Monday, November 23, 2009

6 Tips to Help Ease a Layoff

Basic life necessities seem even more expensive when you are employed. The unemployment rate is 10.2% and will probably increase before it decreases. Some experts say the worst is yet to come. For those umemployed – that is not good news.

I have been unemployed twice and it was not a good feeling. The first time I got about a three week notice that my position was being eliminated and was totally unprepared, I was in debt up to my eyeballs and was renting a room from one of my friend's parent's home. I did not have a car and had no savings. I was completely lost, embarrassed, angry and felt dejected.

I did not tell anyone that I was unemployed and kept pretending to go to work. I would return phone calls in the evening around the same time I would normally return phone calls. Luckily I was single with no children. It got so bad that I did not have even one dollar to buy groceries or catch the bus to go to an interview. I finally broke down and told my godmother that I had no food and that same day she brought my some food. I thank God for her; I probably would have starved to death because of my pride.

My second unemployment we had heard rumors but weren't sure if the rumors were true. We were notified the night before that some of us would be let go. Luckily I learned from the first layoff and paid off all of my debt and the only bill I had was my mortgage. I also had an emergency fund to cover all of my bills for 4 months. I applied for unemployment which was only enough to cover my utilities but every little bit helped. I mention this because if you do not work enough years for an employer and are laid off you will not be eligible for unemployment benefits and laws vary state by state.

Here are 6 tips to ease the pain of a layoff:

1. Plan for the worst. Create "what if" scenarios and develop a plan for each, i.e. if you lose your job how will you pay your bills, if you get sick. etc.

2. Create an emergency fund. Save enough money to cover your bills for 9-12 months. Start small and work your way up if you have little or no savings.

3. Pay down debt. In the event that you are laid off and don't have any savings or have used all of your savings you can use your credit card in case of emergencies. If you credit cards are maxed you don't have this option.

4. Create a support network. Having support during a financial crisis is one of the best ways to get through it. Talk to friends, relatives, other laid off co-workers, your pastor, a counselor, social worker, or other person you trust to get advice and support.

5. Further your education. If you do not have a college degree, one option is to go back to school and obtain your degree. If you already have your degree you may consider going back to get your masters degree. If you experience a financial crisis in the future you can always go to your local college and teach a few courses as an adjunct professor.

6. Contact social agencies. Contact your county, local or state government social agencies to obtain free help for those unemployed,

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