How To Handle Being Fired

October 26, 2011  |  
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In this uncertain economy, being “let go” can be devastating. Losing your job can take a toll on you both financially and emotionally, however, it doesn’t have to be the end of the world. With the right tools, you can overcome this setback and maybe even come out stronger. Here are some suggestions on how to cope with a job loss.

Surround Yourself with Support

Losing your job can be very emotionally taxing. Not only are you losing a source of income, you may perceive that you are losing part of your identity. Who we are is often tied up in how successful we are. That is why it’s essential to surround yourself with supportive friends and family who can be there for you. Don’t try to go it alone. If you’re religious or spiritual, look to a higher power. Seek out your support system.

Evaluate Your Financial Situation

Hopefully, you have built up an emergency fund to keep you afloat for a few months. Even if you haven’t, take a hard look at your current financial situation. How much do you have saved? Are your assets liquid? Did your job offer a severance package? Be sure your job is still offering you medical benefits, even if just for a few more months, through COBRA. If like many Americans, you lived paycheck to paycheck, don’t panic. There are things you can do to cut your expenses and stretch the money that you do have further. Luxuries such as cable, weekly hair appointments,  and going out to eat organic cuisine will have to be the first things to go. Make a list of the nonessential expenses that you incur and get rid of them until you can get back on your feet.

Apply For Assistance

If you qualify, apply for unemployment as soon as possible. You can even do it online. If you have student loans that you now can’t afford, apply for unemployment deferment or forbearance. Got credit debt? Some credit cards even have insurance that pays your minimum payment for a certain amount of months if you lose your job. If you have this insurance, fill out the forms to make use of this benefit. Hopefully, you won’t be out of work for long, but in these uncertain times you never know. Get the help now and don’t wait until you’re desperate due to pride. Processing these forms may take weeks.

Honestly Analyze Your Job Performance

Were you fired because of lackluster performance at your job or simply due to layoffs? Be honest with yourself. Perhaps your boss WAS an evil witch that was out to get you. However, you may have to be real with yourself if you were not pulling your weight. If you were a bad employee, resolve to put a plan in action to address your weaknesses or your next job will be doomed as well.

Make a Job Search Plan

Looking for a job can be a full-time job and you should have a strategy. Make a list of the companies you would like to work for and check their web sites daily for appropriate positions. Research job fairs and visit your alma mater’s career center for assistance with your job hunt. But also, don’t be too picky and prideful. If you know you have a great deal of responsibilities (uh, like a family), be sure to try and use your skills towards similar job positions, even if they aren’t your dream job at the moment.

Upgrade Your Resume

Your resume is your calling card. Thus, when looking for work, it’s important to make sure your resume is properly formatted, clear and up-to-date. You may even consider hiring a resume writing service to make sure it’s top notch. If you can keep things down to one page, that’s cool, but experts say that rule no longer HAS to apply.

Contacts, Contacts, Contacts

Put the word out to your friends and business contacts that you are looking for a job. Go ahead and grab up all of those business cards you acquired through networking and let’s hope you’ve been in touch with these folks at least once before you reach out to them. If so, ask them to keep an eye out for appropriate positions for you, because most people get work this way. Don’t be shy; the worst someone can say is, “no.” Start a profile on LinkedIn to organize your business contacts and search for jobs.

Use Your Free Time Wisely

Use your involuntary free time to do something positive to enrich your life and build marketable skills. To make yourself more attractive to employers, you can take an inexpensive class at the community college to train yourself in some new software. You can start a blog or use the time to volunteer. Not only will volunteering for a worthy cause help others, it’ll get you out of the house and help you realize that there are those less fortunate that you.

Have you ever been fired? If so, how did you handle it?

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