Prolonged Unemployment

Losing a job is unpleasant, but isn’t the end of the world.

Some situations will make your unemployment situation far more severe:
  • Children or other family members who depend on your income
  • Criminal history, especially if it was within the past few years
  • Multiple recent short-term jobs, which would imply instability to a potential hiring manager
  • A shortage of skills proportional to your age (e.g., a college graduate who can’t clean a gutter)
  • Failing to have money saved for the situation

As soon as your termination is certain, ask all relevant questions to your HR department:
  1. When do I receive my last paycheck?
  2. Will I receive any severance pay?
  3. How long will I have to exercise my company stock options, and what will happen to my 401(k)?
  4. Does the company offer healthcare coverage after my last day, and if so, for how long?
  5. Will you provide a reference for me?
  6. How can I receive copies of my performance reviews, and when?

As soon as you lose your job, shift to a survival lifestyle:
  • You can withstand extreme scarcity if you only buy what you need and adapt to living with less.
    • Pay minimum debt payments.
    • Stop spending on any luxuries or maintaining your social life.
  • Unless it nearly guarantees employment, postpone all major life decisions, especially about marriage, houses, or children.

Scammers target desperate, poor, unemployed people with “job offers”, so watch for anything suspicious:
  • Email-only communications
  • A vague job description
  • Unreasonably high pay for the work involved
  • They’re requesting for money or “administration fees”

If you receive severance pay or government unemployment, don’t treat it as guaranteed:
  • Stockpile all your money until the next job comes in.
  • The unemployment appeals process is often tedious and unpredictable, so research before expecting it.

Treat every dollar you own as an investment in your job search.

Immediately look for another job

You’re setting yourself up to fail if you pursue hobbies or a small business while unemployed:
  • Hobbies take tons of time and distract from the job search.
  • Small businesses take tons of time and money for them to become profitable.

If you’re on a work visa, find any other employment:
  • Sometimes a fast food job is perfectly sufficient to meet an employment requirement.
  • The issue is more about the legal requirements for staying in the area than money.

You might see the unemployment as God’s will and may want to pursue full-time ministry:
  • While discovering God is easiest in the darkest period of your life, it’s a terrible place to make a far-reaching decision, so take each day at a time and don’t make long-term commitments until you’re in a safer place.
  • Physical success is loosely connected to spiritual success, so humbly consider your record so far.
  • If you weren’t successful in your current career path, becoming a professional minister will likely destroy any long-term faithfulness in others toward the deity you represent.

Look outside your work experience

Before considering your career, you need a job that lets you survive, so take any job in any industry.

Look for any work you can do until you find stable employment:
  • If you’re creative, you can find tons of side work.
    • Search dumpsters for broken items, then fix and sell them.
    • Check the gig section of Craigslist and other online classified sections.
    • Since you have plenty of free time, learn a universally marketable skill you can take anywhere.
  • If you start liking the side work, consider how much work you’d need to replace your lost job and never hunt for a job again!
  • Artistic skills are usually low-demand and based heavily on popularity, so don’t expect them to help much.

Sometimes, you can’t go back to your role or industry:
  • Company cutbacks might show the industry itself is slowing.
  • If you were laid off, modern technology may have made your skills obsolete.
  • If you’re fired and have damaged your reputation enough, the community of the entire industry may excommunicate you.

Many industries are always looking for people willing to work:

Consider moving for work:

Prepare for an alternative lifestyle

Be prepared to handle the consequences of prolonged unemployment.

However, if you can climb out of it with your dignity, you’ve built a success story that can empower your future achievements!