If you've been thinking of searching for a new job, now is not the time to do it. Your best bet is to stay put, even if you hate what you do. "No matter what industry you're in, now is the time to make yourself indispensable," says AuWerter. "You don't want to be taking that three week vacation or planning your wedding at work. Instead, you want to be taking on new projects and touching base with your manager regularly."
If you do think you're in danger of losing your job, consider asking for a pay cut instead of a pink slip. "This is something that older workers could consider," says AuWerter. "Fair or not, this group has a much harder time finding a job when they're laid off." There aren't many senior level jobs in the market, and older workers may find themselves over qualified for any other type of position. If you can negotiate a pay cut instead of being laid off, you'll be better off in the long run. You won't have as much money coming in, but at least you'll still have your job.
Another offer you may be presented with is a buy out. "Buy outs typically make the most sense for folks who are very close to retiring," says AuWerter. "Often times, if enough employees don't take the buy out offer, lay offs are coming." Keep in mind that buy outs can sometimes be negotiated. The first offer you're given is rarely the only offer. Depending on your current financial state, a buy out may be your best bet.
If you are laid off, be sure you have money set aside for COBRA so you can continue your health insurance. While you may think you're in dire straits right now, you'll be a lot worse off if a medical emergency arises and you don't have insurance to pay for some of it. "You also want to explore unemployment benefits," says AuWerter. "It's probably going to be just a small amount of what you were making previously, but it's going to be better than nothing."
Finally, according to AuWerter, "make looking for a job your full-time job." Tell everyone your know that you are looking for employment opportunities. Don't be ashamed that you've been laid off. By getting the word out there, you'll have more eyes and ears open. You never know where a new job lead could come from. The opportunity of a lifetime could be in your local hometown paper, but because you've moved away, you'll never see it; your mother or a childhood friend will. Look for a new job actively, and look often.
For more information on finding a new job, as well as other personal financial advice, click here to visit www.SmartMoney.com.
By Erin Petrun