How to Handle Being Suddenly Unemployed

The guide to successfully dealing with losing a job

At some point in life, most people either quit a job, are laid off or are fired from a job. In this article we share advice and resources that can help you handle being suddenly laid off or fired from a job.

We know that regardless of the circumstances, being suddenly unemployed can be a life changing event. Our goal is to help you navigate through an event and period that can be emotionally, mentally and financially stressful for you and your loved ones.

First Things First

Know that you aren't alone.

There are people and organizations all over the world that are help you deal with the emotions, thoughts and effects that come from losing a job.

You may go through a varying range of emotions starting with shock then others like denial, anger, sadness, depression and eventually acceptance. And this adjustment to your new normal won't happen overnight.

When navigating through this adjustment period it may be difficult to face the challenges you may face that come from financial concerns, lots of free time and uncertainty about the future. However, developing a plan of action will help you take control of your life and situation. This plan will also help you move forward and assist with any feelings of uncertainty.

Before You Lose Your Job

Sometimes you will get the opportunity to prepare prior to losing your job. The sections below discuss what you can do to take advantage of this opportunity.

Get What's Yours

Find out if you have any severance pay, accrued pay, pay for unused personal or vacation days. Get any information about any benefits that may continue after you leave the job such as tuition reimbursement, healthcare, life insurance and other benefits your employer may provide. Additionally, negotiate of find out if you will have any access to any career coaching, resume writing or other services.

Get a Laid-Off Letter

Reach out to your Human Resources department and manager to request a letter on company letterhead stating that you were laid-off and not fired. Make sure you keep this letter in your records. Even if you are getting fired it never hurts to ask for this letter. The worse answer you can get when making this request is "no", but it never hurts to ask.

Growthipedia Being Unemployed Photo by Dawid Zawiła on Unsplash

After You Lose Your Job

One you lose you job, it helps to take a step back and assess where you are then invest time and energy into steps that will help you make the best of your situation.

The following are a few steps to help you get started on the right foot:

  1. Right down all the accomplishments you've achieved. This is meant to help you get into a positive mindset. A positive mindset makes it easier to be creative.
  2. Take care of yourself. Self-care is healthcare. Your mental and physical wellness are key to moving forward. Healthy sleeping habits, regular meals that are healthy and physical activity can go a long way towards helping you feel better.
  3. Structure and manage your time. Going from having a structured day to having an unstructured day with lots of free time can be a drastic change. Setting one goal for the day or week can go a long ways towards you learning and growing during your unemployment.
  4. Communicate with others. Find people you know and trust and let them know how you think and feel. Also let them know what your goals and desires for your future may be.
  5. Write down your current experience, finances and a future plan. Ideas and thoughts only become real once they are written down. Knowing where are in terms of your experience and finances makes it a lot easier to plan out what changes you can make and your goals. And be brutally honest with yourself about your finances even if they show painful truths.

Make sure that your one goal for the day is small and achievable. Keep them simple at first because the goal is to crawl, walk then run towards completing your plan.

Reduce Expenses

While it may be difficult to earn more income immediately after losing a job, what you can control is how much money you spend. Going through your average monthly expenses over the last 3 months will give you an idea which expenses are needs and which expenses are wants.

If you don't know what your expenses are, you can start tracking how much you spend daily or by using online budgeting tools like Mint, EveryDollar or Personal Capital. Some banks ever have budgeting tools as part of their online banking.

Also know that you should keep some expenses such as some spending for entertainment and discretionary spending on self-care. Your overall life enjoyment and mental health is just is important as your financial health.

Research Unemployment Benefits

  1. You should contact your state's unemployment insurance program as soon as possible after becoming unemployed
  2. Generally, you should file your claim with the state where you worked. If you worked in a state other than the one where you now live or if you worked in multiple states, the state unemployment insurance agency where you now live can provide information about how to file your claim with other states.
  3. When you file a claim, you will be asked for certain information, such as addresses and dates of your former employment. To make sure your claim is not delayed, be sure to give complete and correct information.
  4. It generally takes two to three weeks after you file your claim to receive your first benefit check. Some states require a one-week waiting period; in other words, you would receive your first payment for the second week of your unemployment claim.

Visit The Website For Your Lenders

Do NOT tell your lenders or banks that you are employed. Use their websites to find out whether they offer payment deferment just in case your unemployment period lasts longer than expected.

