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Those who probably will become unemployed must prepare themselves

Extended unemployment can be a traumatic experience.
Extended unemployment can be a traumatic experience.
Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

This article will discuss strategies that will make periods of unemployment shorter and less traumatic for unemployed people and their families. During this discussion, we will consider the example of Pete, who did not handle his unemployment well, and Nancy, who handled her unemployment much more effectively.

Pete did everything wrong. He had heard the rumors of coming layoffs, but he mentally denied their validity. When he no longer could deny that he would be let go, he became resentful and worked as little as possible. When he was laid off, he treated most of his time while drawing unemployment benefits as a vacation and did not start job hunting until his unemployment benefits were almost exhausted. After multiple job rejections, Pete withdrew and became depressed. Eventually, because of financial problems, he took a job that paid much less than his former job.

Nancy did everything right. She began looking for another job while she still was employed. She did not feel the shame that Pete felt about the layoffs. Thus, she talked with friends and family members about the anxiety she felt regarding the coming unemployment. These communications not only improved Nancy's emotional health, but also helped her to network for new job leads. Before she was laid off, she was offered a job that paid more money than her current job.

In spite of doing all the right things, not everyone is as lucky as Nancy. Many laid off people will go through a period of unemployment. To make this time as short and as painless as possible, trainer Dick Gaither recommends that those who will be laid off should:

  1. Work hard until they are laid off so that they can earn the best possible work evaluations and references.
  2. Apply for loans while still employed.
  3. Save vacation days for their cash in benefits.
  4. Use the company health plan to take care of needed operations or dental work.
  5. Take advantage of company outplacement programs, if available.
  6. Prepare severance package negotiation plans.
  7. Put into place some type of extension of health benefits.
  8. Keep job hunting from the very beginning of the unemployment benefits period.

Most American workers will have to change jobs more than ten times during their careers. Job change is definitely a skill that American workers should master.

How many times have you changed jobs during your career? What recommendations do you have for job changers?

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