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Lost Your Job? Now What?

1) Don’t Panic.

Panic releases cortisol and adrenaline, flooding your body with fight or flight hormones. These are great chemicals for mortal physical danger, but they can cloud your thinking and your ability to process information accurately and make wise decisions. If you find yourself dealing with mental and emotional stress, acknowledge it. Understand why you feel it. Then breathe calmly and quietly. Know that this is not the end of the world. If you need to, repeating something like “I will be okay. I will make it through this!” while it can sound silly, will help communicate confidence to your brain and help bring down the utter panic level to something more manageable.

2) Make A Plan.

Do research about whether you can claim unemployment benefits. If you can, apply as soon as possible.

Do you plan on looking for work right away? If so, start Googling and hitting up acquaintances in your field. If you plan on waiting, move to the next step.

3) Know Your Finances

If you don’t already know your personal financial monthly input and output, now is the time to get to know it! Write down on a sheet of paper or type in a Word Document or enter into any app you have… just get the info down in an easy to access place (I think there is a lot to be said for writing everything down on paper, at least for the first time). Write down the cost of your Rent, Utilities, Internet, Car payment, Phone bill, and any other fixed expenses. Then move onto the variable expenses, the ones that change from week to week, month to month, like Food, Clothes, Gas, Entertainment, etc. Your fixed expenses should be pretty easy to figure out, you can usually look at your bank account and figure out your average utility bill or phone bill, you should know your rent off the top of your head… knowing your variable bills can be harder to figure out and you might have to make general guesses.

Your focus should be making sure you can pay your fixed bills. If you have enough in your savings and/or checking account(s), congrats! Figure out how many months you have covered in fixed bills and what you can budget per month for your variable bills. Anywhere you can cut expenses, you should do so (cancel that monthly subscription you never use, don’t go out to eat, etc.). If you have no savings, then you are up for a bumpy ride. Still cut back on expenses everywhere you can, but also consider whether you need to go out right now and get another job, no matter how humble, that could help cover you until you can get another job in your preferred field.

4) Read.

That’s right, your world is falling apart and I want you to read? Yep. There is nothing quite as encouraging as hearing from others who have been where you have and overcome. (If you hate reading, most libraries have audiobooks through an app that you can listen to… for FREE!) I’d recommend looking up self-help books and finance books and any books that interest you. So tap into yourself and your knowledge.

5) Write.

Ok, you should’ve seen this coming. I told you to do your Arithmetic and Read, so of course I’m going to tell you to Write next! Get a journal and pour into its pages what you are thinking and feeling; it helps clear your mind. Write down your expenses and income. Write down ideas for work and life. Heck, write that novel you have always promised yourself you’d write “when I have the time”!

Don’t look at this as the end of everything you’ve worked toward. Look at this as the end of one chapter. Then flip the page and start the next!

Written by Readers’ Favorite Reviewer Ashley Tetzaff