How to Manage Being Let Go

The unemployment rate

A recent study showed that the national unemployment rate in October was 10.2%. Last year the same time it was 6.5%. The drastic increase is attributed to the recession. It managed to strip millions of Americans of their livelihoods and rendered businesses helpless in creating new jobs. A “job summit” called by the White House has been scheduled and its purpose is to focus on what legislators can do to spur job creation.

If you are unemployed

It’s not easy to hear the words: “We are letting you go.” Despite how it happens—whether it’s a layoff, firing or company downsizing—the words still are not pleasant ones to deal with. Here are some tips to remember if you find yourself let go:

Let yourself wallow . . . for a moment. Sure it’s terrible news to be let go and yes, you will need some time to wallow, but not forever. Give yourself a few days off to regroup, but then get back in the game. Your job now is to find a new job.

Get back to normal. Once you have had your days to sulk, you need to build up optimism. Do you have one friend who is referred to as “Susie Sunshine”? Now is the time to call her. Get a good team together of people who can encourage you and help you to stay positive in your search.

Schedule your day. You want to start scheduling your week just like you did when you had a job. Nancy Collamer, career coach, said, “You might decide that from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. you will research new companies on the internet and then from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. you will go to the library and check out three books on writing resumes to see what you can do to improve yours.” She added, “Having a schedule gives you a sense of dignity.”

Continue your health coverage. COBRA is an option, though it can be an expensive one for the unemployed. Normally a job that lets you go will continue your coverage for 30 to 60 days after your release so you will have time to decide. If COBRA is too much, call your insurance provider and ask about individual plans. You should be able to find something reasonable. If not, find an online insurance broker to do the leg work for you. They get a commission if they find a company for you, so they will be doing their best to fill your needs.

Maintain your contacts. Remember that everyone you talked to at the office most likely only has your office phone number and email. Now you want to keep them close at hand if they hear about openings that you may fit into. Send a short and tactful email to each one giving them your change of job status and new contact information.

Deal with your debt fast. If you think you’ll fall behind on mortgage, student loan or car payments, call your finance company. You may qualify for a deferred payment program or a discount. Tell them your situation and the loss mitigation department may be able to help you. The worst thing you can do is hide from bill collectors.

Get proactive to find a new job

In the end, getting fired is bad news, but it is not the end of the world. It will change your life, but you may get the opportunity to change it for the better. Being proactive in your search for a new job is key. No one likes to be down and out, but with some careful planning, you won’t be for long.

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