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How to Survive a Layoff

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A financial expert gives more tips on how to make it after losing a job.

Financial expert Danielle Hoston: About 200,000 job cuts have been announced so far this year -- in fact, 65,400 more cuts were announced on Monday alone. Last week, I gave a few pointers on surviving the fall out if you're let go from your job. 

woman walking down office hall with boxes

It seems like everybody is talking about layoffs lately. Our national unemployment rate is already listed above 7% nationally and is expected to rise over the next year. Severance packages and unemployment benefits aren't going to last forever. In the event that you do get laid off, you need a plan and a job. Start here.

Cut the "wants." Trim the "needs." Since most of us don't have the recommended six - eight months worth of living expenses in the bank, now is the time to seriously consider what can be eliminated from our budget. Before you buy anything, ask yourself if this is a "want" or a "need." Making these changes can turn a two to three month severance package into a three to four month investment in your next career.

Renegotiate. Take a long hard look at your monthly expenses and ask yourself some questions. Do you need to move? Can you spend less time on your cell phone? You'll be surprised at the savings you can create from trimming the fat from your "lifestyle budget." You'll also be surprised at how many of the vendors that you purchase services and products from are willing to negotiate in this economy -- especially when you've been laid off. Call them and see what can be done to lower your bill. If you have a mortgage, seek a loan modification immediately.  

Reinvent yourself. You have strengths and unique abilities. Identify them clearly and find ways to apply them in different fields. When applying for a job, take the time to customize your resume to highlight these abilities and tailor them specifically for the job you are applying for.  

Educate and innovate. Even if you haven't been laid off, it is never a bad idea to increase your employment options by investing in your education. Alternatively, you may even consider hiring yourself by starting your own business. If you are fortunate enough to be in a cash flow position to pursue education or start a business, begin today! There are still financial aid/grant programs available to help you towards your goals.

Be hungry. The number one piece of advice that I can give you to make this time as effective and beneficial as possible is to be hungry. Hungry applicants network. Hungry applicants are open to new career paths. Hungry applicants are eager to learn. Hungry applicants pursue getting a job like it is a job.

Hungry applicants get hired.

If you have been laid off, what is your plan for your next job?  If you are employed but were laid off tomorrow, what would be your next career path?  

next: Kindergartner Finds OxyContin Stash in Her Pants
10 comments so far | Post a comment now
Anonymous February 2, 2009, 1:47 PM

Good post Hoston, and right on time with the economic climate. I have friends that are being laid off left and right….It is hard out there, we definitely have to position ourselves for bracing the economic storm god forbid it hits us. Great advice for dealing with the aftermath! You definitely have to be proactive, especially in this market!
- Nik

Nik February 2, 2009, 1:52 PM

Good post Hoston, and right on time with the economic climate. It seems as though everytime I pick up my phone, one of my friends has been laid off… It is definitely hard out there, and we most certainly have to position ourselves to brace the economic storm if, god forbid, it hits us. You offer great advice for dealing with the aftermath, one must be proactive, especially in this market! I also can’t stress education enough!!!!!!

ChrisW February 2, 2009, 2:18 PM

This is some good advice… Im printing this and your last post off right now for the folks that come in to see me at the Parole and Probation Office that have been recently laid off… i’ve seen alot of em lately. these should give them some encouragement and alittle more vigor to pursue another job. Thanks dude!

MACKLIN February 2, 2009, 7:33 PM


tan February 2, 2009, 10:35 PM

i am in wealth management and understand the economic business cycles. it still is a hard pill to swallow. many, most of us , are susceptible to tightening w/in the workplace. this is a perfect opportunity to take a hard look at that resume and revise it. you really have to be ready! AND be hungry!!!!

great highlights, especially cut the wants and trim the needs.

Christine February 3, 2009, 1:29 AM

Hello Danielle,
I’m glad to see this weeks and last weeks articles. I was laid off effective friday after 7yrs 5mos and 3 days and I’m good. The company was bought out by a bigger bank and they laid off me and 1199 of my closest workers. No but really I feel it was a blessing, because I dreaded going to work, and I feel this is the opportunity to do what I really want to do. God has given me believeable peace, and amazing determination to reach for the stars and achieve like never before. I’m sure there will be obstacles but I can handle it. Thanks for looking out for us.

Anonymous February 3, 2009, 11:41 AM

Good read. I’m blessed to be employed right now. If something does happen in the future I’ll be ready :)


Diane S February 8, 2009, 9:11 PM

This is very good advice. I haven’t been laid off yet but the probability is high. The company that I work for is laying off 70 workers and sending the jobs offshore. The kicker…we will have to train our replacements and the company has asked if we are willing to travel overseas to train in their work environment. It is a stressful time for me and my coworkers as the company has not yet told any of us when or if we will be let go.

Marel May 21, 2011, 1:04 PM

You’ve hit the ball out the park! Icrniedble!

Paulina May 22, 2011, 11:43 AM

Hey, good to find someone who argees with me. GMTA.

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