How To Deal With Getting Laid Off

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How To Deal With Getting Laid Off

  1. 1. TABLE OF CONTENTS:  Dealing with a layoff  Stress - Top Ten Stressful Life Events  Americans reveal top stressors, how they cope  How To Eliminate Stress  Stress: How to Cope Better With Life's Challenges  Employee sense of loss  We all react differently  We each adapt differently  Steps to address “what’s next?”  1st week’s steps following the layoff = “Exhale”  Seven Ways to Cope with a Layoff  Relationships & drawing strength from relationship groups  Create a statement of goals & drawing a personal roadmap  Practical steps following the layoff = “Evaluate”  Suggested Reading: Layoff Survival Guide ( http://www.layoffsurvivalguide.com/ ) The Dollar Stretcher ( http://www.stretcher.com/index.cfm ) The Frugal Life ( http://www.thefrugallife.com/ ) Our objective Following a layoff, people do survive and transition. Sometimes we transition into new employers; sometimes into fresh new careers; sometimes into consulting; sometimes into part time work; sometimes into launching entrepreneurial endeavors; sometimes into volunteerism; or, sometimes into focusing on family. Key to the success of your transition will be getting your arms around your emotions so you can address this challenge. YOUR ROLE = • Keep an open & optimistic mind • Invest the necessary time into the materials; processes; and, suggested readings • Give it time & patience Dealing with a layoff (http://www.atworknewswire.com/2009/01/30/dealing-with-a-layoff/) Karen McHenry writes: In this economic downturn, the reality of layoffs has become a common occurrence. Although the first thing to come to mind may be the financial challenges created by a layoff, people often don’t recognize the emotional turmoil that downsizing
  2. 2. can cause. The key to surviving a layoff is your reaction to the situation. If you have recently lost your job, there are a number of productive ways that you can deal with this life change and work towards finding a new job. Expect A Variety of Emotions to Emerge. It is common for people who have been laid off to experience a wide range of emotions. You may feel happy and upbeat one day, and discouraged the next. Robert Lester, an experienced program manager and distance learning manager at a software company, recently went through a company downsizing. He observed, “After I was laid off, I felt 99% disappointment, but also 1% relief. After the initial shock, there was a flurry of activity where I was networking, analyzing opportunities, and updating my resume. Then things slow down a bit and you feel impatient and kind of in limbo.” There is a grieving process that accompanies the loss of a job and many people experience denial, anger, sadness, bargaining, and eventually acceptance of their situation. Remember that you are more than your job and take some time to remind yourself of your accomplishments. Joan Van Vranken, a seasoned trainer at a Boston- area software company, was shocked by a layoff, but sees some benefit in it too. “I won’t lie,” she commented. “It was a blow. But in some ways, it was time for me to make a change and this forced my hand. I’m taking this as an opportunity to explore new things. To be honest, I wake up with more energy now than I’ve had in the past couple of years.” Avoid Isolation. After experiencing a job loss, you may feel like retreating from the world. However, job search experts advise that you should resist this isolation. Recovery seldom begins when one is alone. Consider attending meetings of different organizations as a way of networking. Getting involved with social and civic groups, as well as professional and trade associations, are all good ways to combat isolation and also to network. You may also want to find a career counselor or join a support group. Staying socially active will help boost your energy levels and improve your attitude. Create Structure in Your Day. The vast majority of people rely on structure in their lives. Even though you are not going to an office each morning, try creating structure in your day. Incorporate activities that will improve your physical and mental health, such as exercising, eating sensibly, getting sufficient sleep, and reflecting on your situation. Before the layoff, Robert Lester had worked as a remote employee, so he was familiar with organizing his day while working at his home office. He explained, “It’s helpful to get some exercise during a lunch break and also to work from a local coffee shop. My new job is looking for a new opportunity. It’s not realistic to think that I can do that eight hours a day, but I am familiar with working in a home office environment and recognize the importance of making contact with people during the day.” Some people find it useful to start a journal where they can express the ups and downs of their day-to-day experiences. Other activities you may want to consider include: listening to music that you enjoy, writing a letter that expresses all your feelings and
