Updated: Apr 25
There are few things worse than arriving at work thinking you will be completing routine tasks and assignments only to arrive, have a spontaneous meeting and be informed that you are being let go. No matter how you are told, "Your position is being eliminated"; "We are having to downsize in the department"; "Your services are no longer needed" or whatever else HR seems to fumble out in the most sincere yet let's-not-make-this-too-awkward kind of way, it essentially all translates to, you no longer have a job. Needless to say, it can be shocking, humiliating and leaving you wondering, "Where do I go from here?" Taking these steps can help you stay in control of the impact separation from work can have on your life and lighten the burden of unemployment.
File for Unemployment Benefits
Although some of your service providers may feel remorse, rent/mortgage, gas/electricity, internet/cable and every other bill in America, waits for no man. Checking your state's qualifications for unemployment benefits can help keep your financial situation from taking a hit by supplementing a portion of your income based upon a variety of factors (reason for separation, employment status [full-time/part-time], length of time employed). For example, I live in Texas. The Texas Workforce Commission will pay unemployment benefits for up to 26 weeks while you are looking for full-time work. The amount paid is based up your earnings from the highest quarter of your last 12 months earnings. For more information on applying for benefits in Texas, click here.
Restructure your budget & habits
Take a moment to look at your finances and see what habits can be eliminated from your daily routine. Cut out unnecessary trips to your local coffee shop by getting k-cups, cancel recurring subscriptions from apps on your phone or happy hours with friends. Set a realistic amount aside for savings - even if its $5 a week for a rainy day because in reality, this may feel like a rainy day but in all actuality, it's a light drizzle.
Establish a routine
Suddenly, you find yourself with a lot of free time. It can be easy to fall into the cycle of sleeping in, spending time out around the city “running errands” (a.k.a. spending unnecessary money - see paragraph above for reinforcement ) and indulging in the afternoon rerun of your favorite 90’s sitcom. Establishing a routine that forces you to get out of bed in the morning by a reasonable hour and be as productive as you can each day will help you stay focused and aligned with the goal - to find the right job ASAP. Try these tips for starters:
Set aside time each day to go to a local coffee shop, plug in headphones and job search.
Enroll in an online class for a certification that will make you more competitive amongst peers in your industry.
Reach out to 2 people in your network each day you have a professional relationship with, ask for leads on roles they feel you may be a great fit for and if they would make an introduction.
Send resumes to recruiters and staffing agencies
Whether you hope to take time off for a while or jump back into your career, it is in your best interest to send an updated resume to recruiters and staffing agencies in your area. In Dallas, companies like Robert Half, Cornerstone Staffing and Delta Dallas have a primary focus of assisting companies in their search for candidates to join their staff.
Attending networking events within your passion or industry
Google local organizations for your industry and check their events page for upcoming events and activities. Get out and mix and mingle with like-minded individuals in your industry at the networking events and hopefully make organic connections. In Corporate America, your network is your net worth and the more people you know, the better. Plus, you may just meet your next boss.
Give yourself a break
Although not ideal, layoffs happen. When unemployment occurs, you can’t let it affect your confidence in your skills or self-worth. You may feel embarrassed or ashamed to tell your friends or family but the truth is, layoffs are a part of life. Be careful not to wallow in self-pity and allow the negativity to affect your confidence in determining which jobs are right for you and interviewing. You are not stupid. You deserve to be in a role that makes you feel fulfilled, challenged and empowered with coworkers you generally enjoy being around and great benefits. IT WILL COME; and when it does, you will think back to reading this article, giggle and see it was a blessing in disguise and a stepping stone on your path to success.