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How to Handle Getting Laid-Off Without Warning

Getting laid-off without any prior warning can be devastating. You must deal with a wide range of emotions after hearing the news, and you have to plan for the future. You might be upset, but you cannot let your emotions control your reaction. Here are some practical steps you can take when facing this uncertain situation.

Process Your Emotions

It is normal to feel anger and disappointment at this news. Your anger is not a sign of weakness. Take time to process your emotions and feel them fully. When you are away from the office, speak with a friend about your feelings. Be kind to yourself as well. Inform loved one of the situation immediately, just talking it out will help you begin processing the emotions. Try to look on the bright side. This is an opportunity to follow your dreams, get out of a rut and try something new.

You Are Not Your Job

According to Psychology Today “many people view their career as a critical component of their self-concept and identity. For these individuals, being fired equates to a loss of identity.” Don’t fall into the trap of anger, guilt and depression. A job is a place where you work to earn money. Your job is not your identity. Gone are the days when you worked at one job for your whole life. If you are walking away from a high position, remind yourself that you were being paid to make someone else rich. You still have your talents, and you can use your skills at another company (or start your own). Nowadays, anyone can make their own job. You can even create your own company with a shoestring budget. If you are able to collect unemployment benefits you have a few months to find a new job, use that time wisely. Start by updating your resume. Assess what skills and opportunities you already have and don’t dwell in the past.

Make a New Budget

Most people are not prepared for the future financial hurdles you’ll face without a job. Hopefully, you have set aside an emergency fund as we recommend in OptioMoney and Your Family Finances. If you haven’t you might panic when you check your bank account. Spend your last check wisely check with your local Unemployment Office about what you have to do to begin collecting unemployment benefits. If your employer owes you money and is refusing to pay, a lawyer can help you secure lost wages on a contingency basis (meaning that you don’t pay them anything unless they get results). Do not spend money on frivolous items or buy things to “drown your sorrows” and when you shop for groceries, purchase the store brand. Look for inexpensive entertainment. Get your spouse and kids on board with the new reality, make sure they understand that you have to save money right now but that things will get better. Work temporary jobs until you find another in your field and don’t be too picky with your side jobs.

Maintain Your Professional Connections

Keep up with your coworkers. Most companies want to speak with your references. Your former coworkers may give you a great reference. Your former supervisors might even try to help you find a new job at a similar company. If you are too busy to make calls, send personalized text messages and connect again online. Get into the mindset that you are not on vacation your new job is finding a better job. You need to spend just as many hours a day as if you were still employed. You might want to get up at the same time and go to the library so you don’t get lazy and depressed and sit home watching soap operas rather than actually searching for a new job.

Get Ready for Job Interviews

When an interviewer wants to know about your previous job, be honest. You were laid-off because the company was having financial problems. Do not complain about your old boss or management. Ask questions about the new company and state the past as fact, without emotion.

It might take a few months to find another job in your field, and you might have to deal with a few disappointments. Stay confident and find a place to vent your frustration. A therapist can help you maintain your positive energy. To stay competitive, attend professional workshops and read about current events.

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About Tim McMahon

Work by editor and author, Tim McMahon, has been featured in Bloomberg, CBS News, Wall Street Journal, Christian Science Monitor, Forbes, Washington Post, Drudge Report, The Atlantic, Business Insider, American Thinker, Lew Rockwell, Huffington Post, Rolling Stone, Oakland Press, Free Republic, Education World, Realty Trac, Reason, Coin News, and Council for Economic Education. Connect with Tim on Google+