How to Deal With Sudden Unemployment

As someone who recently lost his job quite (read: very) publicly, I had to quickly adapt to the routine of unemployment.

Of course, firing a journalist is a little different from other sectors in that you can start freelancing right away. But it’s still easy to get sick of being trapped in negative emotions while trying to build structure and figure out your next steps.

In this dark time, Dr. Melanie Greenberg, a psychologist and author of The Stress-Resistant Brain , recommends focusing on two main tasks: finding a new job or career advancement, and caring for your emotional and emotional states. psychological well-being.

The following are strategies to get rid of despair, get out of debt, and find a new job as soon as possible.

Take care of your mental health

According to Greenberg, if you are suddenly and unceremoniously fired, planning your future work is by far the key step. “Think about how to make a renovation, which might involve looking for a job, taking a step back and looking at the big picture of what you can do — sometimes you need to have a couple of irons on fire,” she tells us.

However, this is also a time to be especially mindful of your mental health. “This takes time, and you need to deal with the emotional consequences so as not to get depressed,” says Greenberg. “Take time to exercise and find social groups, find volunteer work.”

Dr. Greenberg also recommended meditation, which can help focus your mind and make sure you are not busy trying to “deal with things you cannot control.”

(Rather than spending money on classes while your income is unstable, you can start with one of the many free or cheap meditation apps currently available .)

Not having a job can also be a good time to work on your personal relationships and build self-esteem.

“What are you proud of in your personal values? Try to think about personal qualities and find people who will confirm those qualities, ”said Dr. Greenberg.

“Sometimes people are isolated. They don’t want to tell people about it. It can make your depression worse. “

In my personal experience, for example, I found it helpful to attend as many community gatherings and networking events as possible, and also took the time to help a close friend open a gallery space in Brooklyn.

Dr. Greenberg added that while it is important to stay involved, you should also be free to set boundaries on what you want to discuss in your personal life, and you can ask responses such as “I explored several possibilities” when asked. about job search.

It’s also important to remember that this is a time of common concern for many people who still work full time.

“Some industries are getting a little more complex; the nature of work is changing. This is globalization, said Dr. Greenberg.

You can help deal with some of these feelings by working on your willingness to endure anxiety when you are doing things like meeting new people at networking events or informational interviews.

Part of it is just knowing that you will always get nervous when you do things like public speaking, and then accept that this is okay and have the confidence that you can handle something well, even if you have butterflies in your belly. …

Create procedure

Long before you have a new job with a new watch, it can be extremely helpful to create some structure for your days that helps you find a balance between mental health exercise, freelance work, and finding a new job.

“I think it is very important to schedule a schedule as if you were working, but not necessarily from nine to five,” said Dr. Greenberg. “It makes you feel a little better. With depression, it helps to focus on something. “

I find it helpful to stick to my previous life as much as possible. I try to get up with my wife at about 7 am and do housework in the morning before setting aside time for freelance work, looking for new gigs, and following local news.

I also dress the same as in my regular job and work in our small office to create as much professional atmosphere as possible.

It can help digitize your productivity with time management apps like Focus Booster , which helps you focus on specific tasks and make time for bathroom or email breaks, or Google Calendar, which you can use to block your day and set some time for a break (“job search from 9 to 12 o’clock”, “from 12 to 13 o’clock lunch”, “freelance work from 13 to 15 o’clock,” “from 16 to 17 in the gym,” etc.).

Alternatively, I have a successful writer friend who said he uses to set a countdown clock so she can focus on a specific job. (This is a variation of the classic Pomodoro technique that many people follow .) You can, say, set a 30-minute timer to refresh your website so you don’t get distracted while you post and link to it. your recent achievements.

Set small, specific goals

It is helpful to have achievable daily and weekly goals as part of your new routine. Obviously, it can seem overwhelming to have an extensive plan to find a new job or change careers, but breaking it down into steps like working on a resume or connecting with at least five people on LinkedIn can help.

This way, your day can be broken down into multiple chunks of time, such as making contacts, exploring open positions, and making time to stay healthy by doing yoga at home. Each of these activities can become an activity item marked on your daily to-do list.

After that, your weekly goal may be at least a few scheduled coffee meetings and applying for at least three new jobs.

And it’s also good to set a reward for completing a task. If you’ve spent a few hours reaching out to potential employers or contacts, perhaps watch an episode of your favorite Netflix show before moving on to your next goal.

That said, while goals can be critical, it’s also important that your days are flexible enough to make room for something like a job interview, says Katie Brewer, a financial planner based in Dallas, CFP.

“If you’re looking for a job, you don’t have much control [about when the interviewer might want to meet],” Brewer added.

She said it would be good to focus more on your weekly goals, such as applying for five new jobs in case you need to change your schedule for an appointment one day. There is no point in ignoring a potential opportunity because you have set a schedule that is too tight for yourself.

Reassess your finances

The three big financial tasks you need to accomplish after losing your job are to quickly assess your health options, adjust your budget, and avoid using your retirement account, Brewer said.

There is an understandable immediate reaction, Brewer says, “go crazy and go to bed,” but that can prevent you from making decisions about things you might have to do during the first 30 days of unemployment, such as signing up for benefits. health COBRA.

This period of uncertainty is also “a good time for someone to match their wants and needs,” says Brewer. “You should categorize [expenses] in one of these two categories.”

If there is anything in between, like going to the gym to stay fit and reduce stress, then perhaps consider moving to a cheaper community center or just jogging in your neighborhood in the morning.

One last thing – don’t cash out your 401 (k).

“Consider this the very last thing you do,” says Brewer. “If you can leave it intact, you will avoid fines and taxes. [Leaving it alone] is really easy to do, but very difficult to undo. ”

In the end, all of these parts fit together; Managing anxiety and setting achievable goals can help us avoid rash decisions like cashing in retirement, and by being at our best in these areas, we are well-disposed to work towards a new job or career.

And more generally, actively planning your schedule and working on your mental health in a timely manner can help you cope and succeed in the new gig economy.

“These are difficult times [economically]. We face new challenges, ”says Greenberg. “The most important thing is to learn to adapt.”


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