  3. 3. then shredding it, watching a funny movie, calling a friend, or volunteering for an organization in your community. Stress - Top Ten Stressful Life Events (http://www.answers.com/topic/stress-top-ten-stressful-life-events) 1. Death of spouse 2. Divorce 3. Marital separation 4. Jail term or death of close family member 5. Personal injury or illness 6. Marriage 7. Loss of job due to termination 8. Marital reconciliation or retirement 9. Pregnancy 10. Change in financial state Americans Reveal Top Stressors, How They Cope (http://www.nmha.org/index.cfm?objectid=ABD3DC4E-1372-4D20- C8274399C9476E26) ALEXANDRIA, Va. — A new survey from the country’s leading non-profit mental health organization – Mental Health America – details the top life stressors in American life and the most common activities Americans engage in when feeling overwhelmed or anxious. Mental Health America, formerly known as the National Mental Health Association, releases the survey to coincide with the launch of a new vision and era of wellness for all. “The majority of Americans struggles to find balance in the face of a multitude of challenges in our busy society,” said David L. Shern, Ph.D., president and CEO of Mental Health America. “How they choose to cope – whether it is distracting activities, exercise, talking through their troubles or more harmful measures of smoking and doing drugs – affects their mental health. If inappropriately or inadequately addressed, chronic
  4. 4. stress and other mental health problems jeopardize the health and well-being of Americans and of the nation as a whole.” Americans’ Stressors Overall, the majority of people view their mental health and well-being as excellent or very good. Yet, they still feel besieged by financial, health and employment issues in their daily lives. Nearly half of Americans (48 percent) are stressed by finances. Native Americans and African Americans pointed to finances as a stressor at a significantly higher rate, 57 percent and 56 percent respectfully, than Asians, 42 percent, Latinos, 49 percent, and non-Hispanic Whites, 47 percent. Health issues stress more than 34 percent of Americans. Employment issues are the third main source of stress for Americans (32 percent) – whether on-the-job or lack of work. Latinos, 41 percent, are most likely to be stressed by employment issues, followed by African Americans with 39 percent. Stressed Americans Parents feel the most stressed of all demographic groups. Nearly 40 percent report feeling stressed from at least three sources – among them relationships with significant others or family, employment and finances. Native Americans, 37 percent, and African Americans, 38 percent, report significantly greater stress than non-Hispanic Whites, 30 percent, while Latinos, 34 percent, and Asians, 34 percent, report no difference. Americans with a college degree are less stressed overall. And, a college education makes a difference in whether finances are viewed as a stressor – more than half of respondents with less than a college degree note financial issues as stressors in their lives. People living with mental illnesses are far more likely to feel stress than those without such personal experiences. This increase in stress is primarily connected to their
  5. 5. relationships with significant others and family, 72 percent. People with mental illness also feel stressed by employment, 47 percent, and health, 48 percent. How Americans Cope with Stress Total Native African Hispanics/ Asians Non- Americans Americans Latinos Hispanic Whites Watch TV, 82% 84% 84% 86% 88% 81% read, music Talk to 71% 76% 65% 75% 77% 71% family / friends Prayer and 62% 64% 82% 60% 51% 59% meditation Exercise 55% 67% 56% 59% 70% 52% Eat 37% 41% 33% 37% 38% 38% Smoke, 26% 30% 24% 23% 17% 28% drink, drug Take Rx 12% 13% 8% 10% 7% 13% medications Hurt self 1% 1% 1% * 4% * • When faced with stress, a vast majority of people, 82 percent, turn on the television, listen to music or read. • Family and friends serve as a solid support for 71 percent of those polled. • Prayer or meditation is a recourse for 62 percent and exercise sustains 55 percent. Africans Americans, 82 percent, are far more likely than other groups to use prayer or meditation as a way to deal with stress and anxiety. Native Americans and non-Hispanic Whites are more likely to engage in unhealthy coping skills to deal with stress – 30 percent of Native Americans and 28 percent of non-Hispanic Whites respondents drink, smoke or do drugs when feeling stressed out. Asian Americans are least likely to smoke, drink or use drugs to cope. Asians also have the highest likelihood, 77 percent,
  6. 6. of talking to a family member or friend or exercising to manage stress levels, 70 percent. Women (42 percent) were significantly more likely than men (31 percent) to eat as a coping mechanism for stress. People living with mental illnesses are more likely to drink, smoke or do drugs to relieve stress, 42 percent, or take prescribed medications, 37 percent, talk with family, 74 percent, eat, 45 percent, and cut or injure themselves, 3 percent (fewer than one percent of overall pointed to self-injury). How To Eliminate Stress Angela in Health & Wellness (http://www.searchengineblog.com/how-to-eliminate- stress/) writes. Stress is by far the number one reason patients visit the doctor, factoring in to as many as 90% of doctor’s visits. When there is too much stress, your body gets knocked out of balance. Your body can rebound from the occasional big stressor, but chronic stress results in a physical body that eventually may not be able to recover, and then illness manifests. How To Eliminate And Reduce Stress You don’t have to live with stress. By using the process outlined below, you can reduce the amount of stress in your life and improve your health, happiness and longevity. Identify What Is Stressing You Sometimes you know what’s stressing you; other times you don’t. You just feel stressed and you wonder why. The first step to eliminate stress is to identify what is stressing you. First, write it down. When you can get a quiet space to yourself, pull out a notebook and unload your thoughts on paper. Sometimes, just writing it down brings relief. Many people regularly keep a journal as a stress reduction technique.
