If you see layoffs coming, negotiate with your company. If things are going badly at your company, you probably think the worst thing you could do is go bother your employer. But this is not the case. If layoffs are on the horizon, your employer may be happy to negotiate with you, to compensate you for leaving voluntarily. Most employers would be happy to see an employee leave voluntarily, rather than being laid off — and they’ll offer money and severance packages. Worst case scenario — your employer makes no offer, and you get laid off with everyone else. Best case scenario — your employer wants to keep you, and your worries disappear. In fact, maybe they’ll even offer you something to encourage you to stay!
Refinance loans, and cut expenses. Lost your job and can’t pay your bills? Call your creditors. Let them know your situation. Some will work with you, and even the ones that won’t will look more kindly on people who bother to call. And, heaven forfend, if you ever end up in court, judges and arbitrators will look more kindly on you as well. If you pay rent, then be sure to pay that before anything else. And cut your extraneous expenses — eating out, movies, cell phone data charges. But don’t cancel your World of Warcraft account- that’s sacred, and you can get a lot of leveling done while you’re unemployed.
Get health insurance. If you’re like most people, you’ll lose your health insurance the second you’re laid off or fired. Sure, COBRA offers continuation of your existing insurance, but even the people who run COBRA admit it’s waaaaaay too expensive. Lots of companies offer personal health insurance plans. They’re expensive too, but often not as expensive as COBRA. And don’t take the chance of going uninsured — disaster can strike anyone at any time. Angry that all this costs so much? Then support national health care.
Don’t dip into your 401(k) or other retirement accounts. Just don’t.More Advice for the Unemployed by Erik Even