The first thing I wanted to do once I got past the initial shock of losing my job was just wrap my head around the totality of the situation and my next steps. I really wasn't able to shut my mind off until I put pen to paper and spent some time figuring things out. I basically just did a "mind dump" of all of my thoughts and questions and then went back to break things out into categories.
The first pass at the mind dump included everything from "follow up questions for HR" to "re-evaluate budget" and "do taxes". Not everything was directly related to the job loss/search but the mind clearing exercise is definitely a great place to start. Some items to take care of are:
- Schedule any doctor or dentist appointments for you or your family while you still have access to your insurance
- Create a new personal email address specifically for job search purposes
- If you have any websites that utilize your work email address, change that over to your personal email
- Delete saved bookmarks/passwords from your work computer
- If you have a Dropbox (or similar service) account where a local file is stored on your work PC for syncing purposes be sure to delete it; especially if it has sensitive or confidential personal information in it
- Spend as much of your Flexible Spending Account dollars as you can. The dollars you allocated are funded up front at the beginning of your plan year
Of course your list will likely be much longer than this but these are some of the items that I wouldn't of necessarily thought of on my own.
The next thing I did was crunch numbers. I already keep an Excel workbook with my monthly budget so this part was fairly easy. I looked at my current family expenses and budget to get a dollar amount that I needed to cover. Then I determined if there was anything I could cut. For me, there isn't a lot that can be cut as we are already a single income family. But there were a few things that could be scrapped for now like Spotify and of course, eating out. What I ended up with was an idea of the salary I had to have to keep my family afloat.
So that covers some of the immediate research and action items I did to get prepared for job searching. Next time we'll talk about getting yourself organized for the job search itself.