What to Do When You’ve Been Laid Off
Many people continue to struggle under the current economic conditions with high inflation and increased cost of living. Unfortunately, there is also less job security with large companies announcing layoffs. If you find yourself facing an uncertain future, there are a few things you can do to protect yourself. For those who have been recently laid off, here are the next steps you need to take to secure your finances.
What Should You Do When You've Been Laid Off?
When you have been laid off, it's normal to feel angry, worried, and scared. However, dwelling in your emotions won't change your circumstances. Here are a few tips to help you take action and stay afloat when you fall into hard times.
1. Apply for unemployment benefits.
When you lose your job, the first thing you need to do is secure a source of income until you can find another one. Applying for unemployment will help you get through. Benefits vary between states and the amount you get depends on how much you earned in your previous position.
You can get more information online about unemployment benefits in your state. You will find details on filing schedules, peak service hours, and access to apps to process your claim faster. While some find it difficult to accept unemployment benefits, remember that this is exactly why they exist.
2. Get health insurance.
For many people, their health insurance is directly tied to their employment. Therefore, you need to look for a plan to care for your physical and financial well-being.
If you are unemployed, then you have a few options. COBRA benefits will extend the coverage you had, but you will be responsible for the full premium. However, this may become too expensive when you have limited funds. You can shop the health insurance marketplace for more affordable plans. And depending on your income, you may also qualify for Medicaid which offers low or no-cost premiums and copays.
The financial strain of not having a steady income only gets worse when you have a medical emergency. Having health insurance can prevent you from accruing medical debt and protect you when you are most vulnerable.
3. Reassess your budget and spending.
If you have ever had limited income, then you know the importance of living on a budget. These skills will be even more important when you are between jobs. Although an emergency fund can help you with immediate expenses and bills, you don't want to deplete all your savings.
When you have limited resources, you need to account for every dollar you spend. Be smart with your money and prioritize your expenses. Then, look for ways to stretch your budget. Start by figuring out the bare minimum you need and then compare it to how much you are actually spending. If you need to trim the budget even further, look for ways to reduce your spending and cut unnecessary expenses. Having to scale back your lifestyle can be a hard transition, but it's necessary to help you preserve what you have.
4. Notify people of your situation.
This step has always been the most difficult for me. I felt like a failure, even when the situation was beyond my control. However, you must understand that there is no shame in being laid off. And, delaying the inevitable only makes it harder.
At some point, you will need to tell people what's going on. If you have a partner or roommate, they will need to know right away since it will directly affect them. It's also a good idea to share the news with your family and friends since they can be a great source of support. They love you and will usually want to help you in any way they can.
Some may offer financial assistance, but there are other significant ways they can help. My loved ones gave me emotional support, career advice, and used their connections to help me find new opportunities. In an effort to help others in the same situation, I have also offered assistance with resumes, rides, meals, child care, and anything else that would improve their circumstances.
You should also notify lenders if you can't make payments. Many are willing to work with you if they have advance notice of your situation. So, tell them there has been a change in your job status. They may be willing to adjust your monthly payments, waive interest rates, or make other arrangements until you find steady employment again. This will alleviate some of the pressure until you get back on your feet.
5. Stay active with the job search.
Ideally, you want to find a new position as quickly as possible. But, this is often easier said than done. However, you need to get active and market yourself to potential employers. In addition to updating your resume and posting on several job sites, you can also contact recruiters and apply online.
You can also make yourself more visible to potential employers by hosting a portfolio website. When you build the site, include a digital resume with all your skills and experience. And, provide examples of your work and personal references
Or, consider adding new skills to your resume. Since you don't have a full-time position, you can use this time to take a free online course from Ivy League schools or complete training programs from top companies. Taking courses that relate to your field will make you a stronger candidate during your next interview.
How Can You Generate Extra Income When You've Been Laid Off?
There were times when I struggled just to get by. However, I knew I had to make it work. Here are a few ways I made extra cash when things were tight.
- Work with a temp agency to find immediate placement.
- Offer to do manual labor and services like yard work, cleaning, and childcare.
- Freelance through online platforms like Upwork and Fiverr.
- Complete online surveys for gift cards.
These options are not perfect, but they can provide extra cash after you've been laid off.
Although these were some of the lowest periods of my life, I wouldn't change them for anything. It taught me a lot about myself and what it meant to struggle. I learned to be resourceful, and it hardened my determination to go after what I wanted to create a better life for myself.
The truth is that periods of unemployment are stressful and will test you. Sometimes you may not feel like you can go on. But, keep your chin up and your eyes on the prize. In the end, your hard work and perseverance will pay off.
This article was written by Jenny Smedra from Engineer Your Finances and was legally licensed through the Industry Dive Content Marketplace. Please direct all licensing questions to email@example.com.