  7. 7. Second, look at your list and pick out the top stressors. There may be one big thing or several small things that rank highly. Life coaches like to ask clients to make a list of “tolerations”. These are the things in your life that you wish were not in your life, and you believe you have to tolerate them. Eliminate Top Stressors First, see if you can eliminate or significantly reduce some of the top stressors in your life. They may be in the following areas: • Lack of time to do the things you want to do • Lack of money to have and do what you want • Poor health • Lack of relationship or unhealthy relationship • Career stress, such as job loss or an imbalance between work and home life • Look at some of the lesser things that are bothering you. Eliminating multiple smaller stressors can bring relief too. One common and seemingly trivial stressor is trying to remember everything you need to do and stressing over the idea that you are forgetting something, which you usually are! We all have increasing demands on our time and lots of things to think about. Don’t waste your brainpower and create unnecessary stress keeping To Do lists. Write all that stuff down. Develop a system for keeping track of and prioritizing your To Do list. A great resource for learning how to do this is “Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress- Free Productivity” by David Allen. Change Your Thoughts To Eliminate Stress Stress is defined as “a mentally or emotionally disruptive or upsetting condition occurring in response to adverse external influences and capable of affecting physical health, usually characterized by increased heart rate, a rise in blood pressure, muscular tension, irritability, and depression.” The number one cause of stress is your thoughts. It is not what is happening to you or around you; it is how you perceive it. Your thinking determines your level of stress. Therefore, if you can’t change what’s stressing you, change your reaction to it by changing or even stopping your thoughts.
  8. 8. You can use the following techniques to change your thoughts to eliminate or reduce stress: • Focus on the positive aspects of the situation or person that is creating stress for you. Most clouds have a silver lining. • What do you believe about the situation? Are your beliefs accurate? How can you be sure? A good read on this subject is “Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life” by Byron Katie and Stephen Mitchell. • Try to be detached from outcome. Let go of what happens and let the universe handle it. Surrender to a higher power. If it fits, try prayer. Stop Your Thoughts To Eliminate Stress Use the following techniques to stop thinking about the stressful topic or to stop thinking altogether: • Meditate on a single object, letting go of all other thoughts. One of the most popular “objects” is your breath. • Try using the Heart Breath technique to calm yourself. To do this, breathe in slowly to the count of five and then breathe out slowly to the count of five. The Heart Breath is taught and practiced in the Journey to Wild Divine virtual reality biofeedback program. • Try the scientifically-researched HearthMath Solution, including the Freeze Frame technique, the Cut-Thru and the Heart Lock-In. • Live in the present moment. Stop the replay of stressful moments from the past, and stop the worry about the future. A great book on the subject is “Wherever You Go, There You Are” by Jon Kabat-Zinn. • Stop thinking about the thing that’s stressing you. Instead, focus your attention on things that make you happy and for which you are grateful. Pull out that notebook again and make a list of the things you are grateful for. How To Handle The Stress You Cannot Eliminate There will be stresses in your life that you simply cannot reduce or eliminate. But you can be prepared for them by taking care of your physical body. Enhance your body’s defenses against stress through the following: • Eat a healthy and balanced diet. • Consider supplements to fill shortfalls in your diet. • Get enough sleep each night. Most adults need 7-8 hours. • Exercise. According to the Mayo Clinic, virtually any form of exercise can decrease the production of stress hormones and counteract your body’s natural stress response.
