Okay, let’s say the Boss came into your office or asks you to come into hers and she says, ‘Well, times have been real bad. We’ve all had to make cutbacks.’ BTW if the Boss ever shows up with someone from Human Resources don’t even wait for them to speak. Just start packing up.
What do you do next?
I’ve been laid off a number of times. I hate to say you get used to it. You don’t. It’s never easy, but there is something to be said for not being too vested in your job. There’s also something to be said to burning bridges sometimes. I mean who would want the bastard to have a way to get over to you. Some bridges are best burned. That’s just me though. And I know it’s bad advice.
I can really feel for people, getting laid off is as shocking to a family as a death or divorce. If you’ve been working the same job for 15, 20 or 30 years what else do you know. You’d be like a prisoner who spent his entire adult life in prison and then upon his release steals a pack of gum to get sent back. If you’ve been somewhere for 15+ years what else do you know? Then if you have kids and get laid off…
Well what do you do now that you’re driving home and wondering how to tell your husband, wife, parents, girlfriend, boyfriend or roommates? Well in no particular order: collect unemployment, stay positive, assess the situation, network, budget/debt management, look for jobs, develop a cash business, keep a schedule and exercise.
1. Collect unemployment - first things first. Get in touch with your state’s department of employment assistance or transitional assistance or whatever government name they have for it and open a file. if you can do it on-line then do it on-line. If you need to do it by phone then make sure that your portable phone is fully charged before you call. Use a speakerphone so that you can do other stuff while you wait on hold for an hour. If they call, return their phone calls. If you need to fill out a form or take a class then do it as fast as possible. Keep track of who you speak with and what was said. You have time now. If you need to keep a log of your job search then do it. You’ll need to update your claim every week. Make sure that you do it. Otherwise your claim will be closed and you’ll have to start from scratch again. Don’t ever lie to the unemployment people. It’s a serious offense and even with everything they got going on now they like nothing better than to screw with you. Don’t lie to them. They have secret Government ways of finding out. So treat collecting unemployment as a job. You’re lucky to be getting it so make sure you do what they ask of you. Check out what option you have for health insurance. Maybe it’s COBRA or some state policy.
2. Stay positive - Tough to do when you’re worrying about your next meal, paying the rent or getting necessary medicine, but you have to do your best. Maybe it’s going to church, temple or the mosque. For me it’s walking my dog and spending time outside. I’ve found over my short life that some people, places, events and things are energy vacuums. You need to avoid energy vacuums. If you know a particular person is going to give you hard time about something then avoid them. If your mother or your ex always dumps on you then don’t give them the opportunity. You don’t want to be sitting around all day with other unemployed people who are negative. If they are positive and doing and going and making things happy or happening then that’s another story. Avoid the energy sucks in your life. You know who or what they are.
3. Assess the situation - Spend some time just figuring out where you are at and how you got there. Where did you think you would be at this point in your life and where you are at. What’s changed and what hasn’t. Should you consider moving someplace different to increase your chance of finding work? Go to school? The state may pay. Get some retraining or learn a new skill maybe. Maybe you need to change your living arrangements or sell the boat and jet skis. Don’t become an unwitting observer of your own life.
4. Network - Now is time to get out there. Have any favors that people owe you or friends in position to hire you? You need to speak with everyone you meet. You never know where one simple hello may lead. The more you do the more people you meet, so do more. Just because you are unemployed it doesn’t mean that you should sit at home. Volunteer at the town kennel or the senior center. The Internet, Facebook and Myspace are great to network. If you belong to any organizations or associations like the VFW, AmVets, Italian American Club, Masons or Order of the Arrow than work it. Check on your fraternity brothers or sorority sisters. Now isn’t the time to be hiding out in your mountain top bunker by yourself.
5. Budget/debt management - You have to try and get your finances in as best shape as possible. If you have the where with all to write out a budget then do it. Get an understanding of how much income you are taking in every month and what your monthly expenses are. If you need to, for a week keep track of every cent you spend and write it down in a little notebook. Set priorities for your bills and debts. Make sure you put unsecured creditors last. That’d be like credit card companies. Try and figure out where you can cut back. Forget about the coffee out everyday. It’s bad for the environment anyways. Forget about the lottery or going out to eat. Only you know where you can cut back. Don’t ever go shopping without a list. Use coupons if you have the patience. Make shopping lists. Sell your junk that is in your shed or closet. Have a yard sale or post crap on E-Bay.
6. Look for jobs - Personally, I never like job fairs. It’s like ants at a picnic. Use the Internet and sites like Craigslist.org. If you went to college check with the alumni folks at your alma mater. Check USAjobs.gov. Most states and municipalities are hurting, but they’re still hiring who they need. Consider part-time work or a few part-time jobs. I like the idea of having a number of part-time jobs, diversification of your income is good. Looking for a job is a job. You really should try and spend an two or three hours at least five days a week looking for a job. It takes a lot of time and it sucks.
