Losing your job can be one of the most devastating things someone can go through and the results can be long lasting, possibly going beyond financial implications. Not only are there financial risks but almost just as damaging are the emotional consequences.

Seeing as most people spend the most time at their jobs, the sudden loss can result in a loss of not only a paycheck but identity as well. If you have just received this news, first step back and evaluate the situation, then find a way to work past it.

Stop Panicking

The first thing to do if you lose your job is to stop panicking. While it is devastating, the loss is temporary. It is likely you will find a suitable job sooner rather than later.

During a panic we often make poor judgments and decisions, which can be just as dangerous as the loss of a paycheck and there is no reason for this to occur. Instead, it may be best to emotionally detach and let your brain take the lead, even if it may difficult.

Gather Your Resources

The immediate aftermath of a job loss can be very difficult, but how you handle the first couple of days can make all the difference in the world. Now is the time to gather your resources and start your job-hunting strategy. If you still have access to the email addresses and contact information of your former colleagues, record that data as soon as you can. Your former co-workers can be valuable resources going forward, but you will want to give yourself a few days to cool off and take stock.

You can use that time to start building your online network and get ready for the job search to come. If you do not already have a LinkedIn profile, now is the time to create one. If you already have a profile, spend the next few days polishing it. Take the time to update your resume and post it online. Make sure the information is up to date and that the document meets the recommended formatting guidelines.

Assess Your Monthly Expenses

The loss of a regular paycheck can be devastating financially but there are steps you can do to reduce this. Firstly, grab your monthly bills and start some financial planning.

You may realise that you can’t afford the newest mobile phone and you may need to limit eating out for a month or so. These changes will be temporary, but they can help reduce your expenses and ease the burden of unemployment. You may even find that you are able to easily survive without some of these luxuries. Making certain changes permanent will allow you more money that can be saved and invested once you find a new job.

Get What You Have Coming

Often large companies off worker some form of severance package when they have been laid off, but rules aren’t written in stone. If your time at the company was positive, you may be able to negotiate a better package than what was offered originally.

Don’t hurry to sign your exit papers as this could cost you money. Instead, read the document carefully and see if you can negotiate a better package. Anything more that you can get, whether its a longer severance period, company paid health insurance or both, will put yourself on a better financial foot and reduce the stress of unemployment.

Stop Blaming Yourself

Losing your job doesn’t mean you were a poor worker or not worthy of respect. Stop blaming yourself, and instead blame the real culprit – the financial conditions that forced your former employer to cut back on employees.

Even if the loss was even partially your fault, use it as a learning experience and do better in the future. While it may be more easy to be defensive, acknowledging the proper reasons and moving forward is a much better strategy to adopt.

Nothing can ever eliminate the emotional and financial consequences of a job loss, but adopting some of these strategies now can speed up and possibly simplify recovery. Whether it was an important part of life or simply a way to pay your bills, you can still recover your financial independence and dignity. You may even end up with a better job and a more secure future.

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