There are few things as stressful as a job loss. It has a massive impact on your everyday routine, your finances, and your emotional well-being. Going from having a regular income to no income is a hard adjustment for many, especially if you’re on a debt payoff journey.
While there’s not really a playbook for handling job loss, there are some practical items you can put on your to-do list while you’re looking for work. This is not the time to sit idle and wait for a solution to fall in your lap.
Damage control is essential, from tying up loose ends at your old job to ensuring you have enough finances to last you through this unemployment period as well as looking after yourself. Read on for some practical steps to take after a job loss.
First Steps to Take After Losing Your Job
While it’s easy to feel pressure and stress once you lose your job, try to keep your wits about you. Don’t beat yourself up. You’re not the first person to find themselves without a job unexpectedly. Cut yourself some slack as you navigate these new waters of unemployment.
The best way to deal with job loss is to stay proactive. Take these steps first as soon as possible after losing your job:
- Final pay – Check that your final payment is correct and includes any holiday/sick pay that you’re entitled to.
- Superannuation fund – Check your balance to ensure your payments are up to speed from your former employer. You’ll also want to check in with your fund to see what happens when you have a gap in contributions.
- Government help – You may be entitled to collect unemployment benefits such as Newstart Allowance. Have a look at the Department of Human Services website to learn more about eligibility.
- Limit your spending – It’s best to limit your spending now to avoid maxing out your credit card or chewing through your savings. Cut down on things like eating out, take-away coffees, clothes, and anything else you can go without right now. Remember that it’s just temporary and you will be able to enjoy these little luxuries again.
- Talk to your lenders – If you think you might fall short by your next payment due date, talk to lenders about your situation. You may be able to delay/reduce payment temporarily. You never know until you ask, right?
- Budget – Look at your savings and then review your expenses to get an idea of how long your money will last. This will help you to budget more efficiently, making your money last as long as possible while you look for work.
How to Begin the Job Search Process
Once you’ve taken care of the essentials above, it’s time to begin the job search process again. This might feel intimidating, especially if it’s been a while since you last needed to find a job. The good news is this doesn’t have to be a scary process. Take these steps to secure a job quickly:
- Career coaching – A career coach can help you develop a new perspective and gain the confidence you need to get out there again. Many coaches also offer a free consultation session, so take advantage of it.
- Network – Get active not only on LinkedIn and by attending local meetups and events related to your industry, but by talking to family, friends, neighbours, and anyone else who’ll listen – you never know who will help you make your next connection.
- Dress your best – Get up and out! Dress like you’re going to work, that way you’re ready for whatever may come your way like an impromptu coffee with an ex-co-worker or an interview with a recruiting agency.
Tips for Success When Dealing with Job Loss
Job loss happens to the best of us, and it doesn’t have to reflect poorly on your future. Don’t feel disheartened if you struggle to find the right job right away. Some markets are slower than others, and your dream job might be closer than you think. Try these tips for success to deal with job loss confidently:
- Learn a new skill – Add another feather to your cap during the downtime while you’re hunting for new jobs. This will show employers you’re proactive and the new skill you acquire may just be the one that gets you in the door for your next interview.
- Start a side hustle – Side hustles are a great way to earn some extra income without a strict schedule. You might even discover a new passion along the way!
- Try temping – If you’re worried about paying your bills, get in touch with a few temp agencies to make money while you search for the perfect full-time job. Don’t forget to reach out to your existing network as well to see if they are in need of contract workers.
- Exercise – Not only is it great for your mental health (studies now show that even one hour of exercise a week help prevent depression), this could be your chance to pick up another healthy habit – now that’s something to be proud of!
- Take a break – The upside to this whole situation is that you’ve got a bit of extra time on your hands, so take advantage of it!
The Silver Lining: Starting Over
One of the best pieces of advice to navigating a job loss is to find the silver lining. Perhaps it was never a good fit or the commute was killing you. Or maybe this is your chance to change careers completely. There was likely something about your previous work that you would have liked to change.
Whatever the case, focus on the positives that will come out of this change, rather than focusing on what you’ve lost. And when in doubt just remember – you’ve got this!
Know When to Seek Help After Job Loss
Unemployment is hard on even the most sound of budgets. If you’re dealing with job loss, it’s challenging to juggle all of your bills, debts, and living expenses. Don’t wait until it’s too late to take action. Take steps today to seek help.
If you’ve experienced a job loss and aren’t sure how you’re going to keep up with your bills, get in touch with us on 1300 368 322. We’ve helped thousands of Australians find financial security and we can help you too. The sooner you find help, the easier it is to work with you to find the right solution for your situation.