Job loss, what do those words conjure up for you? Anger, relief, anxiety, uncertainty, grief, devastated, worthless, I am sure I could go on but you get the picture. Job loss is one of those stressors that impact us, our families, our relationships and our finances. Our world, as we knew it, has now been drastically altered and for most of us that is unnerving.
The world is changing, globalization is a reality, manual manufacturing jobs are decreasing, and technology is increasing and ever changing us and our world. We can dislike what’s happening and wish for the past which we thought was secure and stable, but that reality is gone. How we can handle this will be discussed in Part 2 (watch for the blog), but first, if you recently experienced job loss let me give you some recommendations:
- First and foremost acknowledge the loss of your job, it’s ok to grieve, seek support from family and friends. Recognize that this will be an emotional time and emotions help us to deal with, and cope with, what has just happened. Don’t stifle your emotions, the more you try to keep them down, hide them or stuff them the more difficult it will be to move forward.
- If you received a severance package see if there is the option of a lump sum payment or salary continuance. Lump sums can dramatically alter your taxes in the year of termination. Salary continuance on the other hand spreads the amount over time, just as if you were still working. If a lump sum is the option offered, see if your previous employer would accept salary continuance. I always recommend checking this with an accountant and/or financial advisor.
- Consult with an employment lawyer to see if the severance package is fair and equitable.
- If your employer extends health benefits for a period of time after termination take advantage of them and include your family members if they are eligible. These include things such as dental work, glasses, prescriptions, assistive living devices, CPAPS’s (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure machines) etc.
- Many companies (but not all) extend Employee Assistance Programs which allow you to access counselling. I recommend taking advantage of this as your counsellor can be a third-party objective person who can help you work through your feelings regarding the job loss. They can also help you re-evaluate new endeavours you might want to pursue.
- If your employer provides out-placement services go ahead and take advantage of this service. Out-placement services provided resume writing, job coaching and other job search related services. The counsellor will be another resource for you and someone who will journey with you as you find another job.
- Consider consolidating high interest loans or credit cards. If you have a line of credit (usually a lower interest rate) use it instead of higher interest based credit cards. If eligible you might be able to roll over your debt into your mortgage to make your monthly payments more manageable.
- You might want to reduce non-essentials such as magazine or paper subscriptions, cable t.v., club memberships or anything that is classified as a “nice to have” may have to be cancelled for a time.
- If you have two cars, consider taking one off the road, but make sure you check with your insurance agent or company to make sure the car is covered for damage as it sits. Also take appropriate steps to store the car properly. Your car dealer or mechanic can help you out.
So how do we handle the new reality of a changing world? The thing we are facing is change and as human beings not many of us like change or at least change that has been thrust upon us. Watch for Part 2, it will be worth it.