So it's been about two weeks since I have been unemployed. Here's some tips
for anyone out there in this situation, or if you want to know what it's like:
Fuck all that shit out there that tells you to be optimistic, here's a real
life guide on how to survive unemployment, assuming that you are employable, and
you will get a new job, hopefully soon.
1) Assess your current financial situation. Do NOT pay your bills, you'll
need some cash to survive. Look at your current savings, look at your current
expenses. Most important, remember this: "The people you owe money to are
the ones with the problem, not you."
2) Call the unemployment office and start getting cash from them. I may be
unemployed for only a week or two but I've paid into it, so I'll take the cash.
I'm collecting about $1700 a month from unemployment right now, but if you don't
call them you get nothing. Do NOT take taxes on the unemployment checks, you
should be able to afford to pay the tax later. The no tax thing will give you
about $400 more a month.
3) Get things in order. After looking at what you have left in cash reserves,
limit any cash or out of pocket expenses to the things that you can not
otherwise put on credit, you will have a job again, you just have to prolong the
period that you can live on your reserves. In my case the only bill I can't pay
with credit is my rent. Unemployment covers that.
4) Buy a case of beer and a carton of smokes, if that's your thing. Start
cutting down on both. Unemployment does not mean you have to live extremely
frugal, just reasonably. Cancel that second phone line you don't use, cancel the
all-inclusive cable channels you get, cancel insurance on vehicles you aren't
using. Cut back but not to the point that would harm your ability to act
normally. I'll cancel the cable and the phone at the end of the month, you
usually pay for these services a month ahead of time so no reason on canceling
them early, call your people to check on this.
5) Pay only the bills that matter. These are, in order of importance: house
payments, car payments, auto insurance, credit card bills (and with credit card
bills, call them, tell them you are unemployed, pay less than the minimum, you
need credit). Utility bills are not important! Most utility companies will never
shut you off if you just call them and make a token payment of a few bucks a
month until you get employed. No harm to your credit, they are quite willing to
offset the payments, call them and ask. Loan payments and other credit payments
you'll have to find some way to deal with. I don't own a house, but if you do,
this is why you pay insurance on your mortgage, check into the insurance on your
mortgage and see if unemployment is covered (it probably is) .
6) Insurance: If you have a family, you really should look into COBRA
(in the US you can extend your employer's coverage of your employee plan
at your own cost). If you are on your own, there are many other options for
insurance, or at a minimum, emergency insurance. You have a few weeks to deal
7) 401K - If you are like me, you may have a 401K plan that you are worried
about losing when you leave your employer. Usually you can roll this over to a
new employer, should it be within 90 days of your termination. If you have a
loan against your current 401K plan, talk to a local Credit Union about a short
term loan between rollovers to avoid any cash out losses. No matter what, you
should be able to keep the current 401K plan or roll the plan into an IRA. Talk
to your 401K people about this, not your ex-employer.
8) Get a job - the above things should take you one day to asses and think
about, take a week off and get your shit together. Rewrite your resume and get
it out, to everyone you know. Call people you know in your business and ask them
if you can either use them as a reference or send them a resume.
9) One week of unemployment will drive you nuts, it sucks not working. If you
either haven't had an interview or a job by week two, you're not working
yourself, keep trying.