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What To Do When You Lose Your Job

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OKLAHOMA CITY -

Most people don't expect to lose their job and when it happens, several emotions can play out such as shock, confusion, denial and anger. Experts say the worst thing you can do is nothing.

According to Michael Pfaff, a licensed counselor, there are several things you should do following a job loss:

  • Keep an established routine.
  • Stay active by volunteering or freelancing while looking for a new job.
  • Take care of yourself, eat healthy, and get some exercise and sleep.
  • Reflect back on the job. What are some things you did and didn't like about it? And take that into consideration while looking for your next opportunity.
  • Have a support system through family and friends or a professional counselor.

"A lot of times we just want to be heard, we just want to be understood that we're in a rough place, we're going to get out of it but we're going to be okay," Pfaff said.

Most people are not only unprepared for a job loss emotionally but also financially. Financial experts say most people do not have an emergency fund. So, once you're faced with no longer earning a paycheck, there are some actions you can take to help:

  • Cut out all unnecessary expenses
  • Determine your benefits - are you eligible for unemployment?
  • Sell some stuff, look for assets you can liquidate quickly
  • Explore the gig economy - is there a short-term job you could do to fill the gap?
  • Contact your creditors in stages.

"Ask for a hardship program if you need it, ask to defer a payment if you need it but I don't think you want to immediately write all of your creditors and let them know that you've lost your job because it might just be a week or two when you find another one," said Jennifer Wallis, a licensed financial advisor.

Finally, don't stay idle, get back out there. Job recruiters say the key to landing that next job is networking. You should also ask yourself these three questions when looking at a new opportunity.

  1. Is this a job I really want?
  2. Will I get as much as I give from the company?
  3. And is this a place I could retire?

If the answer is yes to all three, then you'll come out ahead.

"It may not mean making more money, it may mean making a lateral or even less-than-lateral transition to get into a job stream you really want to be in," said James Farris with James Farris Associates.

However, to get there you have to be aggressive in your job search, keep your resume always up to date and polish up on your interview skills.

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