Coping with Job Loss

Job loss is never pleasant. With the economy not looking good, many people are finding themselves in the unemployment line. If you’ve suffered the loss of your job, it may be heartening to discover that there are specific actions you can take to cope with this challenge and get back on your feet.

Keep in mind that, while it’s certainly distressing to lose your job, it has the potential to bring you an exciting new beginning. The right attitude can help you immensely in seeing this hardship through!

Here are some things you can do to minimize the damage and come out on top:

Don’t hide your job loss from your spouse.

Since this affects both of you, be sure to make plans together and agree on implementing changes in your spending habits to lessen the impact until you can find work again.

Evaluate where you stand financially. Determine how much savings you can rely on and what bills are coming due around the corner. Then draw up a short-term financial plan to follow while you figure things out.

Talk about your unemployment with your kids, too. Your children should know that times are a little tougher and that you need to cut back on spending. Reassure them that things will be okay and use age-appropriate information so as not to stress or scare them.

Check in with your employer.

Even though your job has ended, the final details are important to your financial future. Check your final pay slip for:-

  • all the wages or salary you were owed
  • any ‘pay in lieu of notice’ if you’re not working your full notice
  • pay for any holiday you didn’t take before you were fired
  • any bonus, commission or expenses you’re entitled to

Any benefits you may have had like a company car or phone, which were also allowed for personal use, are entitled to be kept until the end of your notice period. If they were for work use only and you don’t work your notice period ( ‘garden leave’), you will have to give them back immediately.

Ask your employer for a reference, which by law must be fair and truthful, so if you were dismissed for poor performance or misconduct it may be best asking for a basic reference which will simply outline your employment dates, salary and title.

Check if your dismissal was unfair

Job loss may also seem unfair, but is it really? Employers are entitled to dismiss people, but if they do it unfairly you can challenge your dismissal.

To ascertain if your dismissal is unfair, you’ll need to check:

  • what your ‘employment status’ is – your rights depend on whether you’re an employee or not
  • how long you’ve worked for your employer – you can usually only challenge a dismissal if you’ve worked there for 2 years or more
  • whether the law says the reason for your dismissal is unfair

And you’ll need to check fast as you’ve got just 3 months less a day from your last day of employment to start taking any action for an unfair dismissal.

SEE ALSO: Employment Laws All Employers Should Know

Check your benefit entitlement

You might be able to claim benefits while you’re looking for a new job, such as Universal Credit. You might also be able to get a higher amount of any benefits you already get, for example:

  • Housing Benefit
  • Council Tax Reduction
  • tax credits

Use the Citizens Advice benefits checker to see what benefits you might be entitled to. But be aware that if you were dismissed due to misconduct there may be sanctions and a delay in any payment.

Prepare for your job search

Pull out your CV, dust it off and add your most recent information. Consider posting your resume online on job sites and LinkedIn and print some copies to drop off or mail.

  • Start your job search by looking online at job boards, forums, and classified ads, as well as applying directly to companies via their websites. The internet allows you to search the entire world right from the comfort of your own home, and can open doors of opportunity that were previously unavailable to you!

Stay positive

Develop an unflagging optimism about this opportunity you’ve been given. Offer positive, affirming thoughts to yourself and your family to keep everyone’s spirit high.

  • Positive thinking can make a huge difference on how quickly you find the right job. Enthusiasm will impress prospective employers much more than if you sink into a negative outlook and carry it with you unintentionally during interviews.

Look at the bigger picture

Consider all options. Many times in life, what initially appears to be negative ends up being a blessing in disguise, and losing your job is no exception.

Perhaps you weren’t completely happy with your job, but were hesitant to leave it. Now that the decision has been made for you, you finally have the opportunity to try out a new profession or company.The possibilities are endless. You can even use this job loss as an opportunity to explore a new area of the country, travel the world for a new job, or work online.

You can find success in the face of adversity. As long as you think positively and work hard, don’t be surprised if you come out of this entire experience better off than you were before!

Not sure of your next steps following job loss? Check out our Career Direction service

You may also find “How to Fail” by Elizabeth Day useful. It’s on the theme of failure and how it makes us who we are and who we are supposed to be in life –

Or listen to The Squiggly Careers podcast, which covers everything from ego at work to rediscovering your inspiration.