Career Advice

How To Deal With Being Laid Off Due To COVID-198 min read

May 15, 2020 7 min read

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How To Deal With Being Laid Off Due To COVID-198 min read

Read­ing Time: 7 min­utes

The COVID-19 pan­dem­ic has affect­ed an unusu­al amount of indi­vid­u­als around the world. It has influ­enced every­thing we have a ten­den­cy to take for grant­ed — our loved ones, our mor­tal­i­ty, and yes, even our jobs. Dur­ing an eco­nom­ic down­turn, one of the pri­ma­ry things com­pa­nies do to cut costs is — reduce their staff. The finan­cial impact of COVID-19 is being felt glob­al­ly across dif­fer­ent indus­tries. Many com­pa­nies and small busi­ness­es are forced to either close tem­porar­i­ly or per­ma­nent­ly.

As a result, count­less employ­ees have been either laid off, fur­loughed, or received a salary cut. Being laid off is nev­er an easy thing to deal with. Espe­cial­ly dur­ing a glob­al cri­sis, the par­a­lyz­ing fear of the unknown tends to get the bet­ter of us. But that is exact­ly the kind of thing one should not give into.

If you have been laid off from your com­pa­ny, keep in mind you are not in this alone. And as easy as it might be to hide under your cov­ers away from the world — now is the time to be head­strong and take con­trol of things.

Communicate With Your Employer

The very first thing you need to be sure of is the com­mu­ni­ca­tion between you and your employ­er. You need to under­stand if you are being laid off or if you are being fur­loughed. To some peo­ple, there might not be much dif­fer­ence between the two. In either case, you are not get­ting your salary. But there is one major dif­fer­ence — and that can help you deter­mine your next course of steps.

Being fur­loughed means you are being sent on tem­po­rary unpaid leave from work. This means the com­pa­ny even­tu­al­ly plans on hav­ing you back on board as a salaried employ­ee in the future. Being laid off, on the oth­er hand, means a work­er’s employ­ment has been per­ma­nent­ly ter­mi­nat­ed from the com­pa­ny. Make sure you are both on the same page and there has been no mis­com­mu­ni­ca­tion about whether you are being laid off or fur­loughed.

Whichev­er the case might be, you need to ensure you have clar­i­ty about your employ­ment sta­tus before you start mak­ing new plans and upcom­ing goals.

Manage Your Current Expenses

For most peo­ple, the biggest ques­tion between the time they have been laid off till they find some­thing new is — how to man­age expens­es? Sav­ings can only take you so far — but it is worth some­thing for sure. You need to fig­ure out a way to do some cost-cut­ting per­son­al­ly. Hence, you must plan your short term bud­get goals till the time you are back on your feet again. This is main­ly in terms of man­ag­ing your dai­ly and month­ly expens­es.

Cre­ate a list of all of your month­ly as well as dai­ly expens­es. Be it for gro­ceries, com­mut­ing, rent, bills, house help pay­ment, month­ly sub­scrip­tions, and so on. Now cir­cle out all the expens­es that you can min­i­mize or can do with­out for a lit­tle while. For instance, maybe you don’t need a sub­scrip­tion to Ama­zon Prime, Net­flix, Hulu, as well as Apple TV. Choose one and cross off the rest. Talk to your land­lord about some relax­ation in the rent. Make them under­stand your sit­u­a­tion. In fact, many states have request­ed home­own­ers to pro­vide rent relax­ation for ten­ants.

If cre­at­ing bud­gets and keep­ing track of your expens­es is not your forte, try using per­son­al finance apps that make it easy and man­age­able. Wal­ly and Mint are some of the most effi­cient apps that you can use as a begin­ner. If you are not a fan of apps and pre­fer a more man­u­al approach — you can try cre­at­ing a bud­get spread­sheet. Nerd­wal­let pro­vides a pre-made bud­get work­sheet that you can use.

Make A Game Plan

Once you have had a moment or two to process the changes, it is time to sit down and make a game plan. This should include what you wish to achieve in terms of your career in the upcom­ing times. Eval­u­ate your inter­ests, skills, needs, as well as oth­er pref­er­ences.

Once you have fig­ured out what you real­ly want, the next steps will come more eas­i­ly. For instance, you want to find a new job — but do you want to make a change? Or do you want to look for a sim­i­lar role? If you wish to change your indus­try, do you have all the skills and require­ments need­ed to make this change? Do you wish to relo­cate?