  9. 9. Stress: How to Cope Better With Life's Challenges (http://familydoctor.org/online/famdocen/home/common/mentalhealth/stress/167. printerview.html) What causes stress? Feelings of stress are caused by the body's instinct to defend itself. This instinct is good in emergencies, such as getting out of the way of a speeding car. But stress can cause physical symptoms if it goes on for too long, such as in response to life's daily challenges and changes. When this happens, it's as though your body gets ready to jump out of the way of the car, but you're sitting still. Your body is working overtime, with no place to put all the extra energy. This can make you feel anxious, afraid, worried and uptight. What changes may be stressful? Any sort of change can make you feel stressed, even good change. It's not just the change or event itself, but also how you react to it that matters. What's stressful is different for each person. For example, one person may feel stressed by retiring from work, while someone else may not. Other things that may be stressful include being laid off from your job, your child leaving or returning home, the death of your spouse, divorce or marriage, an illness, an injury, a job promotion, money problems, moving, or having a baby. Can stress hurt my health? Stress can cause health problems or make problems worse if you don't learn ways to deal with it. Talk to your family doctor if you think some of your symptoms are caused by stress. It's important to make sure that your symptoms aren't caused by other health problems. Possible signs of stress • Anxiety • Back pain • Constipation or diarrhea • Depression • Fatigue • Headaches • High blood pressure • Insomnia
  10. 10. • Problems with relationships • Shortness of breath • Stiff neck • Upset stomach • Weight gain or loss What can I do to manage my stress? The first step is to learn to recognize when you're feeling stressed. Early warning signs of stress include tension in your shoulders and neck, or clenching your hands into fists. The next step is to choose a way to deal with your stress. One way is to avoid the event or thing that leads to your stress--but often this is not possible. A second way is to change how you react to stress. This is often the best way. Tips for dealing with stress • Don't worry about things you can't control, such as the weather. • Prepare to the best of your ability for events you know may be stressful, such as a job interview. • Try to look at change as a positive challenge, not as a threat. • Work to resolve conflicts with other people. • Talk with a trusted friend, family member or counselor. • Set realistic goals at home and at work. • Exercise on a regular basis. • Eat well-balanced meals and get enough sleep. • Meditate. • Participate in something you don't find stressful, such as sports, social events or hobbies. Why is exercise useful? Exercise is a good way to deal with stress because it's a healthy way to relieve your pent-up energy and tension. It also helps you get in better shape, which makes you feel better overall. Steps to deep breathing • Lie down on a flat surface. • Place a hand on your stomach, just above your navel. Place the other hand on your chest. • Breathe in slowly and try to make your stomach rise a little. • Hold your breath for a second. • Breathe out slowly and let your stomach go back down.
  11. 11. Meditation is a form of guided thought. It can take many forms. You may do it with exercise that uses the same motions over and over, like walking or swimming. You may meditate by practicing relaxation training, by stretching or by breathing deeply. Relaxation training is easy. Start with one muscle. Hold it tight for a few seconds then relax the muscle. Do this with each of your muscles. Stretching can also help relieve tension. Roll your head in a gentle circle. Reach toward the ceiling and bend side to side slowly. Roll your shoulders. Deep, relaxed breathing (see the box to the right) by itself may help relieve stress. This helps you get plenty of oxygen. If you want more help treating stress symptoms, ask your family doctor for advice. Source Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff. American Academy of Family Physicians Reviewed/Updated: 12/06 Created: 01/96 Employee Sense of Loss  Security---Loss of control; don’t know what the future holds; don’t know where they stand.  Competence---No longer know what to do; may feel embarrassed; loss of pride.  Relationships---Loss sense of belonging; embarrassed  Sense of direction---Loss sense of where we are going and why.  Territory---Uncertainty about the territory that used to belong to them; workspace; could include personal space  Identity---see themselves in terms of their job; may require them to reset their identity We All React Differently
  12. 12. Stages of Loss  Denial “No, not me.”  Anger “How could they…?”  Bargaining “Is there any way…?”  Depression “What’s the use?”  Acceptance “If you can’t beat them…” Denial  Denial allows the message to seep in slowly  Enables us to gather inner strength  We hope for a last-minute rescue  No exact timetable for when denial should end
  13. 13. Anger  Feeling anger is not necessarily harmful  Acting it out can be harmful  Can be directed at someone or something  Can be indirect---lateness, diminished effort, uncooperativeness Bargaining  Effort to keep the old bonds in place  Negotiation Depression  Sense of something having died  Withdrawal and isolation  Loss of energy  Leave me alone Acceptance  I’ll have to make lemonade out of this lemon  Taking action in the new direction  Building new relationships We Each Adapt Differently  What are some of the different reactions to change?  Embracing  Fearing  Resisting  Denying Steps to address “what’s next?”
