6 more moves to make after you lose your job

By Stew

On Monday, I gave six moves to make should the unthinkable happen. Here are six more suggestions:

File for unemployment benefits

My “big picture” political view is that unemployment benefits make the problem of unemployment worse – however, I do not begrudge anyone taking advantage of the money to which they are entitled. While I would rather that the tax money used for the purposes of unemployment benefits will create more jobs if not removed from economy in the first place, the reality is that we, especially those of us with children, need to accept help from as many sources as possible.

Take cash out of your retirement or IRA

Most advisors will tell you that this is a bad idea. I agree, for the most part, but there are times that call for desperate measures. The reality is that retirement savings are a luxury and after you lose your job, luxuries are the first thing to go.

If you decide to take money out of a retirement account due to job loss, be sure to get professional advice. There are penalties and taxes involved, make sure that you are doing the right thing. There are some types of retirement accounts that do not tax distributions taken due to job loss. Sometimes the amount of tax that you might pay on an early withdrawal is a better choice that sinking deeper into debt. The reality is that retirement savings are a luxury and after you lose your job, luxuries are the first thing to go.

Look for jobs everywhere

Start your job hunt the same day that you lose your job. Get out and look. The internet has made job searching easier than in the past practice of “pounding the pavement”, but do not limit yourself to the usual job hunting websites. I have a friend who just landed a 6-figure job that he found listed on Craiglist. You can also go directly to company websites because not all companies list on the big employment aggregators. Look for the “employment” or “careers” button  and apply directly. As you go about your daily routine, collect applications and fill them out. If you are unemployed and still shopping at a particular store, chances are good that particular business is still doing okay.


It is often discouraging to be unemployed and to some there is stigma attached to telling others that you do not have a job. For most of us unemployment is not a result of any mistake that we have made, it is simply a reality of the current economy. Very few people assume incompetence or laziness about someone who recently lost their job. For this reason, you need to let as many people as possible know that you are looking for a job. Your church, your family, your neighbors all represent networks of their own. Furthermore, a personal recommendation can be a powerful recommendation. Remember the old adage, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know”.

Be flexible

Flexibility is not always an easy skill. Americans are used to being able to find employment wherever they like. Geography, time of day and career path are all negotiable. To find a good job or even a job at all, you might need to be willing to move. You might need to learn a new skill or accept a different level of salary.

Get back to work right away

Do not be too proud to take a job that might be beneath your standards. I recently told an unemployed friend of mine that he needed to consider all options – including jobs like fast food restaurants or discount retail. Frankly, if you  consider yourself to be “middle management” or “administration” and you take a job at Taco Bell, your talents will be recognized and you will move your way up the ladder pretty quickly. You need cash flow and work history, even so-called “dirty jobs” can provide you with both. A job, even a low paying job will give you more time to find the occupation that best suits you.

Being without a job is no fun and I hope the United States and the world economy turns around as quickly as possible, but until that happens we are all going to have to work as hard as possible at keeping our jobs. If you lose your job, claim the promise of God that he will meet your needs!

Article by Stew

Photo by The Consumerist

7 Responses (including trackbacks) to “6 more moves to make after you lose your job”

  1. Abigail Says:

    I’m assuming you feel the retirement thing should be a last resort? Because you make it sound like as natural (and early) a step as going out and looking for a job. (I mean, you literally list it before that.)

    I still think this is a bad idea. Okay, if you’re going to lose the house, I could see considering the option. Even then, you’re doing yourself a lot of damage. Remember, you can only put in $5,000 a year. So if you end up taking out $15,000, it’ll take you three years to make that back up — plus losing all the compound interest. And really you’re setting yourself back 6 years/$30,000 in that scenario. Three years to pay it off, but those three years you could have been contributing to your untouched balance, thereby increasing your money rather than restoring it.

  2. Stew Says:

    Yes – order does not necessarily indicate priority. :) I think that a lot of these suggestions should happen simultaneously.

  3. dramon Says:

    Included in looking for a new job is to get your resume updated and peer reviewed. For many people, they have not kept their resumes up to date. I would also include looking at professional/volunteer organizations if you can’t find paying work. These are good for networking and keep your skills current ( and can be listed on the resume).

    I have a friend who was high level, got laid off and treating looking for a job as a job. He spent 8 hours every day looking for work. It did pay off ( he had to be flexible as you noted).

  4. Miss Tish Says:

    I also thought this was in list of priority. Maybe for ease of reading the order of this list could be rearranged for people who are really just reeling and don’t know what to do.

    I think that it’s also important that people humble themselves a little bit. I agree with folks getting back to work – retail, fast food, whatever is available. Really. I hear of people who refuse to take a lower paying job, or feel they are above certain types of work. Keep looking for that ideal job, but in the meantime if it means feeding your family – go deliver pizza. It’s not ideal but it will fill the gap. Then maybe you won’t need to raid your IRA or 401K…or you can take out a little (in an emergency) rather than the whole balance.

  5. Monroe on a Budget Says:

    I’m very big on participating in whatever assistance programs your family qualifies for. If you honestly meet the eligibility rules, you are the person that program was written for. Use it.

    Programs such as reduced-price lunches, food pantries, free dinners, college grants and scholarships, Christmas basket distribution, utility assistance, store discounts for the unemployed, thrift shop referrals, etc. may give you just enough breathing room to keep the bills paid.

    Now a heads up: Many families find that while receiving unemployment benefits, they still “make” too much money for other safety net programs. Do not let that situation frustrate you. Move on to the next possibility. The rules do frequently change, and will either work in your favor, or not, depending on available funding. Quite a few opportunities exist in my region (SE Mich) that rely more on a first-come, first-served basis than on income eligibility.

  6. Stew Says:

    Miss Tish, I purposely did not prioritize because with some of the suggestions, it is impossible to make a distinction.

  7. DDFD Says:

    I would be slow to tap the retirement accounts– it could give you a false sense of security as you slowly drain your retirement. Be motivated to get back to work fast– avoid the retirement money!