Hi friends! It’s been a long time since I’ve been on here but I’m back and ready to get back into a regular routine. It’s been a stressful month for both Gursheel and I. I got a layoff notice from work and Gursheel quit his job at around the same time! I just wanted to come over here and talk about my experience with dealing with the layoff notice because it is something people don’t talk about often. Fortunately, my employer did give me a 2 month notice, however, I was still shocked and quite upset upon hearing the news. Because Gursheel quit his job at around the same time I heard the news, my biggest fear was us both being unemployed at the time, which led to my stress levels being on high!
I was reminded of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs where the basic needs at the bottom of the pyramid are food, shelter and water and then security and safety. Because I didn’t feel secure, I couldn’t think of anything at the higher levels of the pyramid such as the psychological and self-fulfillment needs. That’s the reason I didn’t even think about the blog, which I love working on! So, when I heard the layoff news, I got to work right away. And today I will break it down with some suggestions as to what to do when you are dealing with a layoff.
Don’t Panic – a Layoff is not the end of the world
When I was first told about my layoff, I started crying and I couldn’t stop. At the core, I’m a planner and this was one thing I didn’t plan. So, when I heard the news, immediately my brain started to think about what to do. I was fortunate to be given a 2 month notice vs. 2 weeks, so I should not have panicked the way I did.
After a couple of days, the initial shock started to wear off and I started to write things down and plan. I made a list of companies/institutions in Google Sheets which linked to each of their job boards. I started talking to people around the lab if they knew of any companies/people looking to hire. And I became more active on LinkedIn as well. Again, just take step back, write things down and take everything one step at a time. You WILL eventually find a job!
Have an Emergency Fund
Gursheel and I are fairly good at budgeting. We are able to live comfortably off of less than one persons take home income. However, with Gursheel unemployed and me losing my job soon, I was worried about how we were going to pay for monthly expenses like property taxes, utilities, gas, groceries, donations and life without having to dip into our savings if both of us were going to be unemployed at the same time. Thankfully, we do have an Emergency Fund just for this reason. This money is more liquid and easily accessible as compared to our long term savings and is enough to cover 3-4 months of living expenses. Looking back at our experience, I definitely want to increase this amount so I can feel more secure/safe if this happens again in the future.
See what options you have
If you have been paying EI through your paycheck, then you are most likely eligible for Employment Insurance (EI). You can apply for EI after you finish working and will just need a letter of employment from your employer. Then just go on through the Government of Canada website and apply using this link. In 2018, the maximum insurance earnings amount is $51,700, which means a maximum amount of $547/week. I believe this amount will vary on a number of things, so just be sure to explain everything in your application. $547/week is around $2188/month which is definitely not a number you can live off here in Ontario, however, it is a bit of a safety net if you are unable to find another job quickly.
Re-evaluate your budget/spending
You really want to sit down and look at your budget and see where you can cut back for a short time, until you find another job. I knew our emergency fund was built just for emergencies like this, however, I just really didn’t want to dip into it unless it was my last resort. So, I cut back on things like eating out, buying anything that we didn’t absolutely need and entertainment. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have any fun. Try to find budget friendly activities.
During this past month, Gursheel and I went to Bogle Seeds (an amazing sunflower farm, that had a very low entry fee), David Dunlap Observatory (which was free to visit) and Forks of the Credit Provincial Park (which just cost parking to enter). There are so many cool places out there that cost little or nothing at all to visit, so this was the time to take advantage of that.
Visit the Doctor
I think this point is quite important. During this past month, with the layoff looming over my head, the only thing on my mind was to find a job. Things like drinking my green juice, exercising, reading, listening to podcasts and rest were not even on my radar. And to top it off, I was in a continuous state of stress. This is exactly the time to see a doctor and make sure everything is alright. A lot of people do get sick from stress and that was the last thing I needed. Make sure you take time for YOU!
DO ARDAAS and count your blessings
Gursheel and I have read so much Baani this past month and started going to the Gurdwara almost every single day. And the only reason I mention this is because I hate that we only thought to do this during this stressful time. But this is a lesson to myself to think of God always! During the hard times AND the good times. I hope we continue to read Baani and make going to the Gurdwara a regular part of our daily routine. Be grateful for what you do have in your life and don’t forget to thank God for everything.