Being fired or furloughed can suck! I know this from firsthand experience and from the five years I spent in HR. To help ease the transition for any of you who are going through the same thing I’ve put together a few things I wish I had known going into my time as a furloughed (and eventually let go) employee.
Prior to being laid off I had never been fired. I had one contract end as a temp but other than that being furloughed and eventually let go during COVID was a brand new never felt before feeling for me.
I’m grateful because I saw this coming, I knew this had nothing to do with my performance and I was already planning on leaving the industry I was in (but my timeline got rushed by all of this). I was furloughed for months before I was eventually let go so I saw my unemployment status coming. I also have the luxury of knowing how a lot of the state offices work when it comes to unemployment, Covered California’s health insurance options & having a significant other with a stable income who loves me, supports me and pays half the rent. We do not have human children (Herman is significantly less expensive) and I am a fairly healthy individual so all in all I was in a good spot.
But even with all these little nuggets of gratitude it was still a weird scenario where I struggled to find accurate information on what to do next or how to make the best decisions for the position I was in. So now that I’ve gone through it, started this business and began helping people with their careers I want to share some of the nuggets of wisdom I learned through this process.
**A note: This was MY experience and these are opinions. Please do not use this blog to replace legal or medical advice.
DO NOT SPEND ALL DAY LOOKING FOR A NEW JOB
Create a schedule for yourself, play with what works and make sure you include time to take care of yourself. Being unemployed is emotional and difficult. Be sure to schedule time to take care of yourself, be present with your family and job search.
It’s also totally ok to need to take a little time to mourn the loss of your old job before jumping into action (if you have the financial privilege to do so). Unfortunately, our quality of life is often tied to what we do for a living and how much money we make. When we experience a major change like the loss of a job it is NORMAL and valid to feel a full range of emotions such as fear or anger. Remember to be gentle with yourself. You are human.
With the extra time in your day I highly recommend doing some inner work. You can spend some time determining if you really want to do what you’ve been doing in your career. Use this time as an opportunity to switch gears (or start a business).
You can learn about your learning style, practice a language you’ve always wanted to learn, or binge watch that TV show everyone talks about but you always feel left out because you never watched it. I spent a lot of my time working on new content for my business and attending training sessions that were applicable. Let go of society’s expectations for you and take care of yourself in any way you can.
Covered California Agents are SO HELPFUL
Once my furlough period ended I lost my health insurance through my employer. So I applied for health insurance through the California marketplace. I did this on my own because it seemed straightforward and easy.
With the recent changes in my income some of the details on my account needed to change and to help me with this I went through a Covered California Health Insurance Agent. This man was a lifesaver. The agents spend ALL day in the marketplace finding deals and additional programs for people. By the time I was done with my call with the agent I was paying significantly less for more coverage.
I’m not sure how this works in other states but I 10/10 recommend using an agent if you are shopping for a plan. It is FREE, you can find them through the portal on Covered California and you can google them to find reviews. A word of advice: always make sure the agent you are working with has a license number. If they do not, run the other way and find a different one!
TLDR: Whether you are fired or furloughed take time for yourself, set yourself a schedule for applying to jobs, tap into any free resources to help you make the best decisions and of course, if you have the funds, I highly recommend hiring a career coach to help you with your search. As a coach I help clients create resumes that are customized to the roles they are applying for and scream “hire me”, we chat through salary negotiations, we work on determining their ideal salary range and we maintain their authenticity throughout the process. I’m good at what I do because I’ve been there, I’ve felt the scary feelings around hard workplace conversations and I’m here to support my clients through the process.
Reach out if you’re ready for a FREE consultation to see if coaching is a good fit for you! firstname.lastname@example.org