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How to Survive Unemployment

So you've been given the slip -- the pink slip. Take a deep breath, and do the following.


  • Step 1: Apply for unemployment If you haven't already, apply for unemployment, even if you don't think you're eligible. Studies show that many people who are entitled to collect don't even apply.
  • Step 2: Investigate other benefits Investigate benefits that may be available to you in addition to unemployment, like food stamps from the United States Department of Agriculture (see "": and home heating assistance from the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (see "":
  • Step 3: Cut expenses Look for creative ways to slash monthly expenses, like raising the deductibles on your insurance policies. If you’re a two-car family, get rid of one car until you’re back on your feet.
  • TIP: Stop buying food until you've finished what you have. You probably can live off the contents of your fridge and cupboards for a few weeks without spending a dime.
  • Step 4: Bring in some money Consider ways to bring in money that won't jeopardize your unemployment check, like selling whatever you can part with on eBay.
  • Step 5: Work at getting a job Consider your new job to be finding a job. Put in 9 to 5 days scouting leads and sending out resumes.
  • TIP: Don’t become a hermit. Make it a point to get some fresh air and exercise every day.
  • Step 6: Evaluate your skills Think about what skills you have that might translate to another field. Consider making yourself more employable by updating your expertise through courses or training, or by learning a new skill.
  • Step 7: Consider temping Consider signing up with a temp agency. Many of the positions lead to full-time employment, and in the meantime you'll be earning about $12 an hour and perhaps learning new skills that could help with your job search.
  • TIP: Volunteer work is another route to consider; it sometimes leads to paid employment.
  • Step 8: Don’t get depressed Watch out for signs of depression, like letting your personal hygiene slip or zoning out in front of the TV all day. When that new job finally arrives – and it will – you’ll need to be ready to jump back into the workforce.
  • FACT: The average person who was unemployed in 2007 collected benefits for 15.2 weeks.

You Will Need

  • An unemployment benefits application
  • Job-posting sites
  • Ways to bring in money
  • Professional courses
  • Temp work

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