Let’s face it being laid off feels terrible. In most cases, layoffs often happen without warning, are unplanned and put you in an instant panic about your financial future.
With U.S. unemployment now at a low of 3.6 percent, according to The Department of Labor that still means more than 5 million Americans are currently unemployed experiencing this hardship at this very moment. Some may be worried about those bills due at the end of the month and others may frantically be looking for their next place of employment.
While everyone’s experience with being laid off may vary, experts say that whatever you do: abstain from worry! Which makes sense. Afterall how on earth can you transition into the next productive and intentional phase of your work life panicked and overwhelmed with anxiety? Take a breath and remember now is the best time to hit the reset button.
According to career coach, and author of The Unemployment Guide, Melissa Fleury, the first thing you need to do after becoming unemployed is to relax. Fleury believes you should take this time to really analyze the situation for what it is.
“Take a moment to decompress. Usually, individuals go into panic mode about finding their next job, being unable to pay their bills, and all the things that come with unemployment. However, it’s hard to come up with a clear game plan if you’re worried, anxious and on edge. Take a few days to settle in and acknowledge what has happened. Don’t rush to fix your situation in the same day.” Fleury says.
Once you’ve thoroughly analyzed the situation, Fleury believes now is the time to really think about your current financial situation. Set a game plan for the next few months post-employment as well as see what your state offers for those experiencing unemployment.
“It’s important to understand the details of your severance package (if applicable) and unemployment benefits as outlined by your state. Knowing your expenses over the next few months is important since your income is now limited. Once you create a new financial plan and budget, you can then create your new career plan.”
While that first phase of unemployment is the perfect time to start planning for your future, Fleury also suggests taking these moments to yourself. From childhood to college then straight into the workforce, we rarely have moments to reflect and be present. Many of us spend more time at work then we do our homes; or spend more time with our colleagues then we do our family. You now have time that is yours again. Use it wisely. These are the moments to reflect, relax, travel and ultimately change the trajectory of your life to come.
“After college, many of us are thrown into work and ‘adulting’ without a break. Unemployment is one of the few moments where you’ll have substantial time for yourself. You’re no longer rushing to meet the demands of a 9 to 5 and now you finally have time for things you couldn’t with your previous job,” says Fleury. “You can only apply to but so many jobs in a day. So be intentional about edifying your mind, body, and spirit. You now have control over your time and how you spend it, so use it to restore those areas that have been deficient.”
In fact, during her own journey of unemployment, Fuery was able to change her entire life, career and relationships. She traveled to places she’s never been, read books that had piled up unopened and even launched a brand new career.
“Believe it or not, I traveled more during that year than in previous years. I wanted to experience as much as I could without the restraints of PTO. All of the books I didn’t have the time to read were finally a priority for me. Creating a consistent workout schedule became my main focus. But most importantly, I had unrushed time to spend with family and friends. My unemployment gave me the opportunity to be present with the ones that I loved. Honestly, my unemployment not only launched my career but also created a better version of me,” Fleury says.
The truth is, unemployment is not the end all be all. From unemployment comes great enlightenment, use that time to your advantage.