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”
Layoff Survival Guide ( http://www.layoffsurvivalguide.com/ )
The Dollar Stretcher ( http://www.stretcher.com/index.cfm )
The Frugal Life ( http://www.thefrugallife.com/ )
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
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
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
then shredding it, watching a funny movie, calling a friend, or volunteering for an
organization in your community.
Stress - Top Ten Stressful Life Events
1. Death of spouse
3. Marital separation
4. Jail term or death of close family member
5. Personal injury or illness
7. Loss of job due to termination
8. Marital reconciliation or retirement
10. Change in financial state
Americans Reveal Top Stressors, How They Cope
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
stress and other mental health problems jeopardize the health and well-being of
Americans and of the nation as a whole.”
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.
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
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
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
Watch TV, 82% 84% 84% 86% 88% 81%
Talk to 71% 76% 65% 75% 77% 71%
Prayer and 62% 64% 82% 60% 51% 59%
Exercise 55% 67% 56% 59% 70% 52%
Eat 37% 41% 33% 37% 38% 38%
Smoke, 26% 30% 24% 23% 17% 28%
Take Rx 12% 13% 8% 10% 7% 13%
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,
of talking to a family member or friend or exercising to manage stress levels, 70
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 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
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.
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.
You can use the following techniques to change your thoughts to eliminate or reduce
• 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
• 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
• 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: How to Cope Better With Life's Challenges
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
Possible signs of stress
• Back pain
• Constipation or diarrhea
• High blood pressure
• 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.
• Participate in something you don't find stressful, such as sports, social events or
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
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
• 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.
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
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
We All React Differently
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 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
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
Effort to keep the old bonds in place
Sense of something having died
Withdrawal and isolation
Loss of energy
Leave me alone
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?
Steps to address “what’s next?”
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
• 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
• Work it out if you need references and set them up sooner rather than putting it
• Focus on and plan for the career you want to have in the future, not the job you
• 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.
• 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 &
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
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
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
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
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
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.