How to Survive Unemployment

Written by ehow careers & work editor
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How to Survive Unemployment
Survive Unemployment

Unemployment, whether by layoff, downsizing or firing, is a situation most people hope they never face. However, each year more and more people experience at least temporary unemployment, due to factors outside of their control. The key to survival is getting your life back under control as quickly as possible.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Establish a routine. Not having to get up and go to work in the morning may seem like a benefit of unemployment. But without a daily routine, your life can unravel pretty quickly. Make yourself a daily schedule and stick to it.

  2. 2

    Contact your support system. Even though unemployment is nothing to brag about, talk to your friends and family about your situation. Their support may give you the emotional boost you need to get through this difficult time. Also, they may be able to help you find work, at least on a temporary basis.

  3. 3

    Adjust your budget. There's no way to know how long unemployment will last, so until you have a steady paycheck again, cut unnecessary expenses. Happy hour is not so happy when it doesn't follow a full day of work and unemployed people have plenty of time to pick up their own dry cleaning. Eliminate all non-essentials from your budget temporarily.

  4. 4

    Research free and inexpensive entertainment. Surviving unemployment requires occasional fun. Find out where the dollar movie theater is and which day they offer half price popcorn. Make note of all the free entertainment options available to you, from a walk at the local park to dinner once a week at Mom and Dad's house.

  5. 5

    List your contacts. You will need contacts to get back into the workforce. Make a list of all the people you interacted with while you were on the job. Include casual acquaintances from other companies in your building, vendors you regularly do business with and friends of friends you met at lunch. It feels good to see how many people you actually know. One of them could be your ticket back to the 9-to-5 world.

  6. 6

    Volunteer. Of course, this is not a substitute for finding a paying job, but volunteering gives you a purpose and helps structure your day. Through volunteering, you will stay in touch with working people and have an opportunity to demonstrate you abilities. Volunteering could also bring you into contact with people who are worse off than you are, helping you realize that unemployment isn't the worst thing that could happen to you.

Tips and warnings

  • Take advantage of any free help or advice you are offered. You never know where it could lead.
  • Don't waste energy beating yourself up. The cause of your unemployment is unimportant. What you do about it is what counts.

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