How to Make Money » Career

Surviving a layoff – 9 tips to make it through this tough time

Are you trying desperately to survive a layoff? According to CBC News, Canada’s jobless rate has hit a 9-month high. More and more Canadian’s are faced with layoffs and job loss.

Are you one of these people?

With a bit of positivity, a plan, and creative thinking, you can work through this difficult, life-changing time.

Surviving a layoff

Survive a Layoff

1. Determine & file for unemployment benefits

The very first thing you want to do when you are left unemployed is to figure out whether or not you are entitled to employment insurance (not everyone is approved to receive this). If you are, file right away. Most people receive their first payment within one month of filing, but it may take a bit longer for others.

2. Start the process of looking for a new job

Assess your skills, work on your resume (here are some great tips for creating a resume), and reach out to your professional and personal network for leads and support. Sites like Workopolis and are great resources for job hunting.

One of the best tips I can give to those of you applying for a job and not having much success with call-backs is to always follow up after an interview. Send a thank-you email or phone call the day after your interview and a follow-up email or phone call one week after your interview, if you’ve not yet received a response. The more you persist, the more obvious it is that you want the job. This makes it more likely that you will be considered for the position (I have done this for numerous jobs in the past and ended up getting every single one of them!).

3. Create a new budget

Review all of your expenses, income (if any), and savings. Determine what your needs and wants are – this is not a time to cut yourself some slack. You need to be ruthless about your spending habits now that you are no longer employed and bringing in an income (or only bringing in a small one). It’s time to live simply and establish more frugal habits.

4. Eliminate unnecessary expenses & reduce necessary ones

This is an opportunity for you to cut any unneeded expenses such as eating out, your daily coffee run, the fancy pedicures, and new electronics. Completely cut whatever expenses are wants and not needs.

Look for ways to reduce your utilities and household expenditures. Turn the lights off when you are not in the room, keep the temperature set at a reasonable temperature, switch to a basic cable plan (or cut out cable altogether!), get rid of your home phone if you have a cell phone – all of these little things can add up to big savings.

5. Shop with coupons

If you have not been using coupons lately, now is a good time to start. You can save quite a bit of money using coupons when you shop! Dedicate a bit of your time to researching and planning shopping trips based on the local sale prices and you will have no problem-saving money on groceries.

6. Sell your stuff

Get rid of anything that you no longer need. Look around your house – do you have clothes, household items, toys or furniture that you just don’t need anymore? Selling them on Craigslist and Kijiji can help you clear out the clutter and earn some fast cash.

7. Don’t take on more debt

It can be tempting to tap into the available credit that you may have so that you can maintain the lifestyle that you were living in pre-layoff. Don’t do it! It’s a band-aid solution that just doesn’t work. This most definitely will put even more strain and stress on you in the long run.

8. Deal with your creditors

If you have debts to pay and not enough money coming in to cover those debts, contact each creditor and make them aware of your situation. Don’t run away. Often, they will be sympathetic to your situation and come up with a solution to reduce your monthly payment(s).

9. Stay positive

Continue your job search and try to embrace your new lifestyle the best that you can. Being unemployed and unsure about how you are going to pay your bills and put food on the table can be a scary situation, but the worst thing you can do is panic.

It is possible to survive a layoff. You just need to stay calm, focused, and realize that “this too, shall pass”. As my grandmother used to say: keep your chin up – things will get better!

I know two people that were recently laid off from their jobs and they are both now happy and working again. They told me that they were actually somewhat glad that they were laid off, as it taught them how to be more frugal and manage their finances better.

Imagine that – a layoff ends up being a good thing. Maybe it will be a good thing for you, too.


  1. Erin

    Thanks – this is helpful. I’m employed now, but not sure what the new fiscal year with the government will bring!

  2. Shelby is another great resource for finding job ads. It is like a search engine for jobs that you can refine by location. It does not find every single listing on the internet and there will be duplication from Monster and Workopolis, but I found it to be very helpful when I was looking for a new job when I was relocating. Also, if there are large companies in your area that you are interested in working for, check their websites directly for a Careers or Employment Opportunities page.

  3. Bargainmoose

    6. Sell your stuff – it’s a good tip and one I would love to do, but I just don’t have the time! I find it very time consuming to list things on eBay.

    Great article Cassie, thanks for linking over to us too 🙂

    • Katiciai61

      If unemployed you should have a little more time to do that 😛

  4. Ashley

    Great tips MrsJ!

    Something to add on to Tip #2, it’s definitely a great idea to follow up after an interview…however, don’t hound the person who makes the hiring decision. We just hired a part-time person at my work, and one particular guy that had been interviewed I specifically had said to him we will call him in a few weeks if he’s selected, and he continued to call continuously and hound my manager after the interview. Needless to say, he didn’t get the job. So while it’s a great idea to follow up, don’t follow up too frequently 🙂

  5. Pamela @ FabulousSavings

    Great advice – especially the keeping positive part. As the saying goes, “When one door closes, another one opens” 🙂

  6. teachermum

    I saw part of an Oprah (which I never watch!) just a few years ago at most (tent city times) and they were helping a fellow who was out of work to find work. They had an expert there to critique his current methods (he had been looking for work for a year at least) and point him in better directions.

    The big thing he was told was to stop counting on the on-line head-hunter websites so much (not that you shouldn’t look there but that was all the fellow was doing). This expert said about 80% of jobs are in companies of 100 people or less and they simply don’t use those services. He told the fellow to get out there. Bring resumes to every company in his potential commuting area and ask if they are hiring or would be willing to accept a resume. Of course, one may then have to apply online, but it is different than going through the big head-hunter places.

    He also told him to get rid of the fluff in a resume ie “honest, good people skills, reliable” as of course you are! He said to tailor a resume to the company ie if you are applying for a sales position, include tangibly how you can help the company by what you have done in the past such as “increased xyz by 12% over a 6 month period by pqr” That is what they want to see.

    Perhaps I saw that show to help someone looking!

  7. TeresaAngelina

    And, unless I missed it in the article, if you are employed now, begin to save for just such an emergency as a lay off by putting away – no matter how long it takes you – a minimum of 6 months expenses. Then you will manage without the financial stress for quite a bit after a lay off.

  8. Heather

    I actually read this in June after dislocating my shoulder and found some very usefull tips. I had already filed for EI (but discovered wait times are on average 2 months now). I did cut back on all unneccesary expenses and thankfully, because of coupons, had a stockpile that lasted us through most of the summer. I also took your advice and sold 2 unused Iphones and a toddler bed through Kijiji which brought in some much needed extra cash. As well I called both my internet provider and cell phone company and they worked with me to lower my bills and keep things turned on.

  9. Jenny

    what is this , low coupon day?

  10. Katiciai61

    I think it’s terrible that only some people qualify for EI…people pay for years and get nothing, contradicts what it is all about. Makes me mad!!

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*