Life would be great if it went the way we planned. However, we all know that life has a funny way of throwing events and circumstances at us that we did not plan for. One recent example for many people is widespread unemployment.
A sudden, unexpected loss of income can be especially difficult, as we typically plan our lives and budgets around a set schedule and income level. If you are one of the many people who have recently found themselves dealing with unexpected job loss there are a few steps you can take to help navigate this tough time.
Reassess Your Budget After an Unexpected Job Loss
If you are like most people you have likely planned your life around the income that you bring in each month. You budget for everything based on how much you make. Your mortgage or rent, utilities, car payment and insurance, activities, memberships, vacations, and everything else seem to revolve around that budget.
You learned to live comfortably within your budget, but then suddenly you lost your job and that budget became almost pointless. Even with unemployment benefits, the amount of money you will have to spend each month will be significantly less than what you and your family were previously accustomed to.
You will need to change the way you spend and allocate money, and that can be a daunting task. You will need to make tough choices about the things you will cut back on or give up entirely. You will need to figure out what takes priority in your life.
Would it be more prudent to pay the water bill or the gym membership? Netflix or Hulu? Take time to prioritize the things in your life that you have spent money on in the past and create a new budget that will fit your new level of income.
Take Advantage of Your Newfound Free Time
One of the good things about unemployment is that it leaves you with more free time than what you likely had before you lost your job. Granted, most people who have suddenly found themselves unemployed are usually spending much of that time filling out job applications.
However, given the current events of the world today, many people are now home with their children. And there really are not enough jobs to even spend much time looking for one.
If you have found yourself with not much to do, one way you can spend your free time is to work on a hobby that you didn’t have time for when you were working. Or you can spend that time working on the chores or projects you pushed aside because of your exhaustion from work. Find ways to fill your free time to get through this tough situation.
Finding Work After an Unexpected Job Loss
Finding yourself suddenly unemployed can be devastating at first. Not only are you facing a sudden loss of income, but you may also be losing a job you enjoyed. Much of your identity and self-worth may have been tied to your career.
After the shock of the loss begins to settle, you brush off your resume, write a general cover letter that can be modified for each job opportunity you wish to pursue, and get the motivation and optimism to find a new job. At first you will likely apply for jobs that are very similar to the one you just had. And, after exhausting those opportunities you will likely expand your reach to jobs that may not be similar to your previous job but require some of the same skills.
However, if your job search lasts for a while, you may start to feel defeated. You apply for what seems to be countless jobs, get a few interviews, feel good about some of those, and then the phone calls (or more likely letters) come to let you know that you did not get the job. After a few cycles of this it can be easy to become frustrated. That is quite normal, and actually to be expected.
Don’t give up or lose hope, though. No matter how difficult your situation may seem, know that it will eventually get better, and do what is in your control to help that happen. Continue to get up at the same time each morning, follow your normal routine for getting ready for work, and start your day of job search and networking at the same time as you would have started your workday at your previous job. Sticking to your previous, professional routine will encourage you to remain in a professional frame of mind and allow you to be optimistic about your job search.
And in addition to scanning the job boards, writing cover letters, and attending phone or in-person interviews, you may also want to consider pursuing self-employment. What skills do you have that you can directly market to others? Do you have a hobby or creative passion that you can turn into a business opportunity? Think outside the box, and take advantage of the network and relationships that you developed in your previous job to forge a new path for yourself.
When Unexpected Job Loss Seems Especially Tough
If you are having a difficult time dealing with your unexpected job loss and are frustrated with having no luck in finding a new job, perhaps speaking to a therapist will help. Having a neutral third party to help you navigate a sudden and tough situation can allow you to put things in perspective and develop a plan for getting through it.
And don’t let the sudden loss of income keep you from reaching out. We accept a wide variety of insurance plans; and if you don’t see yours listed, give us a call to learn about your options. The therapists and staff at Keri Powell Therapy are still here to help during this unprecedented time.