What to do when you Lose (Change/Leave) your job
19 May 2017
Let’s face it. Change sucks. As humans, we have what is termed “Status Quo” Bias. When you boil it down to simple terms, this just means we like things to remain the same. Given the opportunity, most people like the familiar. They feel safe and secure if they think they understand their circumstances. Millions of years ago, we avoided the unknown as a way to protect ourselves. Part of the problem is that this has carried over to today. While we don’t have to worry so much about a Saber Tooth Tiger attack, we still have the same biological reaction when faced with unknown circumstances. A change of job can cause us to have the same emotional reaction. By understanding the steps to take when a change either happens or impending, we can remove some of the unknown
Step One: Take a Deep Breath
That’s it. Breathe. No one has ever died because they lost their job. While it may seem like the world is crashing down around you, take a moment to step back and take stock of your situation. Look at the resources that you have available to you. This is why you have worked to put together your short term portfolio reserve or emergency fund. Emergency funds were created for times like this. The cushion that you have put between you and life will allow you to breathe while evaluating your next move.
Step Two: Evaluate your Options
Now that you have worked through the initial emotional reaction, it is time to start evaluating your options. It is very likely that you are leaving with a skill set that you didn’t have when you first started your position. What is it that you did on a day to day basis? Did you actually like doing it? Were you just there to collect a paycheck? After evaluating your current skills, it is time to update your resume. This will include a list of references in case anyone hiring should ask. Depending on company policy, you may want to ask former co-workers who are familiar with the way that you work.
On the financial side, if you had health insurance through work, you will qualify for Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) coverage. If you wish to keep your current insurance, you will need to get some paperwork together. Typically the H.R. department will have packets or contact information available. Keep in mind that you will also want to compare this to options on the open market as a job loss may qualify you for a Special Enrollment Period. This simply means that you may be eligible to enroll in new coverage outside of the normal enrollment period.
Step Three: Find your New Career
What did you learn when you were updating your resume? Did you realize that you want to move in a completely different direction? What are you really good at? Now is the time to go find the career that allows you to utilize not only what you are good at, but also what you want to do.
Step Four: Crush your Interview
Once you have figured out what you were made to do, it’s time to crush your interview. While I am by no means an interview expert, I can tell you a couple of tips that will go a long way. Be confident. This starts with a firm handshake, and looking the interviewer directly in the eye. Keep in mind that you are also interviewing them. Have a list of questions to see if the position is a good fit or not. Learn about the culture if you can. Make sure they are a fit for you.
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Step Five: Evaluate the Benefits
If your new career comes complete with benefits, it’s time to see what you are getting. What sort of a healthcare plan is going to make sense for you? How does this compare both in price and benefits to a plan on the open market? Is there a 401K plan or other retirement plan included in the package?
You will want to take a look at both the new retirement plan as well as the old one. Do you know what the fees or the funds lineup in the old plan is? How does it compare to the new plan? There are several option available to you with the old plan. You can either move this to a Traditional IRA, or you could possibly move it to your new 401K. The decision will depend on your situation.
Step Six: Time to Celebrate!
Congratulations! You now know what to do in the event of an unexpected job loss. A job loss isn’t the end of the world. In fact, it could be what is needed to put you on the path to finally doing what you are meant to do.
Today is the day, make it count!