4 Tips on How to Survive Being Laid Off on Wall Street

Layoffs on Wall Street typically surge in December. Every year investment banks and other financial services companies make cuts before year-end. If you’re among those who got a pink slip, don’t panic, there are plenty of job options open to you within financial services.

How to Survive Being Laid Off

Losing your job can be a huge blow to your ego and one of the most difficult life experiences. It can affect the pocketbook, family relationships,  and your self-esteem. It can result in overwhelming fear and anxiety.  Arthur H. Goldsmith, an Economics Professor at Washington and Lee recently completed research on the psychological effects of unemployment. His research concluded that after a few months of unemployment people who are unemployed experience higher levels of anxiety, depression and lack of sleep. So what do we do to deal with this?

  • Keep Your Emotions in Check
  • Register for Unemployment
  • Develop a Daily Routine
  • Take Care of Insurance

Keep Your Emotions in Check

Being laid off can be an overwhelming and stressful experience of loss and change. For some people, a layoff could be a welcome relief from a difficult job situation or looked at as potential for moving on in their life.

While people deal with change and stress in many different ways, the following is a short list of possible emotional, psychological and physical responses that one may experience. Keep a positive mental attitude and remember that nothing ever stays the same, and tell yourself “this too shall pass”.

  • Anxiety
  • Shock/Disbelief
  • Irritability
  • Anger
  • Frustration
  • Resistance
  • Sadness
  • Fear
  • Loss of enjoyment or appreciation
  • Feelings of worthlessness
  • Loss of self esteem
  • Shame
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Weight loss/gain
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Upset stomach
  • Muscle pain
  • Nausea

Courtesy: https://cardinalatwork.stanford.edu

Register for Unemployment

As soon as you can, head to your state employment office to sign up for unemployment pay. Even if your employer promised you a great severance pay package, you can still register for the compensation. Bring the laid off letter with you and do not wait; if you wait too long you may lose your window to qualify for payments.

Develop a Daily Routine

I founded a dot-com in the ’90s and low and behold 4 years later it had dissolved. I found myself out of work. The busier I stayed and the more I looked for work the harder it felt. The adage “move a muscle and change a thought” certainly worked for me. I recommend that you develop a daily plan.

  1. Each day set realistic goals for yourself. For example, on a daily basis send out 5-10 resumes to prospective employers or set up a coffee or a call to network with a friend.
  2. Start an exercise plan: Now that you have more time on your hands spend time taking care of yourself. Exercise is great at helping combat anxiety and fear. It also raises self- esteem.
  3. Eat right and live right: It is important that you catch up on rest and eat a good diet. Again this is all designed to help you deal with unemployment from an emotional standpoint. Half the battle is the mental part in dealing with being unemployed and looking for a job.

Ultimately being unemployed is a temporary state. Nothing lasts forever and unemployment is no different. I have found that most people who get let go find themselves in better work situations within 3-6 months later. The stage of unemployment is a temporary one but it can also bring you many positive things if you take the right action.

Take Care of Insurance

When you get laid off you will likely be offered something called COBRA, which allows you to continue your current employer’s health benefits with one catch — you now have to pay what your employer was paying for your benefits. Be prepared. Cobra is super expensive. Most people are amazed that a family of four’s health insurance on COBRA might be as high as $1,000 or even $1,500 a month. Make sure to shop around. You may find other health insurance coverage for your family that is less expensive and not cut your benefits in any significant way.