Coping Emotionally and Financially After Being Laid Off

by on 14/05/09 at 10:00 am

I have been delaying this blog simply because I didn’t want to relive the emotions I felt after being laid off. Unfortunately, the economy isn’t getting any better and too many people are still losing their jobs. If I can help just one person understand the emotional roller coaster, then I will be satisfied.

During my 6 year tenure at my previous company, I made friends that I considered my family. For me personally, being cut was like dealing with the death of a loved one. There was grieving involved as well as some depression. I shut out my friends and family because I didn’t want them to see me hurting. I was very lucky to have my 5 month old son to take care of, he kept my mind occupied. He helped to ease the pain and take the numbness away.

I had a very difficult time not taking my layoff personally. Despite the fact the company had already laid off hundreds, it was tough when it was my turn to box up all my memories. I had an idea I was being laid off so when it happened, I was very calm and able to clearly process what was happening. I already knew what questions to ask HR when my severance package was presented and I knew to immediately apply for unemployment compensation.

My company offered job placement assistance that I did not take advantage of. Several of my friends did attend the free resume and cover letter writing seminars and found them to be beneficial. My advice would be to take advantage of any free service that is offered.

I would be lying if I didn’t tell you I was terrified about finding a new position. I’m not sure if it was the thought of starting over, stress about not knowing where to look since all companies were downsizing or simply the fact I didn’t want to leave my son. Regardless of my fears, I kept my chin up and began my search. I developed a job search process which became my routine. I created bookmarks for companies that I was interested in and checked their job boards regularly. I also contacted several recruiters who kept their eyes open for me. I read a great book “The Power of Who” which reminded me to grow and sustain existing relationships because this would be vital in my job search.

My main job leads did come from relationships. Regardless, my husband and I made the decision for me to stay home with our son because his development was most important. My job search ended 3 months after being laid off. It’s amazing how such a devastating event turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

Obviously, being a stay at home mom (SAHM) was a big decision for my family and we have been forced to make lifestyle adjustments. The lesson I have learned is “quality of life” is more important than “quantity of life”.

Below is a Laid-Off 101 list compiled by The Unemployed Mom:

  1. Apply for Unemployment Compensation.
  2. If you are eligible for COBRA, understand the costs involved. In most cases, it makes the most sense to be added to your spouse’s benefits.
  3. Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. Create a list of your liquid assets (including stocks, bonds, 401(k), IRA’s, credit lines, savings and pawnable items). If you have a savings account, you may not need to liquidate these items for survival.
  4. Do not make any rash decisions with your retirement money! There are huge tax penalties if you cash out your 401(k). If you can afford it, leave the money until you are able to roll it over into your new company’s 401(k) plan or set-up a personal IRA. Cashing out a portion or all of your retirement is a last resort and should only be used if you do not have any other choice.
  5. Make a list of your current liabilities and payments. Call companies if you are struggling to make payments and see if lenders will allow you to skip a payment or two.
  6. Move into survival mode. From the list you created in step 5, identify luxury items you can cut out (e.g. maid service, caller ID, call waiting, premium cable channels, cellular phones, entertainment, etc.).  The second best way to save money is on your food budget. Start clipping coupons and learn which stores double coupons or offer buy one get one free items.
  7. If you fall behind on your mortgage payments, consider contacting an experienced Short Sale real estate professional and listing your home before going into foreclosure. Since you have a hardship, you have a better case with the lender.
  8. Use the time off to get rid of junk in your home. There are several online resources (eBay and Craigslist) that can help you make money!

Have you received a pink slip? What have you done to save money during these scary economic times? How is your job search going? Please share your comments and experience.

Thanks for stopping by The Unemployed Mom!

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5 Responses to “Coping Emotionally and Financially After Being Laid Off”

  1. Barb Posada

    May 19th, 2009

    Like our amazing Unemployed Mom, I was laid off from my company after 4 years of service. As a matter of fact – we both worked for the same company and I too, was quite surprised to have been one of the “victims”. It goes without saying how devastated I was and you can’t help but take it personally when you look back and see how many of our co-workers were saved from the storm while we were submitting application after application alongside the many thousands of others in the same boat. I must say, because I was originally transferred from the corporate offices in NY, I didn’t realize how difficult it is to find corporate level work in Florida. I was used to calling my headhunter contacts and being set up with interviews left and right; not here. Sadly, it’s more about “who” you know that “what” you know. Sure, the economy isn’t helping the situation and certainly, there are not as many opportunities to choose from to begin with, so it has not been the greatest experience to say the least. Honestly, without my husband’s business and his clients in Manhattan, we would never have been able to survive here on the salaries offered. To be frank, I am making the same amount of money now as I did 15 years ago – how sad is THAT? What’s worse is in order to actually be employed I’ve been forced to take steps backward in my career instead of forward which is really frustrating also.
    The biggest issue for my family was the loss of health benefits. Sure, it’s great if you have the option of being added to your spouse’s plan; however, with my husband having his own company, I always carried the insurance for my family. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you how expensive medical coverage is… so we are still without any because COBRA is outrageous and completely unaffordable. I know for some people if you are not making “too much money”, you can obtain a Florida KidCare (http://www.floridakidcare.org/) policy for your children and Blue Cross Blue Shield (http://www.bcbsfl.com/) offers a decent plan for the Moms and Dads. Still a struggle when you’re out of work and not bringing in much money though.
    Anyway, because knowing the right people is so very important, one of the first things I did was create a profile within the LinkedIn network (http://www.linkedin.com/home). What I like about this site over sites like Facebook and MySpace is it is extremely professional and basically serves as a virtual resume for employers and recruiters to see. You can request current and/or previous co-workers or colleagues to write recommendations for you based on previous work experience and performance. There is also a job search function on the site which is helpful since it shows if any of your contacts are “connected” with anyone from the companies looking to hire.
    Another thing to do in order to get back into the “rat race” is to reach out to temp agencies like Spherion (http://www.spherion.com/) or Tews Company (http://www.tewscompany.com/). A great deal of available positions are temp-to-hire since companies now have the ability to be more selective about who they hire. At least it’s a foot in the door, which is what I’m doing right now. Something is something and I continue to remind myself, at least I have a job compared so many that are still looking. Things can ALWAYS be worse!!!

    Thanks Unemployed Mom, for all you are doing to help others out there!!!

  2. […] son was 21 weeks old when I was laid-off. He went back to daycare only on two occasions when I had interviews (and literally, only for a […]

  3. No name

    Jul 6th, 2009

    It’s good that you have a supportive husband / family. I have single mom friends who have been laid off and don’t have the option of being a SAHM. You are still blessed.

  4. […] in Central Florida and again, they are way too close for comfort. As mentioned in my previous post, Coping Emotionally and Financially After Being Laid Off, the entire ordeal is draining! Even if you’re not the one cut, watching coworkers and […]

  5. […] you or a loved one has lost their job, here is a post I wrote about coping emotionally and financially after being laid off. Share and […]

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