by Kathy Kirchoff
There is a new "normal" with the current economy. And it’s especially hard if you’re unemployed. While Unemployment: This is Going to Hurt – a Lot. Part 1 described about how job loss affects all workers emotionally and financially regardless of age, part 2 will help you navigate the uncertainties of your new reality.
Secure yourself financially as best as you can by applying for unemployment insurance and any other assistance you may need and qualify for.
- Maintain adequate medical insurance coverage.
- Pay down your bills and cut down on unnecessary spending immediately. Get rid of extra expenses and cut down to the basics. Do you need the second car, manicure, snowmobile, gym membership, the boat, the second home, a vacation, or to eat out? Try to get your spending down to the income coming into the household. You would be surprised how small an income you can live on by changing your lifestyle.
- Don’t run up your credit cards, and let your creditors know your situation to arrange a workable payment plan.
- If your spouse is not working, they can take on a temporary job to help out. Work for cash on the side by mowing lawns or doing handyman work. If your kids are old enough, they can work part-time to help cover their expenses and save for their education too.
Revisit your goals. Your immediate goals are probably to keep a roof over your head, pay the bills, and provide food on the table. Sit down with your family and explain the situation so everyone understands they will need to help out. Maybe you will need to move in with others temporarily and share expenses, or get a loan. Try not to deplete your savings or tap into retirement plans. Don’t worry about what other people may think.
Get in the right frame of mind. Losing a job is a great loss, and you need to give yourself some time to grieve without getting stuck feeling sorry for yourself. Talk about your feelings and seek professional help if needed. Don’t take your frustrations out on others. Focus on the present not the past. Make room for new, attainable goals. Pursue interests and hobbies to help keep a healthful balance to your day.
Let people know you are searching for work. Your network of friends and family may have job leads. Join a job networking group. Working temporary or part time can sometimes help get your foot in the door and bring in needed income. Volunteer in areas you would like to work; it could lead to something permanent and can help you to feel productive.
Rework your resume and freshen your look. Keeping yourself up will help you feel better. Plan to spend at least two hours a day pursuing employment.
Upgrade your skills. Now may be the perfect opportunity for you to change career directions and get additional training. Explore short-term training options as well as free online training. The more skills you have, the better your chances of finding work.
A job will not come looking for you. Don’t wait for your unemployment benefits to end. Now, dust yourself off and get out there.