You’ve been handed your pink slip, encouraged to retire early, or offered a severance package to resign. Either way, you are now out of a job. This is a scary proposition for many people, especially in an economy where finding another job can be quite a challenge. Most terminations at this point are not about employee performance, but simply about money.
Get organized. First, apply for unemployment. This should be your first stop, as it may take several weeks to process your application. In many states, you can apply online at any time around the clock.
Look at any other sources of household income. Make a budget and assess the shortfalls. Make cutbacks now, even if you have substantial savings. This is the time to reduce entertainment expenses, dining out and other costs. If possible, reduce your cell phone bills, cable costs and other bills. Consider whether you may need to put your home on the market and downsize to a small apartment or sell a vehicle. Tighten your belt and cut costs brutally at this stage to make your savings last a bit longer.
While your employer will probably offer COBRA for your health insurance coverage, you may want to opt for a lower cost high deductible plan while you are unemployed. In many states, you may be able to seek state health insurance for your children. Contact your local Department of Family Services for application assistance. You may find that you qualify for child care assistance, food stamps or additional aid.
Brush up your resume. Find out if your former employer will offer a good reference and be sure that you have contact information for previous managers or co-workers. Contact those you know in the field and be sure that they know you are looking and interested should a position open up. Today, social networking online is also a valuable job search tool. Be sure that all of your social networking accounts present you in a favorable and professional light. Put your resume up at online job search sites as well.
Explore the possibilities. Do you have skills you can use in a freelance or contract capacity? Financial aid may allow you to return to school or you may find that there are job re-training options available in your community.