I Just got fired! What do I do?
Getting fired is never fun. You might feel angry, embarrassed, or upset. If you get fired, what are some things you should do to help make sure your time spent unemployed is as quick and painless as possible?
If you are getting a severance package, make sure you are getting everything to which you are entitled.
Severance packages can help you get through a period of unemployment. Usually employers will offer a certain number of weeks worth of salary plus other benefits. Some states require that an employee receive unused vacation or sick leave time in cash. If this is the law in your state, check to make sure you are getting your accrued vacation or sick leave.
In order to receive a severance, most employers ask the recipient to sign away their right to sue the company for various things and also may ask the recipient to sign a non-compete or non-solicitation agreement. It is important to talk to a lawyer in your jurisdiction before signing such an agreement. You want to make sure the agreement is legal and to make sure you are not signing away your right to sue on a legitimate claim.
If you are fired, sign up for any benefits that might be available.
There are a number of benefits available to people who have been fired. One of the most obvious is unemployment benefits. Regardless of the reason for you being fired, it is still a good idea to apply for benefits. The worst that can happen is that you are denied benefits. Of course, you should never, ever lie on a claim form. To find out more about unemployment benefits in your state contact your state department of labor.
Other non employment related benefits are available to help people if they loose their job. At the federal level there are a number of programs. One important program is COBRA. COBRA allows an individual who lost their job to retain their group health insurance plan by paying up to 102% of the premium. COBRA is very expensive and may be less necessary now the ACA offers affordable coverage and insurers can’t discriminate based on preexisting conditions.
Finally, if the situation is bad, there may be more basic welfare programs at the state and federal level. These might include food stamps, WIC, Temporary Aid to Needy Families, Medicaid, and other programs. Many of these programs are funded partially by the federal government but administered by the states. The state agency responsible is usually called the department of human services or health and human services or something similar. Get in contact with the state agency in charge of the programs to find out what programs you may be eligible for.
Find ways to save money while you are unemployed
When you find yourself unemployed after getting fired, it’s very important to pare back a bit. This can help prevent you from needing to drain your savings. There are a lot of little things you can do to save money. Some are obvious and some are a little less so. Here are a few suggestions:
- No cable tv. Get a digital antenna for free over-the-air tv
- Stop eating out and become a coupon champion.
- Try cut back on non-essential goods and services like haircuts, cigarettes, pedicures etc.
Update your skills.
Unemployment can provide an opportunity for you to update and upgrade your skills. This can help you find a job faster, get a better job in you field, or break into a new career. Federal and state governments offer programs that can help you find a training or education program and even subsidize your education. Careeronestop is the federal government’s portal for job career education and training.
Don’t get too discouraged!
Keeping a positive attitude is essential. Try to take your newly found free time and use it in a constructive way. Learn a new skill, start a small business that doesn’t require much start up capital like selling stuff on Ebay, enjoy time with your family. All this is much easier said than done. Keeping a positive attitude gets harder the longer you are unemployed. Hopefully your time spent unemployed will be brief, relatively painless, and lead you to a better place with a great new job. Good Luck!