No matter how skilled or how advanced you are in your career, no one is immune from being laid off. If your company downsizes and you are left without a job, you need to take proactive measures to get back into the workforce.
With these seven fundamental rules for surviving your job loss, you can implement a strategy for handling your finances, managing your time, and executing your search. With this and other resources from The Five O’Clock Club, you can turn a potential disaster into nothing more than a bump in the road.
Negotiate the best possible severance package
Decide what you want out of a severance package by researching what will truly benefit you in the long term. Don’t just think about cash. Health insurance, for example, costs the company less than it would cost you. You can also ask for one year of career coaching and the right to select the coaching service.
Don’t take it personally
A lot of good people get downsized. Perhaps the most important thing to remember is that layoffs are usually the result of an organization’s budget cuts or lack of business, not a direct result of poor performance. Stay confident and remember you can still be a valuable employee to someone else.
Live as though finding a new job is your job
It can be daunting to have hours of unscheduled time on your hands. Use that time to join trade organizations, schedule interviews, and network as much as possible. This is your new job, so you should spend at least 40 hours per week on your search.
Manage your money responsibly
With or without severance, you need to create a post-job budget as soon as possible. Take a look at how much money you have and what bills are coming due. Make sure you can pay your critical bills — mortgage, car payment, insurance — and cut out what you can.
Expand your search
Just because you worked for a large corporation in a large city doesn’t mean that’s the only type of job you’re qualified to do. Your personal talents can lend themselves to a number of jobs in different sectors and organizations; you just have to be open to them.
If the bills keep rolling in, it can be easy to panic and take the first job that’s offered. It’s important to take your time, however, so keep your cool and make the right decision. If money is low, get an interim job for some financial relief. Taking the wrong job could result in a string of job-hops that will cost you valuable time and effort.
Start your own business
While it may not be feasible to start your own small business from the ground up — complete with angel investors and expensive staff members — it may be just the time for you to put your talents to work as a consultant. Use your business savvy to start consulting while you are searching for a new job.