A reader writes,
I have just recently been let go from my job. I did not see this coming, and I am starting to get really worried about what is going to happen next. What can I do to keep myself sane and organized in such a difficult time?
Dear Fish out of Water,
I am very sorry to hear about your recent layoff. Losing your source of income, professional connections, and many other benefits can be a very hard and difficult pill to swallow. But have no fear, there IS a light at the end of the tunnel.
First off, as hard as it may be, try your best not to panic. It may seem like it, but no, the world is not coming to an end and the sky is not falling. Collect your thoughts and do not display anger or do anything unprofessional upon receiving the news. You never know, the company may want you to come back in a few short months. But if you make a scene and make a terrible decision to bad-mouth your boss or vandalize company property, you will never get that chance.
After you have gotten yourself together, ask your supervisor for details about why it didn’t work out. It may be painful to hear what went wrong, but if you take it as constructive criticism, it will help you tremendously in your next venture.
Finally, ask what type of severance package you will receive and whether the company is enlisting the help of a placement service or employment agency to help you find a new position elsewhere. If not, take control yourself and find the nearest placement agency and fill out the application the minute you walk out of that office. My friends at Select Staffing (www.selectstaffing.com) have a simple online application and have helped many people find work in tough situations.
Now that you are officially unemployed, you will want to make sure you have several things in order. First off, health benefits. Many insurance companies will offer major medical insurance for a minimal monthly fee that can save you thousands if an emergency surgery were to be necessary. COBRA will be offered from your employer but often is outrageously expensive. Review and consolidate your bills. Any extra luxury items, such as premium cable and your weekly Chinese takeout, may need to be removed from the budget for awhile.
Finally, get out of your house. Sitting at home sulking about how you are no longer employed will not get you anywhere. Try to exercise daily, join volunteer groups, make it a point to explore at least one professional networking event each week. The more you meet and mingle, the more likely you are to meet someone needing just your talents.
Keep your chin up and you will be okay!
Readers, I’m sure “Fish” would love to hear your words of encouragement as well. If you’ve been through a similar situation, please tell us how you rebounded!