Unemployed? Some Things You Need to Know

thumperWhen I saw this man last night at a local festival, I thought to myself, “If he was looking for a job right now, he probably wouldn’t have much luck.” His choice of clothes and his body language spell L-O-S-E-R, loud and clear. Never mind that he has a new haircut and he’s cleanly shaven, or that he seems to have found himself a way to drum up some money, it’s not enough to outweigh the negatives in the picture he paints of himself.

Is he one of the millions that have lost their job in this latest economic mess? Are you?

There’s no doubt about it, if you lose your job, it can be the most stressful, depressing thing that can happen to you. Job loss runs right up there with divorce in the list of most stressful life events, and taking the psychological hit can knock you to your knees.

Think positively, come to terms with the major blow to your psyche, and get back up on your feet. Do this as quickly as you can. Sure, there’s a grieving process that goes along with job loss, so do whatever you can to separate out your emotional state. Be strong!

Faced with such a life-changing event in your life, what can be most helpful is learning everything you need to know about being unemployed.

Unemployment Insurance

Look, folks. I can’t stress this enough. In fact, I am yelling it out at the top of my lungs: Do not quit your job! Any job, no matter how miserable it is, is better than no job. Stay working where you are until you find another, better job. Don’t think you can quit and find that better job right away, because that ain’t gonna happen. Most importantly, you probably won’t qualify to draw unemployment insurance if you quit your job.

Behind the scenes, it seems that employment law can change without notice. I don’t know this for a fact, but I suspect it’s happening a lot lately. Nowadays, it seems with little or no reason at all, employers are firing workers left and right. Some major employers have recently implemented a point system of sorts too. No matter if your child is sick or you are in the hospital, if you miss work, it counts as a point against you. When you are fired or terminated or discharged, whatever you want to call it, the odds are against you for drawing unemployment insurance.

Only if you are laid off – and your former employer agrees that you were laid off – can you file for and receive unemployment insurance.

That’s the job separation side of the equation. The other side is whether or not you worked enough to have contributed to the unemployment insurance fund pool – i.e, you have “money in the bank.” In general, if you worked steadily for the last 18 months, you’re in good shape.

Begin Your Job Search Immediately

I’ve heard so many people say, “I’m about out of unemployment, so I guess I’ll go find a job.” What?

Think of unemployment insurance as car insurance. You pay in your premiums all along and suddenly get into an accident. Do you qualify for an insurance claim? Only if the accident was not your fault. If you’re lucky enough to have included car rental in your policy, you at least have a way to get to work while your vehicle is in the shop. But, you have to get your vehicle in the shop and worked on because your insurance won’t pay for a rental car for very long.

It’s the law. You are required to actively look for work while drawing unemployment insurance.

Get Hired

Trust me, navigating your way through signing up for and receiving unemployment insurance benefits is easy compared to getting hired in a very sour job market. You have to be at the right place at the right time with the right set of training, skills and abilities.

Recent research on the topic of effective job hunting is slim, with only two suggestions: Make a plan and be positive.

To set a goal and tick off the ways to reach that goal may just be the best advice you’ll hear in terms of landing yourself a good job. Sending out hundreds of resumes and filling out an endless stream of applications does no good at all if you don’t keep track of it all and follow up. Call after submitting an application or resume to check the status of your app, and send a thank-you note after an interview. Keep your name fresh in the employers’ minds.

When you think positively, you act positively. You respond better to questions and are much better at highlighting what you are capable of doing. There’s no doubt that this gets more difficult to do the longer you are unemployed. So, if you can’t think positively, then hide what you’re feeling.

Additional Thoughts

I may be stepping on toes, being politically incorrect, but it seems like a no-brainer to me: If you’re looking for a job, clean up your act! That means lose those baggy pants with your underwear showing, and lose those too-tight pants that show the crack of your ass when you sit down. Get a hair cut, shave, and wear clean clothes, even if you’re only going grocery shopping. Forget those neon hair colors, lip rings or tattoos. If you’re unemployed, now is not the time to express your individuality.

Get it together, think positively, and good luck.


  1. I'm retired now but I never quit a job before I had another one lined up. Any pay check no matter the job is better than none at all.

    Great advice. This economy is really stressful.

  2. And perhaps he has had a complete belly-full of looking after other people's careers.

  3. And thinking positively. in a game with billions of people in which the rules are made by those who already have more power than is good for their own heads, someone has to lose occasionally. Hopefully, he will be examining whether he really wants to go on playing by someone else's rules all the time. In my mind, that is also a positive option. But sure! You need to dress the part if you want to tango with the downright dirty and dangerous.

  4. The nature of a capitalist economy is the ready availability of workers. The result is that a good portion of those workers remains ready and waiting to fill any position that may come available. Thus, we are not people, we are expendable. If one chooses not to work or the employer is dissatisfied, there are always many workers available to take that worker's place.