Coping with Unemployment
Finding Support and Telling Your Family When You’ve Been Laid-Off
You’ve been laid off from your job. It could go one of two ways—some people are simply just fine, saw it coming, have a few bucks put away for a rainy day, may even have a good friend or family member ready to put them right into a job somewhere else.
If you’re like the millions of other Americans suddenly dropped from the company pay-roll you could have a whole Pandora’s box of emotions and psychoses firing off in your brain.
*As of January 2009, 11.6 MILLION Americans were unemployed. 4.1 MILLION of them have become unemployed since January 2008. 3.7 MILLION have been unemployed “less than 5 weeks.” (Bureau of Labor Statistics)
Is Your Unemployed Brain Going Into Panic-Mode?
Are you afraid to tell your family, your spouse, your friends, your significant other that you’ve been “let go” from your job?
How will they react, how are you going to pay the bills now, what about food on the table, house payment, rent, utilities, doctor bills, gas in the car, child care…..? These are the kinds of questions that can wake you from a deep sleep in the middle of the night, lying in a cold sweat, heart pounding and scared to death.
How To Tell Your Family You’re Unemployed
Being unemployed is incredibly stressful. It takes its toll on you, physically and mentally but it also can wreak havoc with your home life, family and personal relationships if you don’t handle it right. If curling up into the fetal position isn’t working for you try these tips for managing your employment situation:
#1 Lay-off is not your fault.
Millions of American workers, really good employees, have been laid-off across the country. This is no isolated event that singled you out. Truth is, most managers and supervisors with any kind of attachment to their employees have very real difficulties making lay-off decisions—it’s not personal. Most resort to very logical factors: last 10 employees hired, smallest office group, part-time employees.
#2 Don’t try to keep your job lay-off a secret from your family.
Share your situation with a supportive spouse, partner, room-mate, best friend, sister or brother, mother or father. Talk candidly about your fears. Don’t try to shoulder the burden alone. Why go through that stress all by yourself? The longer you wait to discuss a job lay-off the worse it will seem to you. As soon as you’re given the “pink slip” share what happened with others.
#3 Make a Plan.
Sit down with your family, spouse, etc. and sketch out a plan that makes sense for cutting back on unnecessary expenses. What can you do today, tomorrow, next week, and next month that will make small, but measurable improvements in your situation? This type of activity puts you back in the position as decision-maker, it gives you back some of the “control” you may feel you’ve lost in your career and your life. Start making smart decisions about your current situation.
Maybe you never thought you’d be laid-off. Or maybe you were unemployed once and swore you’d never be in that boat again. Maybe in the past you’ve looked a little down on those who have been let go from jobs. Now is the time to make real world adjustments to your perceptions, about yourself and about others. It’s still your life.
If you’re unemployed or recently been laid-off—welcome to the club. You’re not alone by a long shot. With our family, friends, and community – we will get through this together.