Coping Emotionally and Financially After Being Laid Off

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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