After It Happens: 4 Immediate Unemployment Action Items
Now that you've received the bad news about your job, you've got some homework to do. I know, lame. But! The purpose of this guide, as always, is to ensure you cover your bases and set yourself up for success, even in very difficult settings. First, make sure you read through the boring but super important legal stuff in this post. Second, put the list below on your immediate to do list. I promise some are even fun!
Immediate To Do’s After Getting Let Go
1. Meet up with friends, family or loved ones to vent and blow off steam. Surround yourself with a positive support system that will lend you an ear, make you feel better and even buy you a drink… or five. The first person I always reach out to in these situations is my partner who has been my rock over the years. He's understanding, kind and always steps up to the plate to support me when times are tough - whether that's financially or emotionally, or cooking me my favorite meals to get me in better spirits. Other times I reach out to former colleagues turned close friends and mentors who can help me make sense of the situation, whip me into shape and give me the real talk I need.
2. This next tip took me a long time to embrace: Allow yourself one day to feel bad about losing your job. This is really hard to follow if you're someone like me who genuinely cares about their career, about the work they do, take work seriously and then takes things personally when it doesn't work out. But as I said in my AMA video (and what this author says), don’t take job loss personally or you’ll drive yourself crazy. Don't use up all your emotional labor on something that's out of your control; instead use your time and energy wisely. Try to think positively. I'll get into this more in the next post where I'll discuss self-care, how to get focused and prepare for your next career move.
3. My most favorite to do item on this post-job loss list is: Sleep in! I remember when I got laid off in February 2017, my first thought was "YES! Now I can sleep in again!" I was so burnt out by that point from the election, from trying to prove my value time and time again, from working 50+ hours a week that when I got the news, I felt immediate relief. A weight had been lifted off my shoulders. The next day, I slept in til noon. It was fantastic, I highly recommend it. Enjoy some downtime and give yourself a break. You deserve it.
4. Last but definitely not least, if you haven't already, research and file for unemployment benefits immediately. I talked about unemployment insurance at length in this post and walked through the steps in this video and I can't stress this action item enough. Yes, you qualify for unemployment if you were fired. Be prepared with the right paperwork from the past calendar year and know your income bracket to determine your unemployment insurance pay as it differs per state. Here’s the Pennsylvania overview.
I'm going to leave you with one of my favorite quotes by one of my favorite people. Oddly enough, I read this passage from Amy Poehler's book "Yes Please" on the train the same morning I got let go from a job in winter 2014. I had no idea I was going to be laid off that day, but I remember reading this passage and feeling refreshed by it. When I got my notice just a few short hours later, I chuckled to myself. I thought it ironic and perhaps a sign that this quote came into my life at such a critical time. Now, years later, I still refer to it whenever I'm feeling down and out about my career. It's become my motto and maybe it could become yours, too.
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