and a variety of other feelings. This is especially true if you have been living paycheck to paycheck and don’t have an emergency fund, money cushion, other methods of income or support system to rely on.

What to Do When You’ve Lost Your Job Tip #1

Breathe. Take a day or two if you can and decompress. Let yourself feel whatever your emotions are about it. It’s important that you take good care of yourself in whatever ways you can, whether they are big or small. That could mean doing an at-home spa day with all of your leftover, sample, or gifting bath products that you hardly use. This could also be taking a day trip to a place you’ve always wanted to go, even if only to take some pictures and take a walk around. It could also mean just vegging out on the couch for a day watching crappy TV and eating frozen pizza and ice cream.

What to Do When You’ve Lost Your Job Tip #2

File for unemployment. If you’re not sure if you’re eligible, most unemployment offices have a questionnaire or will tell you during the application process. Many offices are overloaded so if you don’t get through, try try try again until you do. Triple check all the paperwork to make sure it was filed and done correctly by you and also the workers at the office. Again, they’re overloaded and mistakes are possible. Keep copies or screenshots of everything you send in to the office or communication you get from the office. Paperwork can and sometimes does go missing. If you have that paperwork quickly available, you can get mistakes or kinks worked out much more quickly.

What to Do When You’ve Lost Your Job Tip #3

Check to see if you qualify for other government programs. Depending on the local eligibility requirements and your situation, you may also be able to apply for your local food or children support programs in your area or state. Every little bit counts, especially when you’re not sure how long you will be out of work.

What to Do When You’ve Lost Your Job Tip #4

If you have student loans, if you can still make your payments on employment, do. If you can’t, switch to an income-driven repayment plan or delay (forbear) your payments until you’re working again. Income-driven plans and forbearance will likely cost your more interest in the loan run but will keep you from going into default or delinquency while you’re unemployed. Call or email your servicer right away to discuss what options are available. You may be surprised at how willing they are to help.

What to Do When You’ve Lost Your Job Tip #5

Assess your living situation. Do you need to move in with family or friends? Can you rent out a spare bedroom in your house or get a roommate in your apartment? You may have other friends or family that are needing to downsize or find other housing right now. You may be able to help each other out by consolidating your households.

Even if you don’t think you’ll need to make changes like that immediately, spend some time looking at your living situation and answering those questions of what you can and are willing to change. Make that contingency plan so that if you do need to make a change in the future, you know exactly how, when, where, and what you will be shifting to make that happen quickly.

What to Do When You’ve Lost Your Job Tip #6

Take an inventory of your finances and figure out what you can reduce. Unemployment is often less than what you made when you were working, so you’ll need to do some reducing and cutting down. Check our guide for doing that here.

What to Do When You’ve Lost Your Job Tip #7

Think about switching jobs or fields. Grocery stores, warehouses, and the veterinary and medical fields are all always hiring. Maybe think about if you should go back to school or certification program for any of those.

What skills do you have? Do those translate to something you can sell online? Many of my friends started doing online personal training and fitness classes online, leaned into their creative energies and Etsy shops for extra money, or turned another skill into something that they can sell. The great part about this is that you are now running your own business, Your schedule, ideas, passions, and wants are all yours to implement and grow while being able to pay your bills.

What to Do When You’ve Lost Your Job Tip #8

Take time to explore and nourish your hobbies. They don’t have to be a side hustle necessarily. You need to decompress. This is highly stressful. But if you do end up making some money, great.

What to Do When You’ve Lost Your Job Tip #9

Start reaching out to your network. Don’t feel weird or ashamed if you haven’t spoken to that person in years. Reach out and ask if they would like to get coffee. Even if they don’t know of any job prospects, it can be surprisingly helpful to connect with old friends and catch up when you’re going through a difficult time.

What to Do When You’ve Lost Your Job Tip #10

Cook at home. I know. This one can be annoying to hear and we discussed it a bit in our article for getting healthy and saving money here, but it’s worth saying again. It can be one of the biggest money savers in your budget.

Make big meals and freeze the leftovers for when you don’t feel like cooking. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to “meal prep” and spend a whole day cooking. I personally do not enjoy or subscribe to meal prepping. It does mean that when you are cooking, instead of making enough for 1 or 2 people, make twice what you normally would. Use storage containers and Tupperware to portion out individual meals to freeze or to eat for the next few dinners. You can cook 1-3 times a week and still stick to your goal of eating at home more and saving money by eating out less.

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