Whether anticipated or not, the loss of regular income and a steady routine can be a big blow to your budget as well as your mental health. If you’ve lost your job, your first instinct might be to panic, but that won’t help. Instead, channel frustration or anxiety into quick action. In no time, you can get back on financial track and preserve your drive and confidence in the process.
Cut your spending
Each individual’s or family’s situation will be different. Maybe you have severance pay to cover you for a while, or maybe you have just a short time to figure out how to make ends meet. Whatever the scenario, go through your bills and cut any miscellaneous spending. If you’ve been ordering pricey takeout because of long work hours, change your habits immediately. If you have a cable bill, cut it and opt for a cheaper streaming service. Those are just a few examples. Be honest with yourself about needs and wants, and you can adequately trim excess.
Create a new budget
Make a new budget of the bills and living expenses you must maintain. Take a close look at your emergency fund and how far it will stretch on this new budget. That will give you the best picture of your financial health and make it clear if you need to do further cutting or find alternative solutions. This might seem like a scary process, but digging into your accounts and budget immediately will save you surprises down the road. It will also help you figure out if you need to borrow money or seek out a temporary job before finding your next dream position.
Take stock of your career
Take the time to reflect on whether you were happy in your previous job or if your interests have changed. You might be tempted to immediately send out your résumé in your current field, but if you weren’t enjoying your work or if the industry has issues, maybe it’s time to try something else or even branch out on your own. (Check out our advice for a successful midlife career change.)
Retool your résumé
Once you decide on your career path, you’ll know what route to take with your résumé. If you had your most recent job for a while, chances are the document you used to land it is a little dusty or outdated. Do some research on résumés in your target industry and revamp yours accordingly.
Make a plan for the future
Once you’ve got a perfected résumé, you’ll want to start getting it into the hands of potential employers. Or if you’re planning to go back to school or start your own business, you’ll be eager to move forward with that. Whichever your route, make a plan and start executing it. After a job loss or layoff your days are unexpectedly free and it can be easy to fall into a slump. It’s OK to take some time to spend with family or do something you enjoy, but don’t wait too long to tackle your next steps. Focusing on your plan of action will motivate and energize you, while also boosting your self-confidence.
Talk about it
Don’t forget to talk about the layoff or job loss with close friends or family members. Remember, you’re not alone. Others have gone through this situation and can relate. If you’re experiencing anxiety or depression, talk to a professional who can help.