The economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic has been devastating not just for California or the United States, but also at a global level.
In the United States, more than 16 million people have filed for unemployment in the last three weeks.
Economists are predicting that at least 20 million people will be out of work in the United States as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.
The financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic is being felt here in Southern California as many companies and small businesses are forced to close their doors either temporarily or permanently. As a result, millions have lost their jobs.
If you have been laid off due to this pandemic, please understand that you are not alone.
Here are some of the steps you can take as you contemplate next steps and embark on your job search.
File for Unemployment Right Away
If you have lost your job because of the coronavirus, it is imperative that you file an unemployment claim as soon as possible.
While you may wonder if your specific circumstances make you eligible to file, it is important to note that the Department of Labor has announced new guidance for states on the matter of unemployment benefits.
California's Employment Development Department has announced that thanks to the CARES Act, for the week ending April 11, the department will begin issuing the new $600 additional unemployment benefit payments funded by the federal government.
If your place of work has closed temporarily due to the coronavirus, if you have been laid off, furloughed, or left work temporarily to care for a family member, you may be eligible for unemployment benefits. File for these benefits immediately.
Get Your Expenses Under Control
While you wait for your benefits to commence and look for a new job, it is best to see what you can do about current expenses such as mortgage, rent, utilities, lease payments, car payments, etc.
Banks are working with customers who have been affected by the pandemic by offering relief such as waiving monthly service fees and deferring mortgage payments. AT&T, for example, has announced that it is suspending its broadband usage caps for Internet customers.
That means people who use more data, be it to download movies or to do Zoom conferences, will not face additional charges for using more data.
It might also help to cut out additional expenses such as subscriptions or other services that are not crucial.
Boost Your Skills
When you have downtime, it's ideal to develop new skills or boost the ones you already have.
Doing so might make you more employable once the crisis blows over.
Ivy League institutions offer hundreds of free online courses.
Regardless of your goals and plans, gaining new skills can help. For example, you may choose to learn a language like Spanish or Mandarin, which can give you an edge when you're applying for a job.
You may be able to gain computer skills or learn a new program that can boost your chances of getting a job you weren't able to before.
For some, this might also be the time to think about switching career paths.
Consider Getting Help and Advice
Just because people are not in their offices, it doesn't mean they are not working or are not willing to offer their help and advice to someone who needs it.
This might be a good idea to find a mentor who is willing to guide you.
Ask your company if they'll offer career guidance services as part of the severance package.
If they do, please take advantage of these services such as resume development, interviewing, tips to negotiate a job offer, etc.
Follow the Demand
If you know you could be facing a long stretch before securing a full-time position in your previous industry, you may be considering a temporary gig to make ends meet in the meantime.
COVID-19 has substantially increased the need for employees in certain sectors. Companies such as Wal-Mart, Amazon and Instacart have said they plan to hire thousands of workers in the next three months.
As everything gets pushed online, other opportunities might arise in the coming months in the IT industry.
Contact organizations in your area to see if they are hiring.
That said it is important to weigh different factors including whether you would get health coverage and other benefits as part of your job and whether you would put yourself at a much greater risk of contracting the new coronavirus.
Also be sure to ask employers about what measures they are taking to keep workplaces safe and healthy.
Be on the Lookout for Your Ideal Job
Despite the pandemic, it is important to note that employers are still hiring. This is the time to freshen up your resume, gain additional skills and network vigorously.
In fact, it is important to set aside part of each day to look for the job you are passionate about.
The hiring process may look different now because of social distancing measures.
For example, you may be asked to do phone or video interviews. Start thinking about how you can present yourself well in those mediums as well.
Self Care is Crucial
There is no question that the coronavirus pandemic is having an impact on our mental health.
Panic, anxiety and fear are natural responses to what is happening.
However, it is important to recognize what you are feeling and give yourself the opportunity to process everything and calm yourself down. Self-care is very important during these challenging times.
There are many ways in which you can de-stress, from going for a job to watching Netflix or old movies. Rediscover your passions and find new hobbies to pursue.
Meditation, deep breathing and mindfulness are also great ways to calm down and relax.
If you need counseling or help, contact your healthcare provider right away. You may be able to secure a video or phone appointment to help cope with your anxiety.
Contacting a California Employment Lawyer
If you need advice regarding your COVID-19 employment rights, please contact our experienced California employment lawyers at Kingsley & Kingsley. We offer complimentary consultations and are here to help you during these trying times.
Call us at 888-500-8469 to find out how we can assist you.