Losing your job
It’s a lot more than just an income
When you lose your job, you lose more than just a source of income. Along with the financial stress a person faces when he becomes unemployed, there are other, less tangible aspects of being unemployed that can cause people emotional turmoil during the transition period. One of the first things a person can lose along with a job is structure. Just stop and think about how much of what you do in your day-to-day life revolves around your job. Your job may dictate the time you get up in the morning and go to bed, what you wear, the time you eat your meals, with whom you’ll eat them and the kind of meals you’ll eat. Your job may also greatly impact when and how you’ll run personal errands, or do household chores like laundry. If you have children and/or pets, even the time you spend with them is likely structured by your work schedule. Another aspect of life that people find often changes is their social life. Co-workers and business associates often become friends. After a job loss, that daily contact may be broken. If friends/co-workers are still working at your previous place of employment, they may feel “guilty” about being employed while you struggle to find a new job. If you remain in contact, you may sense some tension or feel your relationship has changed. Your identity is also an important thing you lose when you become unemployed. We often identify ourselves by what we do for a living. When meeting a person for the first time, we often ask, “What do you do?” or “Where do you work?” Whether it’s fair or not, a person’s job plays a big part of our overall impression of him or her. www.sdjobs.org/lmic
Dealing with job loss
Whether you are without a job because you hastily quit, were laid-off or fired, the fact is you are facing a dramatic change in your life and are experiencing a loss. Before you can move ahead with your life, you must face your loss and take a period of time to grieve before moving on. As with any loss, you may experience varying degrees of sadness. It is important to deal with the cycle of grief you are facing before beginning your job search. If you don’t, you may have a great deal of difficulty with your job search. There are generally six stages of grief.
“I know they’ll call me back.” “That place can’t run without me.” “They’ll find out how important I was, and they’ll be begging me to come back.”
“It’s all the manager’s (or company’s) fault.” “I have a right to be angry.” “I’ll show them they can’t treat me like that.” “Who do they think they are?”
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“If only I had . . .” or “hadn’t . . .” “It’s my fault that I’m in this situation.” “If I had worked harder, I wouldn’t have lost my job.” “If only I had gotten more education.” “I’ll never get another job.” “I’m not good enough to hold a job.” “Why did I have to lose my temper like that?”
As you move through the grieving process it is good to remember that everyone processes grief differently. There is no set amount of time for this process. You may experience more than one grief process at a time or in a different order than what we’ve listed. The important thing to remember is that these feelings are natural, and it’s okay to feel them. There is no right way or wrong way to grieve. Let it play itself out and give yourself the time you need to deal with each stage. Just remember-eventually, you need to move on. The first thing you need to do is allow yourself to feel whatever you are feeling. Most experts recommend that you postpone your job search for a week or so. This will allow you some time to grieve and deal with your emotions. The worst thing you can do during this time is bottle up your emotions. This doesn’t mean that your only job during this first week is to wallow in self-pity. There are things you can do even during this first week that will begin to empower you.
“I can’t do anything right.” “I don’t even want to get out of bed today.” “What’s wrong with me?” “No wonder no one will hire me.”
“When I do get a job interview, something goes wrong or I say the wrong thing.” “I try to be positive, but it’s hard.” “I guess I might have to accept less money.”
“I’ve made peace with my demons, and I’m ready to move on.” “I can’t go back, but I can learn from this and move on.”
Addressing the money side of being without a job
One of the first things you will have to address when you find yourself without a job is the money issue. Let’s face it, most of us don’t work just for the fun of it; we rely on that paycheck. It’s important to sit down with your spouse, if you have one, and take a good hard look at where you are financially and where you want to be in the future. First, take stock of all your expenses and resources. Organize them in three groups. The first group should include fixed expenses such as the mortgage or rent, loans and credit card payments, insurance payments, utilities and taxes. Fixed expenses are recurring bills that you must pay or risk serious long-term financial problems.
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Financial Facings, continued
The second pile should be variable expenses such as food, clothing, entertainment, etc. Although you can’t eliminate this category of expenses altogether, this will be the first area where you will be able to make cuts. The third pile should be your financial resources. First take a look at income from other sources (employment your spouse may have, second jobs you may have). Then review investments and dividends, severance pay (if you received any), savings, and don’t forget possessions that could be converted into cash. As much as you might not want to do it, you may have to contact your previous employer to find out about your severance settlement. Do you get paid for unused vacation, sick days, etc.? If you received perks such as a company vehicle or office space, you may want to see if there is any room for negotiating continued use of these items. Don’t forget to ask how long your health insurance, dental coverage and other important benefits will continue. It’s also a good idea to contact major creditors right away. Let them know what your situation is and ask if they are willing to work out an extended repayment plan. Don’t wait to do this step. Do it right away, before you begin making late or partial payments or missing them altogether. And while you’re busy figuring out your finances, don’t forget to apply for unemployment payments. You may or may not qualify, but you should apply as soon as possible. That way if you do qualify you will begin receiving payments right away. And don’t be shy about applying. Unemployment payments are not a handout. They are an insurance benefit financed by employers through payroll taxes. Now it’s time for action. Within a week of losing your job you need to start looking for another job. It may be a long process, but don’t be discouraged. Be persistent and don’t give up. Who knows, you might just land your dream job!
Filing for Unemployment Insurance Benefits
To file a claim for unemployment benefits: Call the Telephone Claims Center at 605-626-3179 Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:20 p.m. (CST) (or) Follow the instructions on the South Dakota Department of Labor website at www.sd.uiclaims.com. www.sdjobs.org/lmic page 4 Labor Market Information Center