You’ve been laid off, let go, axed. Maybe you expected it to happen, or maybe you got a fateful email telling you to report immediately to HR. Fun times, right? Breathe.
Tens of thousands of Americans have lost their jobs in recent months, especially in the tech sector. It’s caused havoc for families and businesses in some cities have lost important revenue streams from those workers.
We’ve all heard the basic advice for folks who have been “let go” — update your resume, find new health insurance, apply for unemployment.
But let’s take a look at some of the other, maybe less obvious things you should do — or not do — while unemployed.
Don’t go into a shell
Losing a job is one of the most stressful events in our lives, and you’ll likely go through a lot of stages — shock, anger and maybe depression. But you have to take care of your psyche, and there are a lot of ways to do that, including:
- Relying on loved ones
- Joining a book club
- Reading, hobbies, hikes
Don’t withdraw from your 401(k)
It might be tempting to crack into that golden egg you’ve been growing over the years. Maybe you’ve even got a few of them lying around from previous employers. But, unless you meet certain exceptions, you will have to pay a 10% penalty tax on the amount.
Not only will you pay a penalty, but the money you take out will no longer be working for you. As an example, NerdWallet’s early withdrawal calculator estimates that if you take out $25,000 from a $100,000 account, you’ll miss out on more than $40,000 in 10 years.
Don’t become a slob
Without your normal routine, it might be tempting to sleep in, stay in your pajamas all day and spend much of your day streaming entertainment.
But this is no time to become a couch potato. For now, looking for a job is your job.
That means developing a routine — setting your alarm and waking up early and spending much of your day fine-tuning your resume, sending it out, doing networking, getting online training or whatever it takes to regain your income.
Do tighten up your budget
Without that regular paycheck, it’s time to ditch those luxury items you didn’t think twice about before — streaming subscriptions, your daily latte and dining out, to name a few. To keep yourself in check, YNAB (You Need A Budget) is a great budgeting app that helps you track expenses.
Also, learn frugal money hacks from the Great Depression — people had to get by with a lot less then, too.
Do sign up for more training
You’ve got more time on your hands, so add new skills to your toolbox. Udemy, Coursera, edX, Codecademy and LinkedIn Learning are just a few of the websites that offer a treasure trove of classes to learn the latest tech skills, sometimes even for free.
And it could pay off. Forbes says these are the most in-demand tech skills for 2023:
- Data communicator/storyteller
- UX design
- Digital marketing
- Artificial intelligence
Do enhance your networking skills
Personal contact is often much more effective than simply sending your resume into the cybersphere and hoping a corporate recruiter or bot flags it. Tell everyone — that includes friends, family, anyone you meet — that you’re on the lookout for a new job.
Some tips from our story “How to Find a New Job After You’ve Been Laid Off” include:
- Reach out to your friends and family.
- Connect with old colleagues and classmates.
- Join relevant professional groups on LinkedIn.
Do get creative about making money
On a recent Money Talks News podcast, CEO Stacy Johnson interviews a man who was able to retire at 39 by selling lipstick, bras and other stuff on eBay, then using the money to buy rental properties. Maybe you won’t go that route, but check out these ways of making extra bucks after getting laid off: