5 Tips to Prepare You for Losing Your Job

Welcome Home, You’re Fired!

My wife and I got married on a Saturday sunset in Mexico in a pagoda on the beach. Our wedding party stayed with us a couple of days before the wedding as we all had a blast playing in the surf and sand as an extended family. They left the morning after, while Becky and I remained for ten more days. It was amazing, wonderful time that was SO relaxing and a wonderful way to start our new lives together.

When I got back to the States and returned to work, there was a woman sitting at my desk and using my computer and stuff. I walked into my boss’s office and asked, “Who’s at my desk?” She informed me that they had come across some issues in my absence. The lovely lady at my desk was from a temp agency filling in for me while I was out. My boss also asked me to show the temp “How to do every part of your job. Just in case this happens again.” Being in the information technology field at the time, I knew what that meant. A month later, I was sitting at home wishing I had a job again. After showing the temp the ropes, they laid me off.

I was out of a job for almost six months. At our lowest point, we had a quarter in our bank account. Yes, you read that right, twenty-five cents to our name. We were looking at things like, when did we need gas and how could we get to my wife’s payday before we needed groceries or gas. At one point, I found a quarter that had fallen into the couch cushions and showed it to her. She responded with “Look! We doubled our worth!” We both laughed because it was that or breaking down into tears.

Now that the situation is years in the past, we look back at it as it strengthened our bond together. If a brand-new couple could go through that, we knew we could conquer the world.

Surviving with Losing Your Job

Are rumors circulating throughout your workplace that there may be downsizing, a lay-off or merger?  Are you scared and don’t know what to do? These 5 tips can help you feel more in control of your financial situation:

Past Due BillsMonthly Bills

Take a long, hard look at your monthly bills.  Are in up to your neck in debt? Now is the time to tighten your belt and try to get a handle on the interest rates you are currently paying.  Can you pay down some of your debt right away? Transfer to another, lower rate credit card? Should you refinance your mortgage or home equity loan?  Should you downsize to a smaller and less expensive home? Now would be the time to take care of this, not after you’ve received your pink slip.

Wants Vs. Needs

What can you trim in your monthly budget? Stop buying those lattes every morning and save about $80 in one month.  Rent a DVD instead of going to the movies.  You are the only one who can decide what you can and cannot live without, but these are two good examples of the latter. Cut back on your dining out and you’ll see more green in your wallet right now, when you need it the most.

Wallet with Money

Mindful Spending

Be more aware as you pull out your wallet for every day expenses and decide if you really need to buy that item.  Now is not the time for a shopping spree to cheer you up. Instead, try to be more aware of where your money goes every day, every week.

Gas pumps with high prices showing

Other Transportation

With the hurricane hitting Texas and shutting down a portion of the nation’s oil production, I have seen gas prices jump where we live anywhere from 30 to 40 cents per gallon. That can make a huge difference without a paycheck. Hell, it stinks with a paycheck! It is time to look at alternate ways to get there. What public transportation is available in your city or town? Perhaps you could bike to where you need to go or take the train, subway, or bus.

Use Your Benefits

Do you know what benefits at work you are entitled to?  Take the time now to ask the Human Resources department what benefits you’re currently enrolled in.  If you have health insurance, be sure to get any physicals or medical tests now to make use of this benefit.  Take advantage of any dental or vision coverage you may have- get those eyeglasses or contact lenses updated now or schedule a visit for a check-up at the dentist. Those co-pays are a whole lot cheaper than paying full-price later.

Start Planning for Losing Your Job Now

Being aware of the situation, planning and acting makes you feel more in control of your life.  Sure, you can’t do anything about being laid-off and in most cases, (unless you committed gross misconduct on the job) it’s not your fault. It’s a management decision that will probably wind up changing your life for the better.  See this as a new opportunity, not as a loss, and your positive attitude will help you find a new job soon.  Good luck!

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