7. Develop cash business - If you’ve always wanted to “follow your heart” or try something different and never had the balls to actually do it, now may be the time. I believe just about anyone can accomplish just about anything they set their mind to. You can too. If you’ve always wanted to write a book, become a taxidermist or whatever else it is, then think about turning it into a business. Turn your hobbies into a business. In our New Economy v.2 having an independent income stream will be a very good thing indeed. Don’t get all crazy though and start spending a bunch of money you don’t have to make money. If you plan on “investing” in tools, equipment or such for a new business, don’t do it without first developing a detailed business plan. That said though, look around your house, you already have the tools for your hobbies, sports and recreational activities. Teach people to tie flies. Put in vegetable gardens for people. Fix bicycles. Tutor someone’s kids. Babysit or take care of someone’s elderly parents. Maybe run errands or clean houses. Fix cars for folks. Cook meals for working people so when they get home from work dinner is already made. Specialize in small engine repair. Catch fish and sell em to your neighbors. Set up your own little farm stand or sell bouquets of flowers. Maybe learn how to homebrew beer and wine. Mow lawns or trim hedges. Your imagination and other people’s doubts are your only limitations. If you’ve had a desk job your whole adult life you’ll be pleasantly surprised how nice it is to do something different and maybe move around for a change.
8. Keep a schedule - You can’t be sleeping all day. You may not have a paying job, but you can still be useful and contribute. Try to wake up and go to bed the same times each day. Don’t stay up all night playing video games. Make Mondays be a drag and look forward to Fridays. Clean the house. Cook meals. Go to the library. Get out. Keep busy and make your unemployment be like a job. Make a schedule so you get out of the house everyday to get the newspaper, look for jobs or walk the neighborhood. Make a list of things that need to be done around your home - filing, painting, cleaning, snaking the drains. Have meals at regular times. Set your alarm clock, wake up, shower and shave. You too ladies. You can’t start living like a pirate now, no matter how nice it sounds. Unless of course it’s a pirate you want to be then be the best damn pirate you can, be the captain of other pirates and be a pirate’s pirate. Anyways…
9. Exercise - This is a biggie. You have to get some exercise everyday. You have the time now so there is no excuse. Exercise will relieve stress, help you sleep better and keep you healthy. Ideally, You Get Outside Every Day so you get some fresh air and sunshine. Walking is great exercise. Explore trails near your house. Do stuff around your yard. If you are lying awake in bed at night worrying you aren’t exercising enough.
If you are not laid off yet: don’t get your personal identity from your job, arrive early, don’t surf the Net at work. Start saving a little cash every pay period. Pay down your secured debt as much as possible. Whatever your job is, keep current on new trends or breakthroughs. Take classes. Start buying some extra food and other non-perishables like toilet paper, toothpaste, laundry detergent and so on to store. If you are working and having a tough time meeting your bills then make some changes while you still have steady income. I’m not telling you what to do, but if you are still contributing to a 401k or 403b really think about what you are doing. Especially if you are like me and don’t know what you are doing. The days of buying and holding are behind us.
Get outside everyday!
I was out skiing. There really isn’t much snow left but I know the last places that melt.
Look how blue that sky is and the way the blue changes from kind of white near the horizon to bright blue of the heavens. Crazy. Anyways, this big field is actually sort of a bowl. It doesn’t look very steep, but I guarantee if you aren’t a good cross country skier you will fall. So when I ski this area I kind of follow the tree line on the left down to the bottom of the little slope. At the bottom of this little hill is a good size pond. It’s out of the picture to the right. Then I ski back up and ski down again a bunch of times.
So at the bottom of the hill lo n’ behold what do I see………………but a………………
Chicken of the Woods! I don’t eat the stuff, but it is a good find nonetheless. Believe me, what I eat is directly related to my level of hunger. No offense, but I would eat you too if I was hungry enough. And I would expect no less from you. Anyways, Chicken of the Woods is pretty unique looking as far as wild edible mushrooms go. I’m not one to collect mushrooms, but there really isn’t anything else that looks like this that is poisonous. They grow on trees, even dead trees. They’re orange and yellow. They don’t have gills. They’re best to eat when young. You can cut the edges off of them. That’s where the best taste is. I read that you should avoid the ones that grow on conifers. As with all wild edibles, test them first before eating in quantities.
YOU GOTTA DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH though until you are comfortable with what you know. Don’t Eff around with mushrooms. You have to put in the research time or you could die, and then what good will all those high capacity magazines do for you? Just kidding. You can keep them ………..for now.
Here’s another picture. You’ve seen these haven’t you? Google Chicken of the Woods and then commit it to memory.