  14. 14. One source, (http://www.best-job-interview.com/surviving-a-layoff.html) suggests the following. You need to have a good plan of action in place to recover and get going in the job market. Practical strategies will help you handle the lay off and compete effectively for a new job. A. Don't panic Panic following a lay off is dangerous. Do not lose sight of these two facts - you are a skilled person and you will work again. Adapt to what has happened and turn your energies to finding a solution. The way in which you look at the job loss will make all the difference in surviving a layoff. Avoid getting into a spiral of negative thought. Anger and fear are the usual emotions experienced after a job loss. Both these are destructive emotions that prevent you from thinking clearly about your future. B. Deal with your anger and fear You need to deal with these emotions and move on so that you can be relaxed and confident in an interview situation. Here are some practical guidelines for handling the emotional challenges in surviving a layoff. Acknowledge your feelings - it is absolutely normal to experience fear, anxiety and depression after losing your job. Don't pretend that you are fine, acknowledge what you are going through otherwise you will not be able to deal with it. C. Write it all down - put down on paper how you feel. What would you like to have said to the company but didn't? What upset you about the way you were laid off? What thoughts keep going through your head? What would you like to tell your family but feel unable to? Empty all your negative emotions into your writing and get it out of your system. Do it as many times as necessary. You can even write a letter to the company and then burn it. This can have a very cathartic effect. Make a list of all the positive things you recognize about yourself - this is a good way to build your self-esteem and feel more positive. Ask for letters of recommendation from colleagues and managers. These serve two purposes in surviving a layoff- to boost your confidence and to help you in your job search. List the positive outcomes of this experience - what good has come from this layoff? What have you learned? Finding value in the experience moves you from been a victim to a survivor. Practice telling yourself and others "It was very hard but I'm glad it happened because ...." 1st week’s steps following the layoff = “Exhale” From The First 30 Days: A Week-by-Week Layoff Action Guide by SuccessHawk 09/10/2009 (http://www.successhawk.com/Managing-a-Layoff/The-First-30-Days)
  15. 15. Losing your job is a life-changing event, a major transition characterized by emotions ranging from anger and denial to acceptance and hope. The impact of the emotional upheaval can be considerable, so it’s wise to allow yourself several days to vent, reflect and exhale before activating a job search. That said, there are many things you'll need to do during the weeks after a layoff, some immediately and some later on. This article provides an action plan divided into four weeks to get you through the first 30 days of a layoff. It is natural to be upset after losing your job or even want to act like nothing happened, as if the situation is a bad dream from which you will wake. That said, there are five “must-do” items you will need to address within the first week of being laid off, preferably within the first 72 hours. 1. Break the news to your spouse or partner As difficult as it may be, the sooner you get this over with, the easier it will be for all involved. While you might want to spare your loved ones pain, delaying this discussion will only make matters worse. 2. Talk to your children Once you and your spouse have an opportunity to digest the news, discuss the best way to break the news to your children. While you can wait a day or two, don’t let weeks go by without sharing this information. Children often have a sixth sense when something is wrong, so address this issue in a timely fashion. 3. Review your separation package At the termination meeting, your employer should have provided you with important information about your final paycheck, severance payments and other relevant company-provided services and benefits (e.g., stock options, outplacement services, etc.). Carefully review, process and file the paperwork. In particular, make sure you understand your options for continuation of your company sponsored health coverage (commonly referred to as COBRA) and don’t hesitate to comparison shop with other carriers before automatically signing up for this benefit. You may be able to obtain health insurance at more favorable rates through other insurance providers, such as your spouse’s benefit plan or plans offered through professional associations. Compare the specifics of the coverage, including any limitations pertaining to pre-existing conditions, to ensure the best value for your dollar. 4. File for unemployment It can take two to three weeks before you receive your first unemployment check, so file for benefits within the first week of losing your job. • South Carolina ( http://www.sces.org/ ) • Ohio ( http://ohio.gov/odjfs/ouc/ ) • Missouri ( http://www.dolir.mo.gov/es/index.asp ) • Michigan ( http://www.michigan.gov/uia ) • Colorado ( http://www.coworkforce.com/UIB/information.asp ) 5. Update your business associates One of the problems associated with losing your job is that you can quickly lose
