How To Handle Being Laid Off Due To The PandemicLayoffs are one of the darker realities of the business world. Even in the best of economies, they can affect the lives of good workers and their families, and the lay off often seems like they’re coming right out of the blue.
Now, with the majority of businesses facing financial hardship due to ongoing quarantine measures, the hard decision of laying off employees en masse is one that all management has to consider.
If you or someone you know has been laid off during the pandemic, don’t panic.
There are some important basic steps to take to help keep you afloat and reduce your stress so you can make it through and come out on top!
Apply For Benefits Right Away!
You can’t control delays in the system, but you can control how long you delay starting the ball rolling. If you want to avoid the traffic jam caused by the influx of new applicants for Employment Insurance, CERB, Ontario Works and other government-assistance programs, then you want to be ahead of the pack.
Applying has never been easier, as all bureaus currently offer online applications. That said, you’ll still need to get your details in order, which can take time. That includes your SIN, ID, banking information, and more. Start by looking up which programs are best suited for you. This can depend on your status and recent work history, but the reality is the pandemic has spread the parameters wider to include more individuals that find themselves in need of coverage. Don’t make a guess about what you think you do or don’t qualify for, you can find out for sure if you qualify with simple online filter forms.
It also takes time to receive payouts, to avoid long breaks in your income, you should be filing for unemployment benefits as soon as your layoff is confirmed.
Have you secured your benefits yet?
Get Your Expenses In Check
As you find your income diminished, it’s time to tighten the purse strings on your spending.
Start by taking stock of what your finances look like. Make a list of your bills and payments, as well as setting a budget for expenses like food and travel. Then prioritize your expenses by importance and due date.
Next, quantify your income. Look at savings, lines of credit, pending payments and unemployment benefits. You should not just know how much you have, but when you’ll have it. Put all your income and expenses in a trackable spreadsheet or your preference of accounting software.
Now you can negotiate your finances. Looking at your due dates and pay dates, you can set reasonable timelines with your billers, lenders, and creditors. The current circumstances have made it so many businesses are offering greater leeway on accounts payable. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need, so you can get your finances in order.
How do you handle your financial planning?
Financial stress is easily mitigated by reviewing your money matters and making a plan. But it’s not the only type of stress you’ll be under, and taking care of yourself is just as critical to avoid disaster.
Instead of declaring emotional bankruptcy, try practicing “radical acceptance”. This means accepting your situation. It’s ok to not be ok, and that first wave of shock and anxiety after being laid off is natural. Take time to come to terms with this life change. But when it comes to your situation, once you’re in it, you can start to win it.
You can start to see your new job as working on yourself. That extra time can go towards exercise, study, honing your skills and revisiting your hobbies. Don’t punish yourself if you don’t feel like every moment is making progress, it’s progress enough to be standing still as long as you’re standing strong.
Not only will this help you with your mental wellness, but it also helps you prepare to make connections to further your career. Because, unlike magnets, positive people attract positive opportunities.
What are your best self-care practices?
Rediscover Your Goals
When you’re working, it’s easy to exchange the comfort of routine for the freedom of imagination. But you are at a crossroads in your life right now, and that means you have the freedom to choose a new direction.
When was the last time you sat down and wrote out your goals? If you’ve been working, it’s likely you haven’t seriously made moves towards a completely new life path in some time. Well, now is the time to go back to the drawing board!
Look at what you loved and hated about your last job, or your career until now. Decide what you’d like to be different, and what “different” really looks like. Let yourself think WAY outside the box on this one, to what your passions dictate.
Once you have your dream destination in mind, you can start to turn that into a SMART goal, and build a roadmap of how to actually get there. This lets you focus on just taking that next step.
What are your long term goals?
Don’t Go At It Alone
Some employers offer career guidance services as part of their severance packages. If yours included this perk, be sure to take them up on it! But, if you’re like the majority, then you might feel like you’ve been left alone, in terms of your professional development at this point.
But you’re wrong.
If you still care about your professional development (and why would you be reading this if you weren’t?) then don’t be afraid to ask for help! Find a mentor, an apprenticeship, a teacher, etc. Many industry leaders are also experiencing downtime, which means that not only can you connect to experts in your field, they have time to help coach you.
Leaders love to talk about what they do, especially to people who have a genuine interest. And there are many skilled experts that can impart their wisdom, whether it’s directly about your area of interest, or from a vantage of offering counselling on career pathways from the perspective of a recruiter or employer. Partner up with people who can support your growth.
Who would make a great mentor for you?
Go With The Flow
If you’re concerned about finding work as soon as possible, then you might need to orient yourself in a new type of position, as dictated by the demands of the current economy.
Contrary to popular belief, the reduction in the workforce isn’t the same across the board. Many sectors are actually experiencing an upturn in the amount of hiring and jobs available. Things aren’t so dark everywhere you look, so maybe it’s time to point yourself in a new direction to find a light at the end of the tunnel.
The job areas that are booming are the essential services, such as health care, transportation, warehouse workers, grocery stores, sanitation, and remote/virtual operations. If you have experience in, or are eager to learn about, any of these or other essential fields, then your odds of getting work sooner than later are definitely stacked in your favour.
What essential jobs could you do?
Stay Active In Your Chosen Industry
Just because you might turn to employment in a different field to improve your odds of finding work, doesn’t mean you should abandon your long term goals for a dream career.
Keep your feelers out for inroads to work that matches your ideal role, and keep your name and resume circulating on job forums, social media, and any industry social platform you might have.
You might even go so far as to have some video and phone interviews with companies that won’t be hiring until later, but that you feel it’s important to start building a relationship with. The long and short of it is, don’t invest everything you have in a job for “now”, keep hedging your bets with an investment in tomorrow, too.
How can you stay connected to your career?
Study Up On Skill Sets
Whatever career you’re dreaming of, you should have a general understanding of the types of skills required, and what technical and professional tools you’ll need to do the job.
Once you understand what it takes, you can take the time to brush up on skills, or add new ones to your repertoire. There are countless online training materials and learning resources to help you become adept at anything you need. While some advanced training may require paid schooling, other instructionals can be found for free for anyone with the gusto to get it done!
When you’re between work, your job is working on yourself. So, it’s never been more appropriate to improve your skills than now. Hone your skill set to help you launch into being the most desirable and qualified candidate you can be!
What skills can you develop right now?