Research Unemployed Health Insurance Options

Health Insurance is a virtual a must-have due to the risk of an unexpected illness making the inconvenient situation of being unemployed even worse. COBRA health insurance is the most popular insurance for people who want to avoid a gap in their insurance coverage. provides lots of options for finding COBRA health insurance.

Losing a Job Growthipedia Photo by Micheile Henderson on Unsplash

Earn Additional Income

You can earn additional income lots of ways but here are few options

  • Sell used items you don't want or need using apps like LetGo
  • Sell print-on-demand products using Printful
  • Sell your photography on PhotoShelter, 500px and SmugMug
  • Sell your own goods on Etsy
  • Sell adds on your on blog, social media or YouTube channel
  • Drive for Uber, Lyft
  • Make deliveries for Amazon, Uber Eats, Doordash, Postmates or Grub Hub
  • Become a pet sitter or dog walker using apps like Wag!
  • Become a babysitter using sites like or Sittercity
  • Become a house sitter using
  • Work a temporary job
  • Test websites using sites like
  • Rent out your car on site like Getaround or Turo
  • Do tasks for people on TaskRabbit
  • Work as a freelancer and perform services for people and businesses using site like Fiverr
  • Work as a consultant in a new industry
  • Work as an adviser or consultant in your previous industry

Tap Into Community and Connections

Our community, professional connections and network are a valuable resource when looking for new employment and career opportunities. Let the people that know who you are and who care about your success, know that you're actively look for a new opportunities. Share it on social media that you're looking as well.

You can additionally reach out to colleagues at past jobs, former managers and people who would be willing to write you a reference letter.


While facing unemployment, remember that you have options. Also, remember that while you may not be able to control what happens in your life, you can control how you react, how you care for yourself and how you move forward.

If you have any questions, comments or feedback reach out to the team at Growthipedia and we'll do our best to help.

In the meantime, enjoy the various resource below that may help you get moving in the right direction.


Below is a collection of resources from around the web that have met our quality standards for resources that can help you deal with losing a job and unemployment.

Learn and Grow

Watch videos on Growthipedia Growthflix




Financial Resources



Personal Capital


Online Shopping Savings



Cashback Online Shopping

Rakuten (formerly Ebates)


Gig Resources









Amazon Mechanical Turk



Sell Used Items




Facebook Marketplace

Product/Photo Selling









Mystery Shopping


Sinclair Customer Metrics



Presto Insta-Shops

Affiliate Marketing


Commission Junction

Rakuten Advertising




Finding a job Websites Growthipedia

Job Search Resources






Simply Hired






eFinancial Careers

Economist Jobs

Clearance Jobs Find a Job

USA Jobs

Craigslist Jobs section for your city

Government Resources

Career One Stop - Worker ReEmployment -

Department of Labor Jobs Training Programs

My Skill My Future - Skills matching Career Training and Assistance

Terminations and Layoffs - US Department of Labor

Disaster Assistance

Women Infants and Children (WIC) Programs

USDA Food and Nutrition Service

Homeless Assistance -

Housing and Urban Development

Rural Housing Assistance

Women's Resources

Women Employed

Women's Employment Network

Men's Resources

The Calm Zone


Veteran Resources

Department of Labor Vets Program

Feds Hire Vets – Provides information on the federal hiring process and links to job opportunities for veterans.

Hiring Heroes USA –

Hiring Our Heroes –

Teamsters Military Assistance Program – Employment, Education, and Training for Veterans –


Veterans Employment Programs – Department of the Interior

Apprenticeships – U.S. Department of Labor

Veterans’ Employment and Training Services (VETS) – Department of Labor –  Department of Labor

Veterans Transportation Career Center – US DOT

Veterans Employment Information –Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Federal Employment – Department of Veterans Affairs

Veterans Services –U.S. Office of Personnel Management

Employer Resources

Department of Labor Rapid Response Services

Veteran Affairs

Vocation Rehabilitation and Employment

Volunteering Resources

Volunteer Match


World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF)

Health and Wellness Resources

Unemployed Health Insurance

Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Crises Text Line


Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Adminstration Hotline

National Alliance on Mental Health HelpLine

Helpline Center

Related Articles

How To Find a Job - Career Contessa

What to do When You Can't Find a Job: 12 Tips - FlexJobs

How To Find a Job Fast in 8 Painless Steps - TopResume

Job Loss and Unemployment Stress - Help Guide


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