  16. 16. touch with business associates who normally reach you through your work contact information. To avoid this problem, send a brief e-mail to your colleagues with your new e-mail address and telephone number. At a later date, follow-up with an updated resume and a more detailed explanation of your job search objectives. These people who know you and your skills are best situated to help you in your networking campaign to find a new job. “7 Ways to Cope with a Layoff” ( http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2009/01/28/7-ways-to-cope-with-a-layoff/ ) John M. Grohol writes: For many, being laid off is something that will be unexpected and shocking. Unless you work in a seasonal industry where layoffs occur with annual regularity, a layoff is akin to having the wind knocked out of you. You become a powerless pawn. A layoff is out of your control, but how you react to it is not. 1. Keep Your Emotions in Check One of the first things you should do is give yourself some time with the impact of being laid off. If unexpected, you will likely feel more upset, shocked and disappointed than if you had some idea layoffs were coming. The workplace is not a good place to express this disappointment and upset, however. Such reactions might be mistaken or misunderstood. It’s also best not to burn bridges, no matter how bitter or upset you may feel in the moment. You may need references from your manager or supervisor, and want to keep in touch with coworkers you’re close to. Ask for personal email addresses and act calmly, no matter how you may feel inside. If you need to vent, do so to close friends (or your family, or your therapist) outside of work. Don’t feel bad if you feel confused and uncertain about your future. Take your time and don’t try to rush into feeling “okay” with the layoff. 2. Get the Information Sometimes in our shock and upset at the news of a layoff, we forget to listen or to get all the information we need. Is there a severance package or a benefits package I get to leave with? What about my family’s health insurance? What about job references? If you can’t handle getting the information in the moment or feel overwhelmed, not to worry. Employers generally provide the information in a letter form as well, and your HR personnel can answer any follow up questions you may have via email or phone. The key is to remember that the more details you have, the easier it’ll be to answer others (e.g., your significant other) and make the tough decisions that are yet to come. Look into unemployment benefits paid for by the government. Sadly, these are going to be a lot less than what you were making, but it’s better than nothing. And it may help make ends meet until you can find another job. While most hard-working people hate the idea of accepting “charity,” sometimes we simply have no other choice. And unemployment benefits aren’t really “charity” anyway — they’re a benefit each state
  17. 17. provides by taxing employers, and are regulated in part by federal law. Your benefits will be determined by your hours worked and earnings over the five calendar quarters preceding your layoff. In other words — you earned the benefits you’re now receiving while you were working. 3. Regroup and Reframe Don’t let your disappointment and upset turn into a new pessimistic outlook on your life or career, or into a full-blown depressive episode. Therapists have a technique they call “reframing.” It basically means taking a negative situation, thought or feeling and looking at it from a different perspective for some positive aspects. Being laid off is a time to regroup in your life and especially in your career. This is a time to reassess your career path and make sure you’re still doing something you have an interest in doing. Even in a bad economy, you need to consider your own longer-term happiness. It may help you decide between two job opportunities in the future, one that keeps you on your current path, or another that may open up a different set of opportunities for you. A layoff may be just the ticket to get you out of the dead-end job you would’ve stayed in forever had it not occurred. 