Wall Street, awash in pink—slips, not Thomas—is even laying off people before they start their first day of work.
According to an April 19 report in the New York Times (NYT), some 250 college and business school graduates who had accepted positions with troubled brokerage Bear Stearns (JPM), are now jobless. This on top of the nearly 40,000 positions the financial services has lost since August, a number that is expected to increase this spring.
While the market tries to recover from the sub-prime meltdown, thousands of now jobless workers are experiencing being laid off for the first time. Here are a five of the most important things to do if you’ve just lost your job.
1. Start an Emergency Fund
With the market in its current state it is never too soon to start an emergency fund. Stuart Ritter, a certified public accountant with T. Rowe Price says that an unexpected layoff is exactly what an emergency fund is for and why it's so important to have one. “The most important thing to do is decrease spending, if [you know] your income is about to decrease, you have to compensate. Be very stringent about what is 'a need' and what is 'a want.' Once things settle down, you can always go back and get some of those 'wants.'”
2. Get COBRA
In addition to loosing a salary, it can be devastating to loose heath insurance as well. However, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, COBRA provides certain former employees the right to temporary continuation of health coverage at group rates. While it is usually more expensive than health coverage for active employees, it is ordinarily less expensive than individual health coverage.
3. File for Unemployment
You may be entitled to money while you are unemployed. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, unemployment benefits are a federal-state joint programs which provide participants with temporary financial assistance. Generally benefits are based on a percentage of an individual's earnings over a recent 52-week period and most states offer payment for a maximum of 26 weeks.
4. Update Your Resume
Always keep an updated resume. However, when a lay off has occurred it is important to approach it on your resume the right way. Irene Marshall, president of Tools for Transition says that anyone laid off needs to be able to explain and talk about their perception of what happened at the company. If you are unsure of what to say, consult a career counselor.
5. Start Job Searching
In a slow job market and with many others searching for new positions as well, there is no hope of getting another job while sitting on the couch. Once you are let go from your job, it is time to start looking for a new one. “Even working at Starbucks (SBUX) is better than sitting at home," says Jon Hanshus, founder of Go For The Job. "You never know who may walk through the door with an available opportunity.”