Help! I Lost My Job!

Unemployment tips and resources for the recently laid off

By Staff on 4 December 2008 (Updated 7 July 2014) 12 comments
Photo: espiegle

Here are tips and resources to help if you have just been laid off or you suspect that you will soon be laid off. Check our other guides to job hunting, earning extra income, and ways to cope if you hate your job. Also check out the sidebar for links to job boards and other job hunting resources.

Lose Your Job Without Losing Your Identity
Getting a pink slip can cause more distress than just a shrinking income. Here are three effective schools of thought for keeping your sense of self (long after the paychecks quit coming). By Linsey Knerl

Seven Tips for the Newly Unemployed
The unemployment rate in California surged to 6.9%, and that is equivalent to the rate in early 2003. Most news reports say that unemployment will probably go up a bit more in the short term as our economy deals with the credit crisis. Personally, I am seeing some friends and family deal with unemployment right now, and here are some tips that could be helpful for those in this situation. By Xin Lu

Laid Off? What To Do Before Plunging Into The Job Search
You've been laid off. What’s next? What should you do…before updating your resume, tapping into your professional network, and looking for a job? By Julie Rains

You May Have to Fight for Your Unemployment Benefits
If you've recently been laid off, you may have to fight for your right to collect unemployment from the government. You probably know that if you are fired, you can't collect unemployment from the government. Although qualifications can vary from state to state, generally, only people who are laid off from their jobs will qualify for unemployment benefits. But did you know that, even if you are laid off, your employer can challenge your right to receive benefits? By Andrea Dickson

Getting By Without a Job, Part 1 - Losing a Job
Losing a job is always tough. During hard economic times -- when it may not be possible to find another job as good as the one you've lost -- it's even tougher. Here are a few steps you can take right after losing a job to make sure that your financial house is in order, so that you can focus on your job search. By Philip Brewer

Getting By Without a Job, Part 2 - Boost Income
If there's one fundamental rule for financial success, it's "spend less than you earn." That rule applies whether you have a job or not. But, if you're used to having a job, the adjustments to getting by without one are going to be huge. It can be done, though. I suggest a three-pronged strategy, the first prong being to boost your income. By Philip Brewer

Getting By Without a Job, Part 3 - Cut Spending
With the economy tanking, more and more people will be not just losing their job, but will be finding themselves without one for an extended period. When that happens it's not good enough to just cut back a little and use debt to make ends meet until the economy recovers. Getting by without a job is possible, even for an extended period -- but it requires taking drastic measures to cut spending, and it requires taking them early, while you've still got some cash. By Philip Brewer

Getting By Without a Job, Part 4 - Get Free Stuff
There are all kinds of ways to get stuff without money. You can grow it in a garden, gather it from the wild, make it yourself, get it as a gift, scavenge it from trash, or get it free from someone who hopes to sell you something else. All of these generally involve spending time instead of spending money--but someone who's getting by without a job probably has some time to spend. By Philip Brewer

Emergency Belt-Tightening
Typical personal finance advice would have you divide your budget categories into two groups:  Your fixed expenses and your discretionary expenses.  I generally don't like that distinction much--how is your power bill more fixed than your grocery bill?  When you reach the point of emergency economizing, though, it's a useful way to structure your thinking.  By Philip Brewer

We've got more great job articles in our Career and Income section.

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Guest's picture

Being laid off can absolutely be one of the best things that ever happens to people, depending on their response and perspective. The longer one remains in depressed mode/self-pity, the longer it will take to climb out and find that job.


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<!-- /* Style Definitions */ p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal {mso-style-parent:""; margin:0in; margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";} a:link, span.MsoHyperlink {color:blue; text-decoration:underline; text-underline:single;} a:visited, span.MsoHyperlinkFollowed {color:purple; text-decoration:underline; text-underline:single;} @page Section1 {size:8.5in 11.0in; margin:1.0in 1.25in 1.0in 1.25in; mso-header-margin:.5in; mso-footer-margin:.5in; mso-paper-source:0;} div.Section1 {page:Section1;} --> Hey Everyone - I'm currently working on a study as part of my dissertation . This 20-minute online study investigates the impact of recent job loss on well-being. After completing the survey, participants will become eligible to enter a lottery for a $200 gift check. Participation is completely anonymous. More info can be found at:



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Hey Everyone - I'm currently working on a study as part of my dissertation . This 20-minute online study investigates the impact of recent job loss on well-being. After completing the survey, participants will become eligible to enter a lottery for a $200 gift check. Participation is completely anonymous. More info can be found at:



Guest's picture

I heartily concur with Mary.  Staying positive isn't always easy, but keeping busy helps.  I was fortunate to find a little freelance writing and web design work, but even if you can't do something easily "freelanc-ible", there are good and cheap ways to network and build skills.  I recommend joining Toastmasters.  It will help you build leadership and presentation skills and it's only $39 every 6 months.  I originally got into it to help me improve my interviewing skills, but now I've been nominated to be VP of Public Relations.  Sure it's a volunteer gig, but it will go on my resume and will show employers that even when I'm not working, I've got things on the burner. 

To anyone out there still looking for a job... Just remember - you don't necessarily need luck, you just need a plan;-)


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Tony Lott

what if i was laid off, and i get unemployment for working there for a long time and they are supposed to reopen at a later time. Are they supposed to notify the ones that they laid off first or how does that supposed to go.

Guest's picture

Losing a job can be a great opportunity to find a new direction for your life. Take it as an opportunity rather than a thing to be afraid of. When some doors close, plenty of other doors open at the same time!

Guest's picture

The best thing you can do after getting laid off, is to make sure you never work for someone else again (and I'm not talking about work from home scams).

Real business ventures and real people. Get connected and get down to work.

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Find a better company to work for at

Guest's picture

I have been unemployed for six months and my husband just lost his job. Is there anything I can do to keep us from losing our house?