BY DARYL C. HANNAH
Lost Your Job? 6 Ways to
Survive the Recession
There’s no getting around it: We are in a recession and
companies are laying people off. You may just be one of
the unlucky employees shown the door. So how do you
respond to the loss and what steps should you take to
Here are six steps to make the best out of a
Get your financial affairs in order before
walking out the door.
If you find yourself suddenly terminated, your initial
urge may be to grab your belongings and leave
quickly, either out of anger, frustration or embarrassment. But you need to resist that urge. You have
some business to handle before you walk out the
door for the final time.
“You should make time to get your affairs in
order,” says She-Lia Henry, controller at DiversityInc.
“Decide what you’re going to do with your health
benefits and your 401(k). If you’re a higher-ranking
executive, there might be a buyout package to negotiate. After that, you need to see if you’re eligible for
unemployment and, if so, how soon. There are a lot
of details to take care of.
“The employee should understand what the
company’s policy is pertaining to their balance in the
401(k) plan,” she says. For instance, “Under federal
law, participants with less than a $5,000 vested balance
can be forced to cash out or immediately roll over their
company 401(k) into an independent plan.”
Take time to exhale.
Your first impulse will be to jump back into the job
market immediately. And because of financial constraints, you may have little choice. But if at all possible, take time to regroup before jumping into that
next position, advises Michael T. Robinson, founder
“Understand that it’s going to hurt. It’s going to
hurt real bad,” says Robinson. “Losing a job is along
the magnitude of breaking up with a spouse. You’re
going to need recovery time.”
If you’re financially able, take a few weeks before
you get into your search so you don’t carry any old
baggage along with you, he advises. “You might be
bitter and still carry some anger against your old
employer. The worst thing you can do is go in for an
interview and find yourself whining and complaining
about your last company. You’ll never get a job.”
Make a budget and stick to it.
Say goodbye to the $4.50 cup of cappuccino from Starbucks. Take a good look at your expenses and cut back
on or eliminate anything you can live without while
you’re between jobs.
“You’ve got to start refusing to spend money,” says
Robinson. “Most Americans are raised to be the ultimate consumer. And most of us—especially if we have
a regular paycheck—have learned to live way beyond
our means. So stop spending. Cut out anything that
isn’t absolutely essential to your survival.”
Dust off your résumé and polish your
If you’re suddenly looking for work after having been
locked up with one company for a number of years,
it’s likely your résumé could use some professional
For more financial information, visit www.DiversityInc.com/financial