Job loss is every adult’s nightmare (that is, unless your job is a nightmare, itself). Whether you’ve been laid off or fired, losing your job will undoubtedly put a strain on your mental and emotional well-being. But before you start thinking that you’ll never recover and your entire life is going to fall apart, remember that this isn’t the end of the world. Sure, your loss of a job might have come out of the blue and will set you back a little bit, but you’ll survive. Just be aware of the following things:
1. Don't Burn Bridges
When your boss comes to you and gives you your walking papers, it can definitely be tempting to tell him what you really think of him and where he can stick it. But is that really going to do you any good? In both scenarios, the answer is clearly “no.”
If you’ve been laid off, chances are it wasn’t your direct supervisor’s decision—rather, he was given the directive from his higher-ups to do the dirty work. Although it will definitely be hurt to know that you were seen as a completely dispensable asset to the company you’ve worked so hard for, you shouldn’t take it so personally that you end up insulting your former employer. Like I said, he might not have even wanted to let you go, and would have been more than happy to put in a good word for you elsewhere. But he won’t be so willing to help you out if you insult him on your way out the door.
If you’ve been fired, there’s most likely a good reason for it. But before you let loose on him with all the things you wish you had said sooner, think about the consequences. If you’re being fired on bad terms, the last thing you want to do is give your former employer more ammunition that could end up hurting you in the future. Remember, future prospective employers will probably make a call to anyone you’ve worked for in the past, and you don’t want word to get back that you’re a loose cannon. Even though you’re obviously not going to be happy when given a pink slip, swallow your pride, take it on the chin, and move on.
2. Take Stock in What You Have
After losing your job, you may feel like you’ve lost everything. But that’s not necessarily the case. It’s cliché, but in the toughest of times it helps to think of what you do have, monetarily and otherwise.
Even if you’ve been working paycheck to paycheck, you hopefully have built up at least a small amount of savings that will give you a little bit of wiggle room. At the very least, you probably have the ability to take out loans or live off of credit cards for a month or two until you get back on your feet. Obviously, taking out even more loans than you probably already have, isn’t the best case scenario, but it’s better than actually losing everything, right?
Aside from money, think of everything else you have in your life. Your family and friends will certainly stay by your side no matter what. They may even be able to help you out in a variety of ways. There’s no shame in relying on others to help you get through a tough time. You’d do the same for them, so don’t feel as if you’re taking advantage of the ones who care about you.
3. Don't Pay Off Loans
I know, I know—you don’t want to keep building up the mountain of debt you’ve already built up over your lifetime. But the whole reason you took out loans in the first place is because you needed time to pay back a large amount of cash that you didn’t have at the time. And, since you won’t have much income until you find a new place of employment, you need to save every actual dollar that you come across. While you should make a solid attempt to pay off your minimum balance and not go fully into default, there’s no sense in putting more of your cash out to pay off a relatively small percentage of your loans. Think about it: if you spend your actual money paying off your credit card debt, you’re just going to end up using your credit card again when you need to make a purchase. Just let it go for now until you can afford to start putting serious dents in your debt once again.
4. Don't Dip Into Your Retirement
Whatever you do, don’t even think about taking money out of your retirement fund. Your 401k should be completely off limits for the time being. It might not seem like much to take a few thousand out of it, but the long-term effects of doing so make it not worth it whatsoever. First of all, any money you take from your retirement fund before you actually retire is going to be heavily taxed, and you’ll end up losing hard-earned money right away. Second of all, you won’t be losing only the money you take out; you’ll be losing potential dividends in the long run. Taking out a few thousand dollars today could mean saying goodbye to tens of thousands of dollars later in life—when you’ll truly need it.
5. Avoid Temptations
You’ve probably grown accustomed to a certain lifestyle during your time of gainful employment. When you’re on austerity budget, however, you’re obviously going to need to cut back on some of your more extravagant expenses. Heck, you’re also going to need to cut down on your not-so-extravagant expenses, as well. This means you’re going to have to be conscious of every dollar you spend, and break a few habits you’ve gotten used to. It might mean buying store brand snacks instead of Nabisco, or skipping the dessert aisle altogether. You probably won’t be able to eat out as much anymore, and your weekly trips to the mall should be put on hold. But think of it this way: when you get back on your feet again, you’ll realize how easy it was to do without the “luxuries” you had been so used to; you might even end up saving more money in the future!
6. Explore Other Options
It might sound crazy, but maybe losing your job can be the best thing that ever happens to you. Maybe you were stuck in a dead-end gig that you only took to pay the bills. Maybe you were happy in your job years earlier, but have since grown tired of the daily grind. Maybe you’ve simply evolved as a person and want to move on to other areas. As Tyler Durden says in Fight Club, “It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything.” Take this time to discover what you really want out of life, and go out and get it. Don’t just take the first job you’re offered, if it means you’ll end up as disenchanted as you were in your last occupation. Make the necessary changes in your life to ensure that you find gainful, and enjoyable, employment.
See Also: How to Quit Your Job With Style
Going through the stages of unemployment certainly isn’t easy; but it doesn’t have to ruin your life. Think of it as yet another challenge you need to overcome that will end up making you stronger and more experienced in the long run.
Have you ever been unexpectedly fired? How did you deal with it? Let us know your tips in the comments section below.