Handling a Sudden Job Loss
Losing your job is incredibly difficult, especially when the job loss is sudden. When you experience an unexpected job loss, it’s very common to feel anxious, stressed, worried, and even scared. Losing your job affects your life in many ways. When a job loss comes without much notice, it can change your entire world very quickly.
However, there are things you can do to cope with a sudden job loss.
Handling a Job Loss Financially
One of the first things you should do when you lose your job is figure out if you are eligible for government unemployment benefits. These benefits can help you stay on your feet financially and avoid debt while you’re looking for work.
You’ll also need to look at your current financial situation and determine how long your current financial resources will last. Create a budget that helps you reduce expenses and keep your spending in check. You will likely need to cut costs and stick to the basics for a while to make ends meet. If you have any emergency savings, your goal will be to make them last as long as possible. This way, if you remain unemployed for a while, you’ll be able to survive, and if you get a job quickly, you’ll still have some savings left over for the future.
Try to avoid going into debt while you don’t have an income. Debt is incredibly difficult to pay down, especially while you’re not working, and this debt could stay with you for a very long time even after you’re once again employed. If you damage your credit score at this point in time, it will hurt for a long while.
If your job provided you with health insurance or other benefits, it’s important to find out if these will last for a period after you stop working or if they will terminate immediately. If you wish to continue having these benefits, you’ll need to figure out how you can pay for them on your own.
The Emotional Impact of a Job Loss
In addition to the financial side of a job loss (which is obviously difficult to deal with) there is also an emotional aspect to losing your job. When you lose a job suddenly, it’s common to experience grief or a sense of loss. There were likely aspects (or people) that you enjoyed at your job and going to work each day gives most people a sense of purpose. Many people strongly identify with their jobs and their careers and being without a job (even for a short time) can leave you feeling empty.
You may also feel anger and/or anxiousness. These are all common feelings. Losing your job is a very stressful situation and having these reactions is normal.
It’s important to vent your feelings appropriately. For instance, it might be okay to discuss your frustrations with your family or friends, but getting angry or agitated with your (former) boss or coworkers is not productive and could even be damaging.
If you lose your job, you may wish to take a few days to sit down and evaluate your situation. You don’t have to immediately start looking for a new job. However, it’s important that you don’t spend too much time wallowing. Once you’ve given yourself a few days to process the situation and taken the time to consider what may have gone wrong at your last job, you might be able to come up with a good plan for how to avoid being in this situation again. Of course, there is no way to guarantee that you won’t lose your job again in the future but taking some time for reflection can certainly be helpful.
You’ll also want to make an effort to remain social. While you might feel like avoiding friends and family at this time, this often isn’t a good idea. Not only will maintaining your personal relationships give you moral support and keep you feeling positive, but your colleagues and friends may have some advice to offer you or job leads to pass your way.
Losing a job doesn’t have to be considered an entirely bad thing. While it can certainly be difficult financially and emotionally, it’s also an opportunity to revaluate your career and see if a change is in order. Even if you decide to stay in the same field, take this opportunity to brush up and improve your skills, create a competitive resume, and start looking for a new opportunity.