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8 Things to Do After a Lay-off

by Alisha Tillery

You’ve been working on a job you either love, hate, or feel indifferently about when you find out you’re being laid off. What happens then?

Jobseekers are unemployed for an average of nine months, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. Finding a job can be a long, difficult process, but there are few things you can do to make the transition as easy as possible.

Let it out
Go ahead, be angry, sad, shocked, happy, relieved, or all at once. It’s likely you’ll experience a range of emotions after a lay-off. Whether privy to a job loss or not, it’s still a loss. Don’t confuse this with a pity party, though. Wallowing in self-pity or harboring negative feelings for your former employer can be paralyzing, but taking stock in the range of emotions you might feel is healthy. Take some time to sort through your emotions, and then move on.

Don’t panic
This one is easier said than done. Stressing over the loss of income, healthcare, and other fringe benefits can send you into a downward spiral. Panic causes the inability to make sound decisions. “When you worry, that’s faith in failure,” Kachelle Kelly, a life and business coach based in Houston, says. “Sometimes it’s a blessing in disguise. It offers you a reset button in your life where you can begin again.”

Develop a financial plan
The biggest worry after a lay-off is money. Take inventory of all additional sources of income, including emergency funds, savings, IRAs, and retirement. Will you receive unemployment or other benefits? If you don’t have a monthly spending plan in practice, create one. Cut back on unnecessary expenses to make ends meet. Securing a part-time job until a better opportunity comes around may also be an option.

Take a break
If you’re financially able, take time to rest and regroup. Even if it’s only for a week, do the small things you’d been missing out on while you were working. Get a full night of sleep and eat a sufficient breakfast instead of the breakfast bar and smoothie you’d grab because you were on the go. Watch a marathon of your favorite show. Read a book, or if funds are available, take a trip. Do what makes you happy.

Use your contacts
You have a network of family, friends, acquaintances, and professional contacts for a reason. Ask them for job leads and referrals. Don’t forget to use social media sites like LinkedIn and Twitter to network and build your contacts. ABC News reported in April that 80 percent of job seekers secure employment through networking. Applying for jobs via the Internet is the way of the world, but the old rule still applies: It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.

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