Ten things to do if you lose your job

Unemployment is rising and the outlook looks bleak. Here are 10 things to remember if you have lost your job.

Written by Reuters | London | Published: February 12, 2009 4:56:57 pm

Unemployment is rising towards two million and the outlook looks bleak. Here are 10 things to remember if you have lost your job:

DON’T PANIC

If you have been made redundant,then remember that chances are it wasn’t your fault. The current financial crisis is a global event. You are not alone. Stay positive and don’t wallow in your situation. It is time to dust yourself off,regroup,think about what you really want to do with your life and realise that,even though it probably doesn’t feel like it now,this could really be a blessing in disguise.

KNOW YOUR RIGHTS

Your employers have to follow stringent guidelines when making any redundancies. First of all,they need to give you a written explanation of why you are losing your job. They are also required to prove that the decision was taken objectively and not because of factors like age or gender. They should also try to find you another position in the company if possible.

It is likely that you should be due some compensation. You will only receive redundancy pay if you have worked at the organisation for more than two years but any less than this and you will still be entitled to notice pay (a week’s wages for every year you have been in your job). If you are eligible for redundancy pay,then your employer needs to provide you with a written explanation of how the final amount was calculated.

If,however,you feel that you have been treated unfairly and you want to contest your employer’s decision,then you need to act within six months of the initial notice of redundancy.

PLAN YOUR FINANCES

Now that you can no longer rely on your regular salary payments,it is even more important then ever to manage your finances sensibly. If you do receive a decent redundancy payment or you have some savings,think carefully about how you want to use them. You might want to pay down some debt,such as credit cards or other expensive personal loans.

BE HONEST WITH PEOPLE

While it is scary to suddenly find yourself out of work and potentially unable to meet your mortgage,credit card or other repayments,the worst thing you can do is not tell anyone. Your lender may actually be able to help you,so long as you tell them as soon as you can. Chances are they will offer you a three-month (possibly longer) freeze on payments. Energy providers also have such provisions in place to help customers.

CUT OUT LUXURIES

Gym memberships,subscriptions to satellite television or any other regular payments soon add up and you will need this money to live on.

FIND NEW SOURCES OF INCOME

Like most people who are made redundant,you will want to find a new job as quickly as possible. Until then,however,there may be alternative income streams that could help you in the short-term.

CLAIM WHAT YOU ARE DUE

There is still a certain stigma attached to claiming benefits,but don’t let your pride stand in the way of any payments you are entitled to.

REVAMP YOUR CV

Have a good think about everything you have achieved and make sure anything worthwhile ends up on the page. Be concise and keep your CV to two pages and remember that you are selling yourself,so do not be bashful.

UPGRADE YOUR SKILLS

While there is probably little or nothing you could have done to avoid losing your job,there is plenty you can do to help you get a new one. Retraining or improving your skill set it one of them and this is one of the best ways to spend your free time as you search for a new job. Be sure that you know what it is that you want to do — it may be that you want to go in a totally new direction. Your local university or college may offer courses that interest you,so contact them directly or go to direct.gov.uk for a list of available courses.

SEE IT AS AN OPPORTUNITY

Finally,it is important that you think of redundancy as an opportunity rather than a disaster or a failure on your part. It may have been the case that you did not like your job anyway but perhaps lacked the confidence to make the change you always wanted. Now that the decision has been forced upon you,you can now potentially do anything you want. Start your own business,work abroad,go back to university or start again. Who knows,losing your job could be a blessing in disguise.

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