You need to fig­ure out the answers to all such pos­si­ble ques­tions. Also, try to stick to a sched­ule even if you don’t have a full-time job at the moment. It is easy to let things go and binge-watch your favorite series till 4 AM — but keep­ing on track of things will keep you more alert and ener­gized. And if you want to make a game plan, you need to be alert.

So get up on time every day as you nor­mal­ly would, take a show­er, get dressed, have a good break­fast, and then get on with what­ev­er plans you have made for the day. It could be as sim­ple as updat­ing your resume, or read­ing a book, or cook­ing some­thing new. Always have things to look for­ward to.

Do Industry Research

The impact of COVID-19 has been unprece­dent­ed and nobody knows what the future holds. So if it seems like­ly that it will take a while before your indus­try gets back to hir­ing more peo­ple, maybe you can find a tem­po­rary gig till then. The spread of this virus has had dis­tinct effects on dis­tinct indus­tries. While on hand peo­ple are los­ing their jobs, on the oth­er hand — there is a require­ment for more peo­ple in cer­tain sec­tors. Doing indus­try research will help you find these oppor­tu­ni­ties.

Take some time out from your every­day rou­tine and con­duct thor­ough research to dis­cov­er which com­pa­nies are hir­ing. That being said, if you are able to find oppor­tu­ni­ties in your field — do not hes­i­tate in apply­ing for them too. In fact, it is bet­ter to keep your search on for your ide­al role. You nev­er know what you might come across unex­pect­ed­ly.

But for that, you have to put your­self out there. Keep in mind that los­ing your job does­n’t say any­thing about your abil­i­ties. This is just an unfor­tu­nate sit­u­a­tion that affect­ed the com­pa­ny’s eco­nom­ic con­di­tion. It does not mean you are not good at what you do. So, apply to a good num­ber of jobs every day and remain patient.

Improve Your Skills

Now that you don’t have to com­mute to work every day and the whole coun­try is on lock­down, take this as an oppor­tu­ni­ty to learn new skills or pol­ish exist­ing ones. Don’t let your­self get rusty just because you are at home. Make a list of skills that you picked up at your job and work on enhanc­ing them fur­ther. Or focus on the skill you still haven’t had a chance to learn but will ben­e­fit your career immense­ly. You can even pick up a new hob­by — learn how to play an instru­ment, take online art class­es, etc.

There are hun­dreds of resources avail­able online where you can reg­is­ter and take free online cours­es. These cours­es include cre­ative writ­ing, graph­ic design, ani­ma­tion, and thou­sands of oth­er options. Go for what suits your pro­file the best, or what­ev­er you wish to learn. In fact, YouTube also serves as a help­ful tool with video tuto­ri­als. You can use apps like Duolin­go for learn­ing a new lan­guage with the help of fun activ­i­ties.

You have to keep your brain active and not go into a slump. It is okay to have unpro­duc­tive days but don’t let it become a habit. Learn­ing new skills will help you a great deal in find­ing a bet­ter offer than you orig­i­nal­ly had. And even if you plan on switch­ing indus­tries, learn­ing new skills is always a good addi­tion to your resume. Plus it is an excel­lent way to keep your­self busy when you are in lock­down.

Keep A Check On Your Mental Health

Being laid off is an over­whelm­ing expe­ri­ence for the best of us. And espe­cial­ly in these times, when you have to go into self-iso­la­tion, it is nec­es­sary to look after your­self and care for your men­tal health. Many peo­ple are unable to keep a pos­i­tive out­look about it and strug­gle with their real­i­ty every day. Plan­ning for an uncer­tain future can only cause more stress.

This is why you need to take out time for your­self every day and do things that make you hap­py. Whether it is doing yoga, drink­ing tea in your bal­cony, med­i­tat­ing first thing in the morn­ing, writ­ing in your jour­nal, or any oth­er activ­i­ty you like to do in your “me” time. Make sure you take out time for it every day. Try using Head­space for med­i­ta­tion and stress release exer­cis­es. You can also use Mind­Shift to help with anx­i­ety.

Rely on your rela­tion­ships, call your par­ents, friends, do group video calls. Nev­er under­es­ti­mate the pow­er of a good con­ver­sa­tion with a loved one — it can lift your mood like noth­ing else.

Final Words

Being unem­ployed is nev­er easy, let alone dur­ing a glob­al cri­sis. Once you have tak­en a beat to process your new sit­u­a­tion, use these tips to get back to rou­tine and make things hap­pen for your­self. You might have lost your job but this is a chance to look for­ward to find­ing your foot­ing in a new and bet­ter posi­tion.

Washija is a content specialist at Receptix. She has an MBA in Tourism and a passion for creating web content. She is an avid reader, a traveler, and a versatile writer.