Career Advice

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

May 15, 2020 7 min read


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

Read­ing Time: 7 min­utes

The COVID-19 pan¬≠dem¬≠ic has affect¬≠ed an unusu¬≠al amount of indi¬≠vid¬≠u¬≠als around the world. It has influ¬≠enced every¬≠thing we have a ten¬≠den¬≠cy to take for grant¬≠ed ‚ÄĒ our loved ones, our mor¬≠tal¬≠i¬≠ty, and yes, even our jobs. Dur¬≠ing an eco¬≠nom¬≠ic down¬≠turn, one of the pri¬≠ma¬≠ry things com¬≠pa¬≠nies do to cut costs is ‚ÄĒ reduce their staff. The finan¬≠cial impact of COVID-19 is being felt glob¬≠al¬≠ly across dif¬≠fer¬≠ent indus¬≠tries. Many com¬≠pa¬≠nies and small busi¬≠ness¬≠es are forced to either close tem¬≠porar¬≠i¬≠ly or permanently.

As a result, count¬≠less employ¬≠ees have been either laid off, fur¬≠loughed, or received a salary cut. Being laid off is nev¬≠er an easy thing to deal with. Espe¬≠cial¬≠ly dur¬≠ing a glob¬≠al cri¬≠sis, the par¬≠a¬≠lyz¬≠ing fear of the unknown tends to get the bet¬≠ter of us. But that is exact¬≠ly the kind of thing one should not give into.

If you have been laid off from your com¬≠pa¬≠ny, keep in mind you are not in this alone. And as easy as it might be to hide under your cov¬≠ers away from the world ‚ÄĒ now is the time to be head¬≠strong and take con¬≠trol of things.

Communicate With Your Employer

The very first thing you need to be sure of is the com¬≠mu¬≠ni¬≠ca¬≠tion between you and your employ¬≠er. You need to under¬≠stand if you are being laid off or if you are being fur¬≠loughed. To some peo¬≠ple, there might not be much dif¬≠fer¬≠ence between the two. In either case, you are not get¬≠ting your salary. But there is one major dif¬≠fer¬≠ence ‚ÄĒ and that can help you deter¬≠mine 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.

Whichev¬≠er the case might be, you need to ensure you have clar¬≠i¬≠ty about your employ¬≠ment sta¬≠tus before you start mak¬≠ing new plans and upcom¬≠ing goals.

Manage Your Current Expenses

For most peo¬≠ple, the biggest ques¬≠tion between the time they have been laid off till they find some¬≠thing new is ‚ÄĒ how to man¬≠age expens¬≠es? Sav¬≠ings can only take you so far ‚ÄĒ but it is worth some¬≠thing for sure. You need to fig¬≠ure out a way to do some cost-cut¬≠ting per¬≠son¬≠al¬≠ly. Hence, you must plan your short term bud¬≠get goals till the time you are back on your feet again. This is main¬≠ly in terms of man¬≠ag¬≠ing your dai¬≠ly and month¬≠ly 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 cre¬≠at¬≠ing bud¬≠gets and keep¬≠ing track of your expens¬≠es is not your forte, try using per¬≠son¬≠al finance apps that make it easy and man¬≠age¬≠able. Wal¬≠ly and Mint are some of the most effi¬≠cient apps that you can use as a begin¬≠ner. If you are not a fan of apps and pre¬≠fer a more man¬≠u¬≠al approach ‚ÄĒ you can try cre¬≠at¬≠ing a bud¬≠get spread¬≠sheet. Nerd¬≠wal¬≠let pro¬≠vides a pre-made bud¬≠get work¬≠sheet 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 fig¬≠ured out what you real¬≠ly want, the next steps will come more eas¬≠i¬≠ly. For instance, you want to find a new job ‚ÄĒ but do you want to make a change? Or do you want to look for a sim¬≠i¬≠lar role? If you wish to change your indus¬≠try, do you have all the skills and require¬≠ments need¬≠ed to make this change? Do you wish to relocate?

You need to fig¬≠ure out the answers to all such pos¬≠si¬≠ble ques¬≠tions. Also, try to stick to a sched¬≠ule even if you don‚Äôt have a full-time job at the moment. It is easy to let things go and binge-watch your favorite series till 4 AM ‚ÄĒ but keep¬≠ing on track of things will keep you more alert and ener¬≠gized. And if you want to make a game plan, you need to be alert.

So get up on time every day as you nor¬≠mal¬≠ly would, take a show¬≠er, get dressed, have a good break¬≠fast, and then get on with what¬≠ev¬≠er plans you have made for the day. It could be as sim¬≠ple as updat¬≠ing your resume, or read¬≠ing a book, or cook¬≠ing some¬≠thing new. Always have things to look for¬≠ward to.

Do Industry Research

The impact of COVID-19 has been unprece¬≠dent¬≠ed and nobody knows what the future holds. So if it seems like¬≠ly that it will take a while before your indus¬≠try gets back to hir¬≠ing more peo¬≠ple, maybe you can find a tem¬≠po¬≠rary gig till then. The spread of this virus has had dis¬≠tinct effects on dis¬≠tinct indus¬≠tries. While on hand peo¬≠ple are los¬≠ing their jobs, on the oth¬≠er hand ‚ÄĒ there is a require¬≠ment for more peo¬≠ple in cer¬≠tain sec¬≠tors. Doing indus¬≠try research will help you find these opportunities.

Take some time out from your every¬≠day rou¬≠tine and con¬≠duct thor¬≠ough research to dis¬≠cov¬≠er which com¬≠pa¬≠nies are hir¬≠ing. That being said, if you are able to find oppor¬≠tu¬≠ni¬≠ties in your field ‚ÄĒ do not hes¬≠i¬≠tate in apply¬≠ing for them too. In fact, it is bet¬≠ter to keep your search on for your ide¬≠al role. You nev¬≠er 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‚Äôt have to com¬≠mute to work every day and the whole coun¬≠try is on lock¬≠down, take this as an oppor¬≠tu¬≠ni¬≠ty to learn new skills or pol¬≠ish exist¬≠ing ones. Don‚Äôt let your¬≠self get rusty just because you are at home. Make a list of skills that you picked up at your job and work on enhanc¬≠ing them fur¬≠ther. Or focus on the skill you still haven‚Äôt had a chance to learn but will ben¬≠e¬≠fit your career immense¬≠ly. You can even pick up a new hob¬≠by ‚ÄĒ learn how to play an instru¬≠ment, take online art class¬≠es, 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 your¬≠self every day and do things that make you hap¬≠py. Whether it is doing yoga, drink¬≠ing tea in your bal¬≠cony, med¬≠i¬≠tat¬≠ing first thing in the morn¬≠ing, writ¬≠ing in your jour¬≠nal, or any oth¬≠er activ¬≠i¬≠ty you like to do in your ‚Äúme‚ÄĚ time. Make sure you take out time for it every day. Try using Head¬≠space for med¬≠i¬≠ta¬≠tion and stress release exer¬≠cis¬≠es. You can also use Mind¬≠Shift to help with anxiety.

Rely on your rela¬≠tion¬≠ships, call your par¬≠ents, friends, do group video calls. Nev¬≠er under¬≠es¬≠ti¬≠mate the pow¬≠er of a good con¬≠ver¬≠sa¬≠tion with a loved one ‚ÄĒ it can lift your mood like noth¬≠ing 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.