Yep – been there & done that many times over the years. If this is where you are today, I want you to remember this season of your life is only temporary.
Say it with me: This Season of My Life is Only Temporary
If you were just recently laid off, then I give you permission to take a couple of days to orient yourself and realize what being unemployed means to you. You’ll probably cry, have many freak out moments, walk around anxiety ridden and hardly be able to eat. Don’t worry, these feelings are normal.
But after those couple of days, I need you to get out of the feeling sorry for yourself mode and get in fight mode. You are fighting for yourself (& your family if you have one) and your future. Feeling sorry for ourselves can suck the life right out of us and delay getting out of this season of your life even longer. I’m guessing you don’t want to be in this season of your life any longer than you have to so do yourself a favor and take my advice.
It may seem like I’m being harsh here, but as I mentioned, I speak from experience. Laying down and wanting to die was a thought that crossed my mind more often that I care to remember. I had those nasty voices in the back of my head creeping up and saying that I wasn’t good enough to be able to get a job, that something was wrong with me that I kept getting laid off and various other ugly thoughts that happened to come up at the worst time. The truth is, we can be our own worst enemy and the fear of the unknown is often worse than our reality.
Ok, let’s get those negative thoughts out of our head. I don’t care who has said bad things to you in your life or told you you couldn’t do this or you couldn’t do that. You can do whatever you believe you can do so don’t let anyone stop you. It may help you to journal during this time because all those crazy jumbled thoughts are probably getting in your way of moving forward. Writing them down can help. If you are new to journaling, here are some resources for you:
To be honest, I’m not good at writing a journal. My mind moves to quickly and I’m on to the next thought before I can write the last thought down so I just give up, frustrated. So I tried something new. I recently added a folder to my google docs called “Journal” and I have a document for each month that I journal in. That makes it so much easier for me becuase I can type faster than I write, use it if I’m on the road or just have a few minutes where I want to record something.
Journaling can help ground you and get focused which is what you will need for the next step to start looking for another job (if that is your wish). For some people, being laid off is a blessing because it got you out of a situation that you didn’t like in the first place and allows you to take a new path. I’ve known and read about many people who were laid off and started businesses of their own and went on to be successful. This is obviously not for everyone as most people need to find employment immediately to pay the bills. However, having your own business or a side business can also act as your “plan b” if you are laid off in the future. I know you are not thinking about a “plan b” right now because you are probably frantic but my point in brining this up is that looking for a job can be frustrating and overwhelming. So don’t be afraid to persue something that you can fall back on later. I’m not going to go into great detail about it now, but just keep it in the back of your mind for the future.
Finding employment can be difficult, depending on the industry you are in. If you are searching for a job, you must be disciplined enough to treat it like a job. Most people are not lucky enough for a job to just fall in their lap so you will need to be searching daily. Here are some resources for you to consider:
- Friends and family – let friends and family know you are unemployed and looking for a new position. Don’t be ashamed to have to ask people for help, many people find jobs through word of mouth
- Previous collegues – Reach out to people you have worked with and let them know you are looking for employment. You never know who might know of an open position.
- Your local unemployment office – Many counties in the U.S. have a local division of unemployment where you can seek assistance. Depending on your work experience, you may benefit from the many free classes and trainings available. The one in my area offered a free resume prep service.
- Social Media – While you don’t want to bombard your Facebook friends and Twitter followers, putting the word out you are looking for employment is a creative way to find employment.
- Job Boards – Sites like Monster, Careerbuilder, & Indeed are great places to look for jobs but have you also considred the job board on Craigslist? I’ve found two of my past positions by looking on Craigslist.
- Employment support groups – My church offers a bi-weekly support group for job seekers. They get an idea of the types of jobs people in the group are looking for and bring leads to the group. Other members of the group also share jobs they are aware of. Do you have a group in your area you can connect with?
- Career Fairs – Many businesses and groups hold career fairs throughout the year. Is there one in your area?
Getting creative can be key to finding employment so don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Here are some more unexpected ways to find employment.
You may be wondering why, on a personal finance website that I’m just now talking about your finances but the reality of it is, there are things you need to be thinking about and do first before we even get to that. Obviously if you are laid off or unemployed, finances are going to be tight. There are somethings you will need to consider:
- Are you collecting unemployment? – While it may not be much, depending on where you live, it’s better than nothing. Collecting unemployment can reduce the amount of your own money you have to use to get by.
