Loss of a Job

A job, as the source of income, holds a very important place in most people's lives. It represents your family's comfort and security, and provides you with a sense of self-esteem. The loss of that job, and the income it provides, can throw lives into chaos.

First Steps

Negotiate the best severance package you can from your former employer. If it was a layoff or amicable departure, get letters of reference from those you worked with, especially supervisors. Also, get documentation of projects you worked on that will highlight your skills to a potential employer.

Deal with the emotions. You may feel angry or bitter. Let those emotions flow but don't dwell on them. Harboring those kinds of emotions can take valuable energy from finding a new job.

Go to the unemployment office right away. Receive your entitled benefits until you get back on your feet. There used to be a stigma attached to being unemployed and, as a result, receiving an unemployment check. But as the economy shifts, more and more people are finding themselves out of work for a period of time and unemployment is becoming an expected stage of life.

Find compatriots. One of the hardest parts of losing a job is losing the day-to-day interaction with coworkers. If your former employer let several of you go at once, try to meet up with those people for lunch once in a while. They can understand some of what you're going through. And it will take away some of the loneliness that can accompany unemployment.

Temp Work

If finding a permanent job in your field looks like it might take a while, consider applying to a temp agency. Employers ask them for workers. They provide your services for an hourly rate. Then they pay you - obviously not as much as they received for your services. The employer benefits from reduced recruitment and screening costs and the temp agency benefits from charging high prices for your services.

So what are the benefits for you?

  • Quick Money Often you can collect a paycheck after only one week of work. If you're in need of some fairly quick cash, temping isn't a bad way to go.
  • Flexibility You can work this week and not the next. Or if you need to work nights to leave your days free for interviews, a temp agency can accommodate your schedule.
  • Interaction Having a job, even temporarily, will get you out of the house and interacting with real people. It relieves the "cabin fever" that results from staying in the house every day with no place to go.
  • Experience Temp work allows you to work in a variety of jobs, though often not in very skilled roles. But having the exposure to a variety of industries can be a positive asset for future employment.
  • Permanent Employment Often if you are performing well at a temporary job, they may offer you "permanent" employment. (Although no employment is permanent it seems.)
  • Actual Benefits Some temp agencies, if you work for them long enough, do offer benefits such as health insurance, paid holidays and vacation time.

OK, you know there have to be some disadvantages. Here they are:

  • Undesirable Jobs Some companies hire temp workers to do jobs that their full-time employees don't want to do. But most times they hire temp workers to perform jobs that won't last long.
  • Sporadic and Undependable Schedule One week you're working, another you're not. It's hard to get solid financial footing when you never know if and how much you will be paid.
  • Looking For A New Job One of the best ways to deal with unemployment is to find a new job! But easier said than done. There are four main sources of job leads:

Classified Listings

Start getting the Sunday paper every week, or look at the classifieds on the newspaper's Internet site. Look through all the classified listings, not just where you think your type of job would be listed. You can get some great ideas on different positions that may utilize your skill set. Also, look through trade magazines that relate to your industry. Some employers will advertise in industry publications to reach a more targeted audience.

Headhunters

Pay someone to find you a job! Since they don't actually get paid until they find you a job, they have a large incentive to search.

The Internet

There are many Web sites with large job boards on which employers advertise open positions. Also, check the Web sites of companies in your field. They often have a page devoted to openings in the company.

Networking

It's not what you know; it's whom you know. Attend industry events. Put the word out on the street. Get your name in front of as many people as you can. You never know who has a friend who's looking to hire someone just like you.