All over the UK, unemployment has become a household fear. As of June of this year, the unemployment rate in the UK had reached 7.8%, down slightly from January. Recessionary times mean that companies freeze hiring and even downsize their workforce in order to contract their spending. Whether you’ve lost your employment through redundancy, termination, business closure or seasonal layoff, losing your job can be devastating and emotionally traumatising for everyone involved. Here are five important tips on how to get through the first days of your unemployment and set yourself up to survive the coming weeks or months until you find the next ideal job position.
Tip # 1: Don’t Panic!
The most important piece of advice I can offer is to not panic. It’s a natural reaction, of course. There are bills, but no more money coming in on your behalf. This is especially difficult in a one-income household. However, panicking only delays you from thinking clearly and being able to act quickly to rectify the situation.
Tip #2: Gather your potential resources
Immediately upon job termination, file for your unemployment benefits. While this is not likely to cover all of your monthly expenses, every little bit helps. Research your local sources for help with things such as food and fuel assistance. Recognise that you may not qualify for government assistance right away, but you can gather information on programme guidelines for the future. If your budget was already thin before your job loss, and you have little to no savings to fall back on, now is not the time to pass up help.
Support doesn’t just come in the form of government and local charity assistance, either. Contact your friends and family and gather support and assistance around you. While you may be tempted to keep your job loss to yourself, don’t. You will find the support, encouragement and assistance provided by people around you to be invaluable. They become a network for hearing about open jobs and other opportunities.
Tip #3: Adjust your budget – Immediately!
Whether or not you have savings in the bank, start cutting out unnecessary expenses from your budget now. One of the oddities of the current recession is the length of time people are remaining unemployed. We are seeing workers in the current labour market experiencing more long-term unemployment. According to the September 2010 Labour Market Statistics, London’s 12-month unemployment count has doubled since August 2008, and the 24-month count has increased 27%. Furthermore, we are seeing more people seeking second jobs and temporary positions due to lack of work.
Long-term unemployment wreaks havoc with family finances. It is important to start reprioritizing and rebudgeting right away. This way, you will conserve your resources and feel less desperate if you find job hunting difficult.
Tip #4: Call in the experts!
Be proactive about your job search. Call in professional help right away in order to help you secure the right job, negotiate the right salary and help keep your frustration to a minimum. The more team members you have working for you, the greater your chances of success in finding new employment.
 Office for National Statistics, Regional Monthly Data – September 2010, Available at http://www.statistics.gov.uk/statbase/Product.asp?vlnk=15084