Tips on What to do When You're Unexpectedly Unemployed
There Is Hope After You Lose Your Job
Smoothly Transition if you get Terminated or laid off, Be Prepared at all times with an up-to-date LinkedIn Profile and an excellent Resume, and know what to do if the worst Happens
Did you know in most cases your employer can fire you at any time, without cause? Are you prepared if you get fired, terminated or need to quit? Would you feel helpless and would your life be a state of emergency if your job suddenly ended? Would your health, family and well-being be at risk?
I completely understand. Losing your job can come out of the blue and it's never easy.
Wouldn’t it be better to be prepared for any eventuality by understanding your alternatives, knowing what you must do immediately if you get fired and what can wait? Don’t you think it would make you more powerful if you could kiss your job goodbye whenever you wanted without concern?
The Fear of Termination
I understand what it’s like to live in constant fear of being fired or laid off. it's an unfortunate fact of life that many bosses use the threat of termination to remain in control. Unfortunately, using fear in this manner is prevalent in our society. It causes employees to be afraid and doubt themselves, and gives businesses reason to deny them them good raises and promotions as well as to maintain control.
For years, I was afraid of losing my job. My employers often belittled my achievements, wrote snarling comments in reviews, or denied well-deserved raises and promotions. I held on in spite of the constant stress and pressure, the screaming and yelling, and the demands for unpaid work and overtime.
As with many employees, this put extreme stress on my family life (which was often non-existent) and caused health problems related to Stressand Tension. As the yearly review came due, the question on everyone's mind was whether or not they'd still be employed in the next month.
On those occasions when the hammer fell, it was devastating. Sure, my boss always said the employee should never be surprised by a firing decision, but every single time I had to let someone go, it came as horrible shock to them, completely unexpected and they always felt it was undeserved.
Understand Your Alternatives
I learned how to prepare by understanding my alternatives, knowing the legalities, and ensuring I had enough money and resources to survive without a job for enough time to find a new one.
- Understand what you must do on the day you quit or get fired.
- Learn that you must change your life to be ready for any eventuality.
- Stop being afraid of your employer and turn the tables on them.
- Find out where you can get the help you need.
- Handle the most important insurances.
- Work your network like crazy!
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Important note: I am not a lawyer or an accountant. I have presented in this book a few bits of advice and recommendations, but I am no way responsible for any good or bad effects should you decide to go these routes. As always, you are responsible for making your decisions and should consult your advisers.
Most of us are proud of our work and job. We need to have a job to feed our families, pay the rent, keep the car repaired, and buy a few luxuries now and then. We become connected to people at work and often feel like the place is our second home. This shouldn’t be surprising, as many of us spend a third or more of our lives in the office.
Thus, the sudden loss of employment can be gut wrenching, depressing, and, depending on an individual’s financial situation, a dire emergency situation. For those who live from paycheck to paycheck, the sudden loss of employment might mean losing their home or not eating.
The process of terminating an employee is often not handled very well by managers. Frequently, there is little to no training in the process; human resources departments tend to have the mindset of “covering the company’s butt” and focus on documentation and procedure rather than human beings.
Some companies are so unforgivably unprofessional that they send emails to employees for mass firings. They do this because it’s simple, it’s documented, and it avoids the unpleasant face-to-face conversation with the employee. It also removes the effect of people from the equation; firing should never be simple, quick and painless. There is a person involved, the one being terminated, and managers must understand that what they do affects the life, future, and family of that person.
Few managers look forward to terminating an employee. Some will go out of their way to get undesired members of their staff to leave on their own rather than confront the termination decision.
Regardless of the circumstances that result in your leaving a company, either voluntarily or involuntarily, you can find yourself in a vulnerable and exposed position.
It’s important you handle your termination interview correctly and leave on the best terms possible under the situation. This can be difficult because quite often this occurs out of the blue and can be a huge shock. One minute you’re employed, and the next you’re packing up your things into a cardboard box.
You have many things to consider:
- Do you have a medical situation that would allow you to go on disability? This might enable you to convert a termination into a disability leave.
- Are there any people you worked with at the company that you can use as references?
- Do you continue your health insurance under COBRA, or do you attempt to find your own?
- Is your resume up-to-date?
- Is your LinkedIn profile ready for prime time?
- Have you been networking, or are you starting from scratch?
- Do you have money available to you, either in savings, credit cards, or, if all else fails, in your retirement fund?
- Is your situation dire in that you’ve been living from paycheck to paycheck?
- Does your termination deserve a lawsuit, and do you want to go that route?
- Should you cut back on your spending, and if so what adjustments do need to make to your lifestyle?
If you’re leaving on your free will and you have time to plan, you can consider these questions in advance. On the other hand, if your leaving is sudden, because of the termination or other circumstances, you may be forced to plan after the fact.
It’s a good idea to go over your exit plan periodically while you are gainfully employed. By doing so, you can ensure that you have at least some rudimentary plans in place if and when that fateful day comes.
The purpose of this book is to help you, an employee who has recently been terminated or feels it is coming, get the answers that you need to make your transition from one job to another as smooth as possible.
This book simply contains advice and is not to be considered a legal guide of any kind. You should consult your advisers, legal and otherwise, before taking any action.