The Dos And Don’ts If You’ve Been Laid Off
If you’ve been recently laid off or furloughed indefinitely from your job, you are definitely not alone. Let me first say that I’m feel for each and every one of you. Working most of my former career in manufacturing, I learned to expect a layoff at least every 4 years. It was a nightmare. I totally understand the feelings of anxiety and depression that may be setting in, but you CAN’T stay there. Today I’m sharing a few of the dos and don’ts if you’ve been laid off. I hope you find it helpful.
Dos After a Lay-off
File for Unemployment Immediately
I know many states are overloaded with people trying to file unemployment claims, but you need to do this ASAP. Don’t wait until you are completely out of money because it usually takes a couple of weeks to get paid.
See Where You’re at Financially
Perhaps THE most important first step in the list of the dos and don’ts if you’ve been laid off is to get a clear picture of your finances. Make 2 columns on paper or a spreadsheet– Money In and Money Out. In the Money In column, write down any money you currently have, and any regular payments you receive. Only write down ones you know for SURE are coming in.
In the Money Out column write down all of your regular monthly bills, including groceries, house or rent payment, car payments, utilities, gas for vehicles, credit cards… everything.
Add up each column and subtract the Money Out column from the money in column. If you have a decent amount left over for this month, that’s great. DON’T SPEND IT. Save it in case it takes longer than expected to get any income.
If you are in the negative or barely breaking even, you need to create more wiggle room. Look through all of your expenses and start cutting.
Pay Your Bills
Pay your most critical bills first. HOUSING should always come first! The last thing you need is to worry about, especially now, is having a safe place to sleep. I know some people are out there telling people NOT to pay their rent.(yes, seriously!) But remember that not all landlords are huge, rich companies that can afford to borrow money to keep their properties afloat.
If you don’t pay your rent, they can’t pay the mortgage on the place you call home. If they can’t pay the mortgage, they lose the property and you’re forced to move out anyway. So pay your mortgage and/or rent first.
Next, cut out any unnecessary expenses. You can survive without cable TV. Keep your internet service and antenna channels, but get rid of everything else if you have to. Cut out any unnecessary subscriptions or paid apps. Make your food at home instead of eating out. Stretch your food by making casseroles or large batch type of meals like soups, chili, ect.
Try to Negotiate Your Bills
Your next priority needs to be your utilities and food and critical health expenses. Call the utility companies to see if they will work with you on reduced payments. See if you qualify for food programs like Food Stamps (do they still call it that?) or state programs for food and medical coverage.
Finally, call your credit card companies and see if they will work with you. If you have student loans, federally funded loan payments are temporarily suspended right now (as of April 2020), so check with your loan service company for specifics. Credit cards are the last priority to worry about right now.
After cutting and negotiating as much as you can, run your budget again to see what you have left over. Keep making as many of your credit card payments as you can, but don’t stress yourself out if you still fall short. You’ve done everything you can and as long as you intend to make a good faith effort in paying your bills when you can, that’s all you can do at this point.
Maintain a Daily Routine
It may be difficult, but try to maintain a regular schedule during the week. Take advantage of this time instead of laying around in bed all day. Create some sort of plan for each day that includes time for job search, exercise and outdoor time, family time, and self care time.
Get up and do a workout or go for a walk. Take a shower and get dressed in casual clothes. Put your tasks in your calendar and stick to them. Spend a few hours doing job and income related tasks. Make any phone calls you need to make. Tackle a few household chores and errands, and then make dinner as usual. Treat it like a regular workday routine, then spend time relaxing in the evening.
Think Out of the Box for Income Options
Another great DO in the list of dos and don’ts if you’ve been laid off is to think out of the box. If you really need quick income, there are still plenty of options out there. Get creative! Think about things you can do for quick cash. Do you have stuff around the house you can sell online? Is there a special skill you could be teaching people on video? Maybe ask your neighbors if they need yard work, errands or some other service you could charge a small fee for.
Think of jobs that are in demand right now. They may not be related to your most current job, but they will provide you with some quick temporary income. It’s much easier to stay positive when you are taking some action than sitting at home feeling helpless and anxious.
Practice Self Care
Take care of yourself. Eat healthy, get enough rest and get some sunshine and fresh air. If you are having a really hard time coping with stress or depression, talk to a professional. Many counselors will work with you on a sliding fee scale if you don’t have insurance.
If you need some ideas for dealing with stress and anxiety, check out this post. There’s a little discount on a great app I’ve been using that helps me a ton!!
Keep in Contact with Family and Friends
Give your friends and family a call or video chat! Trying to handle things all on your own is too hard. Let them know you just want some company and laughs. See if they have any ideas or leads for a job. People that caare about you want to help you in any way they can, even if it’s just a chat.
Don’ts If You’ve Been Laid Off
Don’t sleep in during the week
Get up early, get a bit of exercise and get ready like your normally would. I don’t know about you, but when I get myself ready for the day, I feel much better. If I stay in my lounge clothes and don’t make myself look presentable, my mood inside tends to match how I look on the outside. So save the lounge wear for the weekends. Dress up and show up just like you normally would if you were going to work.
Don’t sit around focusing on worries and negative thoughts.
Staying positive is one of the most important DON’TS of the dos and don’ts if you’ve been laid off. Ever heard the saying, “What you focus on grows”? It’s absolutely true! I know this because I struggle with this a lot. Negative information takes more priority in our brains than positive information. Therefore, it doesn’t take much to push ourselves into a downward spiral of despair.
I’m awesome when it comes to inventing problems that haven’t even happened yet, or may not ever happen! I often find out later that it was all for nothing, because everything turned out fine. In some cases, things turned out even better than before!
Keep the negative thought monster small and under control by NOT FEEDING IT. Acknowledge your feelings but then ask yourself constructive questions like , ‘What can I do now to make this situation better for myself?” Sometimes the best way to take your mind off your own problems is to help someone else with theirs. See if a friend or neighbor needs help with anything, or find a way to volunteer in your church or community. There’s LOTS of opportunity out there. And good deeds almost always come back to you when you need it most.
Don’t neglect your health.
Trust me, eating all of the sweet fat things might feel good for the moment, but the extra weight and lethargic feelings will make you feel even worse in the long run. Plus, you definitely don’t need any health problems if you’ve lost your income and/or health insurance.
Don’t isolate yourself.
Call and talk to friends and family. Keep in touch with former work colleagues-they may be good references or provide you with job leads. Get outside and go for a walk or bike ride. Do some gardening or yard work.
Don’t use alcohol to cope.
I enjoy a nice drink just as much as the next person. But when you drink or use other drugs to numb yourself to your problems, it can become very destructive. You’re problems are still going to be there when you sober up. It also doesn’t set a very good example for teaching your kids how to manage setbacks effectively. You can’t make much progress if you’re all hungover the next day. So do your best to minimize using alcohol or other vices for stress relief. Save it to celebrate when things get back to normal! 🙂
I hope this list of the dos and don’ts if you’ve been laid off has been helpful. I would like you thinking in a more positive direction. Remember that nothing lasts forever and that there are always options… some you have to find, some you have to create for yourself. It’s all about determination, mindset, and ACTION.
Wishing the best for you! <3