How to cope with sudden loss of employment

The best way to cope with the sudden loss of employment is to be prepared. As a consultant and trainer in career management and strategies, I suggest the following:

Evaluate your financial situation. Discuss with your family how bills will be paid during unemployment. Make the necessary adjustments. Contact companies to inform them of your situation. Many will work with you to help you meet your obligations.- Contact the Employment Development Department in your area and your ward employment specialist immediately. There is no shame in losing your job. It will take at least a week before you can start getting unemployment benefits, so the sooner you file, the sooner you will start collecting them. Remember to put money aside from your unemployment check. Take advantage of training seminars offered through EDD offices.

Package yourself. Make sure your resume meets the new requirements for scanning and Internet distribution. Write your own resume so you know what is in there. However, you may get professional guidance and review.

Line up your references, write your cover letter and a thank you letter in a basic format that will be easy to customize. Select a couple of outfits for interviewing and practice interview questions.

Don't postpone your job search. The best ways to find a job are through networking, the Internet, classified ads, job listings, targeting specific industries and organizations, temporary and contract work, employment agencies, and search firms.

Keep fit and active. Get proper exercise and nutrition. Working out in groups provides opportunities to network.

Understand the meaning of your job loss. What is the lesson that you need to learn? Do you need to spend more time with your family? Is a career change in order? Do you need to go back to college?

Stay close to the Lord and your family. Remember the basics: get a blessing, study and ponder the scriptures and your patriarchal blessing, attend Church activities, worship in the temple, fast and pray, express gratitude and serve others. - Helena Hannonen, Santa Clara, Calif.

What we did:

Don't be bitter

Do not harbor bitterness or feel guilt. Use the present to look forward and not relive the past.

Do not turn from the Lord. He has not forsaken you and desires to help you.

Intensify your scripture study, prayer and fasting. This helps you gain the strength needed at this challenging time.

Counsel with your wife and family. Work together to tighten your budget. Budget as though your unemployment may be of a long duration, but plan your job search to ensure that it will not.

Set up a plan to search for work. Use resources, such as the ward employment specialist and quorum leaders.

Treat your job search as a full-time job. Never give up hope. Have faith.

Use spare time to improve skills. - Thomas Shaw, Harlech, Wales

Don't be embarrassed

The most difficult emotion to overcome was embarrassment. I didn't want anyone to know of my circumstance fearing that I would be judged. The only person I told was my home teacher, and I did not ask him not tell anyone. The immediate amount of support I received from other members of the ward was incredible.

In looking for a job, I found that it is important to talk to everyone. Hiding the situation only makes it worse. The more people you tell the better. More people get jobs from networking than from any other source. - James Hudgins, Roseville, Calif.

Work together

Families that work together do better than those that do not support each other. Extended family can offer not only some financial help, but also emotional strength.

In addition, you might sell things that are not essential, such as recreational equipment. - David O. Clark, Wellington, Utah

`Go to work'

We did three things the day I was laid off. We sought and obtained priesthood blessings for me and my wife. We brought the family together and had a prayer. We put the house on the market because we lived in an area in which there was little chance for us to obtain employment in my field or at a commensurate salary.

Journal writing was continued but with added intensity. I corresponded with numerous friends. This served as a means of expression, as well as providing a means to obtain moral support and to network.

I "went to work" regularly. The community had a place where I could use a computer, telephone, fax machine and spend time with other unemployed folks. This was a tremendous support. It enabled me to get out of the house, be with people and try to be constructive with my job search.

I also took several different part-time positions and other work. - R. Dennis Bates, Gilbert, Ariz.

Go to trade shows

Get over the grief of the last job. Do something to get the sting out of my mind of the old job.

Tell my neighbors, friends, the bishop and others who I am and ask what I should do. You want leads, introductions and unknown doors to open to you.

Go out to lunch with friends even if I don't have a job.

Go to trade shows. I need to talk with people. I will get business cards and leads to other people and companies. - Kenneth Edward Farrier, Sugarland, Texas

Stay out of debt

Stay out of debt. Live within your means.

Save money in case you need to survive on that money between jobs.

Maintain your food storage.

Be supportive and positive. Give your husband the encouragement he needs to get right back out there and find another job. - Monica Thornley, Bluffdale, Utah

Learn computers

Be prepared; stay out of debt. This is the only thing that has saved us financially. Take advantage of your employers' savings programs.

Keep a working schedule. Put in hours searching for work, improving your skills and networking.

Become computer efficient. This is one of the main places to find work, and knowledge of computer software is absolutely necessary in most jobs.

Be humble. When necessary, seek help from family and the Church. Make sure you are willing to help others by fulfilling welfare work assignments.

Trust in the Lord's goodness. - Loretta Alvord, Simi Valley, Calif.

How to checklist:

1 Turn to the Lord; pray, fast, study scriptures for strength; continue Church activities.

2 Counsel with family; work together in tightening budget.

3 Get on job search immediately; use Church, community resources; learn to network.

4 Be willing to take temporary, part-time jobs; don't give up.

Write to us:

Sept. 12 "How to care for your children when they misbehave in public."

Sept. 19 "How to help young people emotionally prepare for missions."

Sept. 26 "How to make prayer more meaningful."

Oct. 3 "How to strengthen your marriage when your spouse is less-active or non-LDS."

Oct. 17 "How to make a will that will foster love, not jealousy, between children."

Oct. 24 "How to cope with multiple personal tragedies at one time."

Oct. 31 "How to avoid seasonal depression."

Also interested in letters on these topics: "How to avoid greed," "How to make transition from being newly married to becoming new parents," "How to plan ahead for the different stages of life," "How to avoid the gambling trap."

Had any good experiences or practical success in any of the above subjects? Share them with our readers in about 100-150 words. Write the "How-to" editor, Church News, P.O. Box 1257, Salt Lake City, Utah 84110, send fax to (801) 237-2524 or use internet E-mail: Please include a name and phone number. Contributions may be edited or excerpted and will not be returned. Due to limited space, some contributions may not be used; those used should not be regarded as official Church doctrine or policy. Material must be received at least 12 days before publication date.

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