- Cutting back – During this season of your life, you are going to have to cut back to pretty much buying only what is necessary. Since it’s unlikely you can predict how long this will last, cutting out wasteful things is going to help you get through this time. I can’t tell you exactly what you need to cut out during this time, your going to have to decide that. But I can give you some ideas. Things like eating out, cable t.v. and massages are not necessary for you to live. (If you want to watch a video about an alternative to cable, click here and be sure to click the link below the video for more info) Paying your rent or mortgage, utilities and food you can cook from home are necessary. It’s going to be really tempting to want to go out and do other things since you have so much time on your hands but you need to be smart about your spending so you don’t end up hurting yourself in the long run. Here are some other ideas on cutting back.
- Bring in extra money – Babysitting, cleaning houses, mowing yards are all ways to bring in extra short term cash during this time. Check the “misc” jobs board on Craigslist and see what odd jobs are available. Here’s a list of 9 ways I’ve made extra money quickly and my e-book on generating cash quickly.
- Your emergency Funds (Savings) – If you don’t have an emergency fund built up, don’t worry I’m not going to lecture you now. We will address that in another phase. But if you do have this, you are probably thanking your lucky stars as you will need it.
- Temp work – While the pay for temp work usually sucks, it’s a great way to bring in some money and try different jobs. It’s especially good if you don’t know what you want to do because it lets you “try out” a job without being committed. Contact local temp agencies in your area to see what is available.
- Last resort – Borrow from Family Members (if possible) – This is obviously going to depend on your situation, your family etc but you may need to consider a loan from a family member to get through this time. If you do this, make sure everyone understands the the loan terms, repayment etc. And if you do borrow the money, don’t go spending it foolishly because you will likely piss off the person that loaned it to you and have trouble mending that relationship (especially if you don’t pay it back).
There are a few other things to remember if you are laid off or unemployed. If you were spending money on gas commuting to and from work, buying lunches out, shopping for work clothes etc, its unlikely you will continue to have these costs since you aren’t working. So you are going to cut back in some areas with out really realizing it. As I mentioned earlier, be smart about your spending so you don’t hurt yourself in the long run.
You’re Gonna Need a Sending Plan (aka Budget)
Yes indeed you will. Please don’t tell me that you don’t or won’t make enough money for a spending plan when you are unemployed because I am going to tell you you are wrong.
A spending plan isn’t just for rich people. It’s for anyone who deals with money. We have to know what is coming in and what is going out. A spending plan is the only way to track that and help us make decisions.
Think about it.
Having a spending plan during this time is even more critcial because you only have so much money to work with. You need to know what all your expenses are compared to what is coming in becuase chances are you are going to need to cut back. The plan helps you see the whole picture more clearly and can help you make better decisions around it.
If you’ve never made a budget before, here are some resources:
My Newsletter – When you sign up for my newsletter, you will get my Single Girls 7 Day Budget Guide for free. It will come the first 7 days and then after that I send you some reminders along with the newsletter. Sign up for this because there is a lot of valuable information!
Budgets for Dummies (An article I wrote on budgeting which also includes a video)
Video – 2 Reasons Why You Need a Budget Even If Your Laid Off
Video – 3 Critical Parts to a Household Budget
Online Budget Worksheet
Budgetable – Another online budgeting tool I recommend
1. Get 10 sticky notes and write “This Season of My Life is Only Temporary” on each of them. Stick these notes around your house, in your wallet, in your car etc in places you will see them every day. This is meant to give you extra encouragement on those crappy days when everything sucks and you see no end in sight.
2. Sign up for my newsletter and read it when you get it!
3. Decide how you plan to journal (online or in a notebook). Commit to doing this most days of the week. Include 3 things you are thankful for each day in your journal.
4. Commit to taking steps to look for employment. Set appointments with yourself daily where you are searching for a job consistently every day. Network with the people you can to find employment. If you want to find temporary jobs in your region, please visit job search sites like Indeed, JobTonic and others.
5. Set up a budget and understand your realistic financial situation for today. Update as needed but commit to smart spending and protect yourself as best you can from overspending.
6. Continue to get up at the same time on a daily basis, take a shower, do your hair and put on makeup. I know all to well how easy it is to get in the habit of going to bed at 4 am and sleeping all day. You don’t want this. Be alert and available during the day for prospective employers.
If you have gotten this far and you are reading this, I want you to do something. I want you to send me an email by contacting me here and outline what the next 7 days look like for you so you can stay on track. Call me a mini accountability partner for you the next 7 days.
You can do this.
Chin up, one step in front of the other each and every day.
That is how we get out of this season of our life.
When you are no longer in this season of your life, come back and read Getting Back on Your Feet (coming soon).