Survive a Layoff

With the unemployment rate at almost 10% and the country in the longest recession since the Great Depression, more and more of us are finding ourselves looking that pink slip dead in the eye. Still others are afraid that they are next. Here are a few tips for surviving a layoff.

  1. Negotiate the best possible severance plan. Don’t be afraid to ask for everything you can. Ask for more money, help with health insurance, use of the company car, anything you can think of, ask. The worst that will happen is that they’ll say no but you won’t know that unless you ask.
  2. Use the money you receive in your severance package before dipping into your emergency funds. Save the emergency fund for when the situation becomes an actual emergency.
  3. File for unemployment insurance immediately. It might not cover all your expenses but it will definitely help.
  4. Update your resume and aggressively look for employment. Submit your resume to job search boards such as Monster.com and CareerBuilder.com. Network with friends, relatives and acquaintances and ask for any leads. Brush up your interview skills.
  5. Cut back on everything you can. Go over your budget with a fine tooth comb and weed out everything that is not feeding you or keeping a roof over your head and give it the boot. Drop your cable plan down to basic and catch up on your favorite shows with free sites such as hulu.com or youtube.com. Get rid of your land line and make due with your cell phone. If you save a little here, a little there, it will add up. Your job search is your full time job until you are gainfully employed, treat it as such. Eat a lot of pasta (it’s cheap). The little things all pile up to a substantial amount.
  6. Prioritize your bills. Start with the ones that absolutely must get paid (mortgage/rent, utilities) and work your way down from there. Contact creditors and try to negotiate a payment plan. They may be able to temporarily reduce your minimum payments until you’re back on your feet. Contact them before you have missed the payment rather than after the due date. If you can, pay minimums on all debt, nothing more.
  7. Keep your head up! The current job market is not the easiest to navigate, but it’s important to remain positive. Remember that you have been successful in the past and you will be successful again, this is just a bump in the road. Do not allow yourself to lay around the house feeling sorry for yourself!

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