6 Major Mistakes People Make After Losing Their Job

Worker getting fired

Cheapism / DALL-E 3

Cheapism is editorially independent. We may earn a commission if you buy through links on our site.
Worker getting fired
Cheapism / DALL-E 3

It Can Happen to Anyone

Unemployment can strike anyone, anytime. Losing your job is a disruptive shot to the ego, not to mention a loss in steady income. 

If it seems as though you're noticing troubling trends when it comes to substantially sized layoffs, you're not alone. But whether you lost your job at one of the world's biggest tech companies or were just laid off from a small mom-and-pop shop, there are some actions you want to avoid. Here are a few mistakes people make after finding themselves unemployed.

Divorce signature, marriage dissolution document. Wedding ring and agreement on lawyer office table

1. Failing To Negotiate With Your Former Employer

For most people that endure the difficult experience of being laid off, a severance package can provide a sense of reassurance. Just don't assume that you can't ask for more. 

When possible, be sure to negotiate your severance package — which can include insurance coverage, job assistance, and unused vacation time — so that you’re not missing out on any potential extra money. Simply tell your boss or your HR rep that you’ll need a bit more time to adequately review the terms of the package before coming back to them with a counter offer. 

Excited call centre agents, fist bump and celebrating deal, promotion and sale from above in office. Motivated, happy and successful telemarketing colleagues or customer support operators cheering

2. Refusing To Tap Into Your Network for Job Leads

The last thing that you want to do while being unemployed is to let your pride get in the way of promising new job leads. One solution? Reach out to people in both your social and professional circles to gauge what kinds of new job opportunities might be out there. You could even be referred to a role that isn't listed yet.

Layoffs can hit pretty much anyone, and leaning on your friends during your time of need can help provide an extra push in the right direction. 

Social media,Social, media, Marketing, Thailand, Social Media, Engagement, Post - Structure,

3. Venting on Social Media

Look, there’s no denying the fact that social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok invite people to ramble on about both trivial and significant moments in their lives. While you might be tempted to trash your former company by way of a social media post, it’s always best to resist the urge. You don’t want to end up burning any bridges with co-workers or bosses from your last job, because you really never know what could happen further on down the road. One of your old co-workers could end up being your manager at a different company in the future — and you don't want things to get awkward.

For more career tips, please sign up for our free newsletters.

Walking Home After Work with a Friend

4. Falling Out of Touch With Old Co-Workers

Not only is there an innate value in keeping the friendships you built with co-workers from various jobs alive and well, but these kinds of friendships can also give way to new job leads after being laid off. Keep in touch through mindful texts and invitations to catch up over a meal or coffee every now and then.

Related: Great Second Careers That Don't Require More School

Signature, contract and deal with hands of business people for partnership, meeting and onboarding recruitment. Paperwork, consulting and application with closeup of employees in office for documents
Kobus Louw/istockphoto

5. Disregarding Lower Paying Jobs

While knowing your worth is important, at a certain point you may have to take a minor or even significant pay cut just to secure a new job. Any amount of money by way of a newfound income stream is better than no money at all. The last thing you want to do is fall hopelessly behind on your bills. Doing what you can to minimize the amount of time you have on your resume between jobs is important to prospective future employers.

Related: 35 Hobbies That Make Money and Can Turn Into Legit Jobs

401k MAX

6. Dipping Into Your Retirement Funds

Listen, we know desperate times call for desperate measures. But dipping into retirement funds when you're unemployed will only hurt you down the road. Making an early withdrawal from your 401(k) will most likely result in tax penalties, unless you qualify for hardship withdrawals. Instead, tap into your emergency fund if you have one.

Related: No Pension. No 401(k). How to Get by on Social Security