What NOT To Do After Becoming Unemployed


Losing your job can be a very traumatic experience. Feeling hurt, overwhelmed and lost as you try to get your career back on track is completely normal after such a huge, and usually unexpected change. However, it’s important to take a proactive and well-informed approach to this kind of setback, rather than wallowing in the loss or letting your emotions get the best of you. Here are some of the big “don’ts” you need to avoid after finding yourself out of work.

Delay Applying for Unemployment

After an application to unemployment benefit is accepted, it can take weeks or even months for the benefits to actually come through. The government, obviously, has a lot on its plate, and can take a long time to process applications like this. There may be even more delays if the relevant departments factor in time based on the severance package you got from your last workplace. It’s understandable that you may be a little too proud to file an application as soon as you know you’re out of work, but this is something that you really can’t afford to put off. If you find you might need unemployment benefits, don’t delay signing up!

Talking Trash About your Last Employer

Having lost your job, you might be extremely bitter, and tempted to bad-mouth the employer who just “had to let you go”. As powerful as the urge may be, try to avoid talking trash about them, especially when it comes to social media and other online channels. That’s not to say you can’t be proactive about any abuses you suffered. If you lost your job due to your boss’s health and safety negligence, by all means manage your personal injury with a team of professional lawyers. However, you should be taking this action with a cool head, and avoid slandering your old boss at all costs. You never know when the same company will have new openings, and will want to bring your skills back into the team. Even if you’d never go back to your old company in a million years, running your mouth can generally be very dangerous, and may wind up doing serious damage to your professional reputation.

Liquidating your 401(k) Straight Away

If you’ve had a steady income for a long time, then obviously not knowing where the next paycheque is going to come from is a very scary experience. Still, it’s important to avoid panicking, and to leave your investment and retirement accounts alone for the time being. If you let the pressure get to you and start cashing out these assets to early, it can come back to bite you in a very severe way. Resist whatever urges you’re feeling, and form a reasonable plan utilizing the resources you already have. Do you have a severance package you can stretch out, or compensation from any unused holiday? Do you have savings that you can break into for the next few months? Be resourceful, and do your best to avoid breaking into any of your nest eggs.

Beth Jones is a valued contributor to various blogs.

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