4. Take Stock in Your Finances and Budget This is not the time to pull the wool over your significant other’s eyes (or your own). Take a realistic look at your finances and budget, and see how long a severance package or unemployment benefits are going to last you. Whatever you do, do not put this off longer than a week. While we may not enjoy dealing with our finances, failure to do so could result in a far worse situation down the road (which always arrives sooner than you think). Be creative in analyzing your budget for places to cut. Most of us assume we need things like digital television and unlimited mobile calling plans. But most of us don’t. Do you need to go out to dinner twice a week? Do you need that new flat-screen TV? Put aside your wants and focus exclusively on your family’s needs. Keep in mind, too, of your savings, rainy-day funds, and even your 401(k), which may offer you some temporary financial relief. Borrowing from your 401(k), for instance, is usually less expensive than adding to your credit card debt, as you are paying back the loan with interest to yourself (not a credit card company). 5. Take Care of Insurance We often don’t think about insurance until we’re faced with a layoff and find out just how expensive it really is. You will likely be offered something called COBRA, which allows you to continue your current employer’s health benefits with one catch — you now have to pay what your employer was paying for your benefits. Be prepared for sticker shock. Most people are amazed that a family of four’s health insurance on COBRA might be as high as $1,000 or even $1,500 a month (for a single or couple, it can be anywhere from $500 to $800). When paying bills is already going to be a challenge, COBRA might be out of reach when the monthly cost of health insurance exceeds your unemployment benefits.You may find other health insurance
  18. 18. coverage for your family that is less expensive and not cut your benefits in any significant way. You may have to pay a higher deductible for inpatient hospital stays to achieve a lower monthly premium, so weigh the costs with what you can afford. Nowadays, there are a lot more plans available to most people at a wide range of costs. Put aside risky behaviors and hobbies that might put your future health at risk. If you have chronic health issues that may make insurers reluctant to take you on, check with your state’s office of the commissioner of insurance. (Names may vary from state to state.) Most states have “high-risk pools” for people who can’t get health insurance any other way. 6. Don’t Give Up Hope In the months to come, as unemployment may stretch out much longer than you had wanted or anticipated, you’ll benefit from remaining as optimistic as possible. A pessimistic attitude can easily snowball into full-blown depression when job hunting, especially in a down economy when hundreds of companies are laying off hundreds of thousands of workers. It’s a tough market to be looking for a job, of that there is no doubt. However, people who stand out in such markets usually can find a way to bounce back. If you feel especially down on your luck, join a free support group or skills-building group in your local community (or online), and learn from others who’re going through similar circumstances. Although it may be hard to remember, try to keep in mind that layoffs aren’t a judgment about your own abilities, experience or skills that you bring to a position. Some days it may feel impossible to do, but try to stay positive. Although many people define their self-worth and value in this world by their job, it really isn’t everything and doesn’t have to be the defining feature of one’s life. In Summary… unemployment isn’t easy. It stinks and the feelings you have after losing your job are right up there with losing a close loved one in your life. But you can get through this without having your entire life fall apart. • Layoffs aren’t personal, although they often feel like they are. • Being upset with a layoff is normal, but don’t let your upset turn into obsession or depression. • Pessimism after a layoff is a dangerous vice; avoid stinkin’ thinkin’. • Don’t burn bridges; keep in touch with ex-coworkers you had good relationships with. • Work it out if you need references and set them up sooner rather than putting it off. • Focus on and plan for the career you want to have in the future, not the job you just lost. • Don’t put off being realistic with your finances and your own personal budget. • Explore all your options when it comes to unemployment and health insurance. Don’t dismiss any resources available to you out of pride or ignorance.
