Advice for Surviving a Layoff in Your Family

Layoffs are an inevitable occurrence in today’s volatile job market. What should you do if a layoff strikes you or your partner? The key is to think and plan ahead, and with that comes networking, budgeting and keeping a positive outlook on things.

As soon as you know about the layoff (or even begin to hear the rumors of an impending layoff) start to plan ahead financially. Determine your family’s monthly expenses, and calculate how long those savings will last. Set a budget and stick to it, cutting corners wherever possible.

Start cutting out the frivolous extras, such as the weekly trip to the movie theater or the daily $4 coffee at the neighborhood coffee shop. These can always be added back later, if your budget warrants it.

Do not count on another family member to get a job and alleviate some of the pressure. He or she will be entering the same job arena that is laying off employees and could find it just as difficult to find a new job.

If you have no savings to fall back on, consider looking into unemployment, line of credit or a home equity loan to meet the basic family needs. Only use credit cards as a last resort, due to the high interest rates.

Since most employees are given notice before their last day of work, use this time wisely. Start networking and get the word out that you are looking for a new job.

Update your resume and start sending it out to other companies in your field. Don’t forget, everyone else who was served layoff notices will be doing the same – the longer you wait, the more competitive it will be with fewer job openings available.

Don’t be too proud to take work you see as beneath you – you never know where it will lead. A part time job is better than no job at all, and it will keep you active while you are looking for a full time position. And taking a position you are over-qualified for could lead to a promotion to one you are better suited for, after your employer has a chance to see your work ethic in action.

Keep your chin up. It is common for those facing layoffs to get depressed and cease job hunting all together. Don’t forget that other employees just as valuable as you were dealt the same fate. Layoffs are not personal, but are strictly based on the bottom line.

By following this advice, you can help minimize the impact a layoff has on you and your family, and survive until you have found your new job.

April Armstrong is a contributing editor for Womens-Finance, the personal finance site for women. Womens-Finance offers advice for women and their families on budgeting, mortgages, debt, loans and more. Visit Womens-Finance at

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