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Loss Of A Job

A job is a lynchpin in most people's lives. It represents your family's comfort and security, and provides you with a sense of self-esteem.

The loss of that job, and the income it provides, can throw your entire existence into chaos.

First steps

Negotiate the best severance package you can from your former employer. If it was a layoff or amicable departure, get letters of reference from those with whom you worked, especially supervisors. Also, get documentation of projects you worked on that will highlight your skills to a potential employer.

Deal with the emotions. You may feel angry or bitter. Let those feelings flow but don't dwell on them. Harbouring that kind of negative energy can sap your ability to find a new job.

Apply for Employment Insurance right away. Take full advantage of your entitled benefits until you get back on your feet. There used to be a stigma attached to being unemployed and receiving government assistance. But as the economy shifts, more and more people are finding themselves out of work for a period of time. Unemployment is becoming an expected stage of life.

Seek companionship. One of the hardest parts of losing a job is losing the day-to-day interaction you enjoyed with coworkers. If your former employer let several of your coworkers go at once, try to meet up with those people for lunch once in a while. They'll be able to understand what you're going through. And the camaraderie will relieve some of the loneliness that can accompany unemployment.

Temporary Work

If finding a permanent job in your field looks like it might take a while, consider applying to a temp agency. Employers turn to them for human resources, and they provide your services for an hourly rate. Then they pay you (after taking a cut for facilitating your services). The employer benefits from reduced recruitment and screening costs and the temp agency benefits from the money it makes for offering your services.

So what are the benefits for you?

  • Quick Money Often, you can collect a paycheque after only one week of work. If you're in need of some fairly quick cash, temping isn't a bad way to go.

  • Flexibility You can work this week and not the next. Or, if you need to work nights to leave your days free for interviews, a temp agency can accommodate your schedule.

  • Interaction Having a job, even a temporary one, will get you out of the house and interacting with real people. It relieves the "cabin fever" that results from staying in the house every day with no place to go.

  • Experience Temp work allows you to work in a variety of jobs, though quite often in roles that are less demanding. But having the exposure to a variety of industries can be a positive asset for future employment.

  • Permanent employment Sometimes, if you are performing well at a temporary job, the company may offer you permanent employment.

  • Employer Benefits Some temp agencies, if you work for them long enough, do offer benefits such as health insurance, paid holidays and vacation time.

OK, you know there have to be some disadvantages. Here are some of the downsides:

  • Undesirable Jobs Some companies hire temp workers to do jobs that their full-time employees don't want to do.

  • Sporadic And Undependable Work One week you're working; the next you're not. It's hard to get solid financial footing when you never know if and how much you will be paid. There are some temp agencies that specialize in specific fields, such as IT or engineering. If you can find one known for providing personnel in your field, it just might be a great opportunity for you.

Looking For A New Job

One of the best ways to deal with unemployment is to make finding a new job a full-time job. Here are four promising sources of job leads: 

  • Classified listings Start getting the weekend paper, or look at the classifieds on newspapers' web sites. Look through all the classified listings, not just the areas in which you expect your type of job would be listed. You can get some great ideas on different positions that line up nicely with your skills. Also, look through trade magazines that relate to your industry. Some employers will advertise in industry publications to reach a more targeted audience.

  • Headhunters Make an appointment at an employment agency or "headhunter." Since they don't actually get paid until they secure employment for you, they have a significant incentive to search.

  • The Internet There are many websites with large job boards on which employers advertise open positions. Check out www.monster.ca, for one. Also, look through the websites of companies in your field, and even municipal or provincial government sites. They often devote a page to job opportunities.

  • Networking It's not what you know; it's who you know. Attend industry events. Put the word out on the street. Get your name in front of as many people as you can. You never know who has a friend who's looking to hire someone just like you.

Remember, start looking immediately. It can take four to six months to find a suitable job in your field.

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