  19. 19. • Be prepared to be in it for the long haul during tough economic times. This is a reflection of the poor economy, not your skills or abilities. • Stay positive as much as possible and keep an optimistic spirit. Set realistic job goals (sending out resumes, replying to classifieds, etc.), and stick to them. Believe in yourself, because if you don’t, others will have an even more difficult time believing in you. Dr. John Grohol is the CEO and founder of Psych Central. He has been writing about online behavior, mental health and psychology issues, and the intersection of technology and psychology since 1992. Relationships & drawing strength from relationship groups  Ending a work relationship can mean losing our sense of “being” or “self worth”.  Sustaining our other relationships is about learning how to “be” with family & other people.  How to behave & react  What to say and not to say  Does the cat run when it sees you?  Deal with the emotional fallout (http://www.best-job-interview.com/lay-off- tips.html) This is key to moving on confidently and with energy. The most common emotions following a lay off are fear and anger. Acknowledge your anger and your anxiety and then deal with them. A good way of getting them out of your system is to write down how you are feeling.  Share your feelings with other professionals who have been through a layoff. Then focus on positive things. List all the positive things you can offer a future employer. List what you have learned from the layoff experience that can benefit you. Engage in stress-reducing activities like walking or jogging.  Social groups are support systems  Families are support systems - CNBC Thursday, 19 Feb 2009 Dealing With A Lay Off - It's A Family Affair http://www.cnbc.com/id/29258753/  “Your First” Only when you are centered, confident and ready to move forward, will everyone else in your family be ok. So you first need to concentrate on finding that inner courage to move forward. Being unemployed should be treated as an objective problem because it doesn’t
  20. 20. define you. It’s an event / something that happened, which in turn, redirects a lot of your energy. Treat it as an experience. I know – this isn’t easy - but do what you can to not take it personally. Another way to decrease your stress is to review your finances, and determine how many months of cushion you have financially. If there isn’t much of a cushion there, take action NOW: decrease expenses, sell things on ebay, tap into a HELOC if possible, take on temporary employment. Perhaps this perspective will give perspective: Truly, you have a job. Your JOB is to find a job. So set aside 3 – 5 hours a day.  “Family Second” OK – you are ready to go, but your family still feels the pain. Here are some strategies to help them deal. You can’t look for a job 10 hours a day, so spend time with the kids doing productive things that don’t cost anything. Clean out that garage/attic! Getting organized makes everyone feel great! Instead of spending $100 per month on lawn care, get the kids into the act and make it a family affair, which saves money, makes your home look beautiful, and everyone benefits from the exercise. Get involved in the PTA, the community and your children’s sports activities. You’ll have fun, and you’ll meet a lot of new contacts - not a bad way to invest some time, AND build your network! Ninety five percent of this country believes in a higher power, so strengthen your family by praying together. It brings a lot of peace to a lot of people so try it!  Previous colleagues are support systems  Can be caught off-guard  Usually not aware of circumstances & not included in the planning  Are experiencing loss & can respond awkwardly  Professional networks are support systems It is all of these support systems that will sustain you Create a Statement of Goals  List issues and concerns  Turning concerns into statements
  21. 21.  Turning statements into goals and actions  Turning goals into a roadmap  Draw your roadmap Practical steps following the layoff = “Evaluate” From The First 30 Days: A Week-by-Week Layoff Action Guide by SuccessHawk 09/10/2009 (http://www.successhawk.com/Managing-a-Layoff/The-First-30-Days) The second week after a layoff is the time to begin evaluating your new financial and career reality. The sooner you address these topics, the sooner you’ll be able to make sound decisions, financial and otherwise, to help you regain control over your destiny. Without question, one of the most difficult aspects of losing your job is the financial uncertainty that suddenly clouds your life. While you can’t change the fact that your income has stopped, you can minimize the impact of the loss by making a conscious decision to actively manage your new financial reality. 1. Determine available cash flow and assets You can’t begin to plan for the future until you understand your current financial standing. Add up your cash on hand, unemployment benefits, severance payments and assets you are willing to liquidate. 2. Cut expenses Sit down with your spouse or partner, if applicable, to determine where to trim or eliminate spending. Look for opportunities to negotiate new payment terms with
  22. 22. vendors and creditors. If feasible, implement your cost-cutting in stages to avoid the sense that you are “punishing” yourself or your family members for your job loss. 3. Assess your insurance Don’t leave yourself open to a catastrophic loss due to insufficient health, life or property insurance. Shop around for cost-effective insurance solutions that will help you protect against major losses. 4. Explore options for short-term work If cash flow is an issue, you or your spouse may want to find temporary, part-time or consulting work. Project work is a good way to enhance your resume and lessen your anxiety during this transition. Just be aware that payment of your unemployment benefits is impacted by earned income. 5. Create a new budget Construct a revised spending/income plan that reflects your new economic reality and share it with all family members. Use this plan to determine how quickly you’ll need to start earning income again.

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