Were you recently laid off from your job? If so, you should have two choices. Laid off Americans are eligible for unemployment. You can collect your weekly unemployment benefits or find a new job. If given the choice, many Americas would collect their unemployment benefits and try to find a new job once they ran out. This seems like a good idea, but is it really?
The Pros of Waiting Until Your Unemployment Benefits Run Out
You are guaranteed money. States have different standards for unemployment. Either way, you know exactly how much you will get each week and for how long. The amount should not change. For the preset time determined by your state, you are guaranteed money. It will be less than your former paycheck, but it is still money. This money can help pay your mortgage and put food on the table.
You have the freedom to make choices. Receiving a layoff notice is a huge blow. For many, it causes emotional, physical, and financial problems. You will go through many emotions and likely start with anger. Over time, you may realize the unique opportunity a job layoff presents. You get a clean slate. Have you wanted to go back to college or change careers? There is no better time than the present.
You need to save money. This may seem like a downside to waiting until your unemployment runs out to find a new job, but it has benefits. You make less, so you need to cut expenses. You may get rid of your movie channels, buy a cheaper car, lower your cell phone minutes, eliminate unnecessary purchases, and use coupons at the grocery store. Either way, you save money. What you also do is practice good spending habits. They will start to happen naturally. If you keep these healthy habits after returning to work, you will find more money in your pocket. You can save that money, prepare for another layoff, or take a vacation with your family.
The Cons of Waiting Until Your Unemployment Benefits Run Out
The money is less. As previously stated, you should get unemployment benefits. These are nice, but they rarely come close to what you were making before. Although it is money, is it enough? Even with cutting costs and saving money, some still find themselves short. If you do not qualify for large unemployment checks, consider your alternatives. Don’t deplete your savings or get into debt. Instead, start your job search sooner. The quicker you find a well-paying job, the quicker you overcome the financial problems that plague the laid off.
Others are on the same schedule as you. Say your employer laid off one thousand workers. All will apply for unemployment benefits at the same time and all will lose it at the same time. This means the same thousand people may be looking for a similar job at the same time. This increases your competition. Get a head start. At the very least, collect unemployment for one or two months and then start the job search. Just don’t wait until the last minute.
It leaves a gap in your resume. Right now, layoffs are occurring all across the country and no industry is immune. Companies know this. A business owner interviewing you for a job will not look down at you because you were laid off. They know it is an unpleasant fact and due to the poor economy. A small gap in your resume due to a job layoff will not look bad, but a long gap will. Just by knowing the state’s rules and restrictions for unemployment benefits and by looking at your resume, prospective employers can easily tell if you waited until the last minute to find a job. This shows procrastination, laziness, and lack of drive. It can hurt your chances of finding a new job.