Recovering from a Layoff: Rebuilding Your Financial Future - America's Future Foundation

June 8, 2020

Career Advice

Recovering from a Layoff: Rebuilding Your Financial Future

By: Ashley Keimach

Losing your job is a tough pill to swallow. It can lead to anxiety and uncertainty, especially if you lost your job because of a pandemic. If you find yourself in this position, know that you’re not alone. According to the US Labor Department, new weekly unemployment claims peaked in late March at nearly 6.8 million, while the unemployment rate has continued to climb. Like many Americans, I found myself unemployed. With a newborn baby in the picture, I knew I needed a plan to stay afloat.

In my last blog post I shared three immediate steps I took to recover from my job loss. In this blog post I will share two additional steps I took and am continuing to take to ensure my financial future is safe.

Step #1 -Audit your skills and leverage your network for increased cash flow
The severity of your situation will determine how to best apply this strategy. If you are in a position where you need money fast, I would encourage you to file for unemployment. Under the CARES Act, unemployment has expanded to cover workers impacted by COVID-19, including workers who are not ordinarily eligible for unemployment benefits. Once that is hashed out, I would then focus on the skills you have that can be marketed to your network for contract or part-time work. Are you a good writer? Do you know how to edit videos? How about graphic design? Whatever your skills are, you can find someone out there looking to hire you. This is a great way to earn some income until your next job opportunity comes along. In some cases, this might even lead to your next permanent job!

If you are on LinkedIn, this is the perfect time to connect with your network. The great thing about this trying time is the compassion people are eager to lend out. This is a practical way to reinvent your career and ask for a helping hand for job opportunities and introductions. Do not be afraid to network with people on LinkedIn that you may not know very well. You will never know the opportunities available to you if you do not ask!

Step #2 – Use your downtime to reinvent your career and your finances
Being laid off has freed up so much time that was once absorbed into my job. Now that I’m stuck at home with essentially nothing to do, I can finally take the time to breath. Again, depending on the severity of your situation, you may not be in a position to truly take a break; however, whether it’s a day or a month, I strongly encourage you to take the time to reflect. Ask yourself the hard questions. What do I want to do next? What am I passionate about? What do I need to change when it comes to my personal finances? Has this situation shown me what I genuinely care about? These are examples of some reflective questions I encourage you to ask yourself. You might be surprised by your answers. You might find that you need to redirect your career and that is ok. Like the old Chinese Proverb says, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second-best time is now.” You can reflect on your past and see the times you could have picked better jobs or saved more money and beat yourself up over it; or, you can accept your past as a lesson and resolve to use this time to be better going forward. I personally choose to practice the latter; I hope you do the same!