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Don't Panic (Much): What You Can Do in the Event of a Layoff

Don't Panic (Much): What You Can Do in the Event of a Layoff

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Unemployment in the United States has reached numbers it hasn't seen in nearly a decade. Economists can only promise that it will get worse. Even the most tenured employees—with fifteen or twenty years working for the same company—are being laid off or forced into early retirement. The job market is quickly degenerating into a war zone, and it pays to arm yourself with knowledge that, like on any other battlefield, will help you survive.

The best steps to take are those you can initiate while still employed. For example, do everything in your power not to get fired—that is, be the very best of employees. Get to work on time, refuse to leave early, and try not to take too many sick or vacation days. Emergencies come up, but try not to do things you typically “get away with,” because employers will be looking to cut costs—and the easiest way to do that is to ax less than useful employees. In times of economic recession, those who do their job best will be the ones that keep working. This is true on a macro scale, of huge corporations, and true on the micro scale, of the singular employee.

That said, sometimes, despite your best efforts, you find yourself on the cutting board. For no reason whatsoever, you, the perfect employee, now find yourself out of a job, with no income whatsoever. Now, under most circumstances, it's important not to panic. Most employees are covered by federal or state unemployment insurance. This covers everyone who loses a job, unless they are a contract employee or they lose their job through their own doing (by behavior like tardiness or mouthing off to the boss—essentially, anything that will get you fired). These people have every right to panic.

However, for the majority of Americans, only mild unease is called for. You can apply for unemployment insurance on the internet. For example, the Minnesota site is located at http://www.uimn.org/ui/index.htm, and the federal site is located at http://ows.doleta.gov/unemploy/. However, each state has specific information regarding unemployment insurance, so be sure to check your own state's website. Depending on the state, and assuming your application is accepted, you should shortly begin receiving payment.



 

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