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Holiday Unemployment

Dealing with losing your job around the holidays

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The holidays are a time of connection. To be with family and friends, to end the year on a high note. Maybe even brag a little about what you’ve accomplished with those you love the most.

Instead, losing your job during the holidays can leave you feeling embarrassed, hurt, surprised, and overwhelmed. How am I supposed to explain this at dinner with the family?

Being let go from your job is extra hard during a “season of giving.” When your expenses tend to ramp up as you’re looking to give gifts and spoil your family a bit.

It can also be heartbreaking. One of the most important aspects of your life has been taken away, and the timing couldn’t be worse. 

Know that you’re not alone. 

Here are some reasons you may be feeling down:

You’re worried you won’t find a new job fast enough

Hiring is often slower around the holidays. Many companies are closing up their books for this year and planning for next year. They’re not in a rush to hire new talent (unless we’re talking about seasonal employment related to the holidays).

You’re concerned about your skills or resume

If you’ve been working for an employer for a long time, you may not have thought about applying elsewhere. Maybe you didn’t think you had to consider it.

It’s normal for people to feel out of practice when it comes to applying to new jobs or updating their resumes.

It’s perfectly understandable that you haven’t prepared a Plan B, C, and D because you’ve been so focused on doing Plan A really well.

You’re afraid of missing out on celebrations with family or letting them down

Maybe you’ve saved up all year so you could show your family an extra special holiday season, especially after such a hard year.

Now you feel like those plans are in danger. Your ability to find that unique holiday cheer with your loved ones has been limited.

You feel like you’re disappointing people. You may feel helpless because your family might have to suffer as a result of you losing your job.

Steps you can take to recover from losing your job during the holidays

Take time to process the loss and lean on friends and family for support

Most people have gone through tough spots at work in their lives. 

One of the most important things you can do during this time is to give yourself time and space to process the loss. This is important for your own mental health, for your family, but also so you can show up ready for those job interviews to come.

When it comes to friends and family, those closest to you will understand and can offer support in various forms whether it’s listening on a call, helping update a resume, or maybe bringing a meal for your family. Especially during the holidays when you may all have extra time, you can take the time to invest in those relationships.

Apply for unemployment--ASAP

It’s there for a reason.

You and your employer pay into the unemployment insurance system for situations just like this one. Don’t be afraid to take advantage of this important government benefit.

That said, the unemployment system is bogged down, so it’s important to apply right away and be persistent about your claim.

Unemployment can be a lifesaver to get you over the hump as you find your next gig.

Look for a seasonal job

Many companies are hiring during the holidays. They have increased demand and they need workers to help support the holiday rush.

This can be a nice, short-term solution to get some cash rolling in and to occupy your mind while you figure out long-term options. Many people feel better when their schedule is a bit more full and they’re not as stressed about their cash situation thanks to seasonal work.

If you do a good job (and the company notices), you could turn a seasonal job into a part-time or full-time gig. 

Network and connect with others

It may feel hard to reach out for help. But asking those around you for support is powerful. 

It’s natural to feel vulnerable sharing that you’re looking for work. But the good news is people want to help. Friends, former coworkers, a former boss, and people you went to school with can be solid door openers to other opportunities.

They can also help you take time to reflect on what you learned at your last job and think about how you can apply it to your next role. Use your connections to get the immediate support you need and to start seeking out your next job.

Think through who you know, how they might be able to help, and what you might ask of them. Then start connecting!

Losing a job during the holidays is hard, but you’re not alone (and you’ve got options)

Whether you decide to apply for unemployment and try to grab a new seasonal role or tighten your belt (save) while spending more time with family and friends, there’s no “wrong” move when it comes to recovering from losing your job around the holidays.

What’s most important is what feels helpful for you. Give yourself time to process your emotions and to put together the right plan for you.

And know that you’ve got support near and far to help you along the way.

“Everyone needs someone they can talk to in a moment.”

You’re not alone.

If you’re worried about losing your job around the holidays, or have lost it, free, confidential support from our partner, Empower Work, is just a text away: 510-674-1414.