Navigating the unemployment trail
August 5, 2009
Possibly the most popular question of the year: What would you do if you lost your job?
Well, young grasshopper, I’m totally there.
Most PF savvy folks immediately address cost-cutting measures, identifying and trimming the fat from their budgets. This is always a good idea: you need to batten down the hatches since you don’t know how long you’ll be taking on water before you find another job.
I’d already been on the cost-cutting rampage for months so discovering that a layoff was imminent was even more motivation to bring monthly expenses down to a bare minimum. By the time the layoff and I were staring at each other, inches apart, nose to nose, I’d achieved near parity. My household’s monthly needs, outside of my personal spending, were officially within $200 of my unemployment benefits.
The cash cushion I’d amassed during that time, courtesy of those very same cost-cutting measures (eliminating extra vehicles, reducing auto insurance, reducing gas and electricity usage, etc.,) and working mucho overtime meant that I had the luxury of not panicking once the paychecks stopped. I was sure that I would, but I didn’t have to.
Applying for unemployment. There was a tang of bitterness when I sat down to fill out the claim form. I thought I’d have found another job by this time – didn’t I establish my rep as a resourceful, high-producing, motivated careerist? Yes, but that’s a gripe for another day. Today my job is to make sure that some form of income continues to flow in to cover the bills while I stump for jobs. The one benefit of ending employment mid-week was that even though I was paid for a few days of work the last week of June, the entire week of 6/28-7/4 was designated the mandated waiting week. That only cost half a week of waiting for benefits.
Constantly on the move. Since long before the layoff paperwork was in motion, I’ve been working on my resume, talking to people, networking, applying for jobs, and interviewing. I’ve got at least three active applications in undecided status right now, but I’m not resting on my laurels. The resume is being revamped again post-feedback from another professional and I’m sending the new one out ASAP to my current contacts. In the meantime, though I’m awaiting a decision on the Dream Job, I’m exploring other options in other fields. The second I know that these prospects aren’t panning out? I’m on the next train out to another career.
R&R: The last 5 days were eaten up by friends/family obligations, so I didn’t have time to do more than make sure paperwork was in the mail in time, and gather information for my next moves. Still, I’ve got to build in some time to rest because I can’t be on the run constantly. I’ll physically rest at least one day a week, but my brain will finally begin to process the list of opportunities.
My first unemployment check arrived in the mail. There’s no sense of excitement or satisfaction like that of paydays. Maybe it’s because there aren’t the corresponding retirement contributions, or the transfers to savings that are normal with direct deposited checks. Or maybe it’s because “earning” unemployment is exhausting to the soul. Whatever the case, I’m depositing it know that it’s part of what keeps the wolves at bay and continuing with my job search.
Note to self: the stub attached to the check had the following note: “Your claim balance after this payment is $11,250.” I’m not certain what that means. Must find out.