Quantcast

Laid Off Due To Coronavirus? Here Are Your Next Steps

You have questions, and this career consultant has the answers.

Workin' Girl

Let's face it. This coronavirus crisis has lasted longer than most of us would have ever anticipated. I'll admit that I thought this was going to be a one- or two-week situation, and then we would go back to "normal". But fast forward, here we are.

Businesses have shut down for several weeks, events have been cancelled indefinitely, and stay-at-home orders are in place all across the country. As a result, many of you may have been laid off or furloughed and are trying to think about what to do next. I've got you covered! Below I share answers some of the questions you may be asking right now, so keep reading!

1.Should I file for unemployment benefits?

Shutterstock

Absolutely! File for unemployment benefits as soon as possible. You are eligible for unemployment if you are out of work through no fault of your own, i.e. you have been laid off, furloughed, or your company has closed due to the coronavirus impact. However, each state has its own eligibility requirements and fine print, so you'll want to do your due diligence before filing. CareerOneStop, which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, has created a site to make the research and filing for unemployment benefits a lot easier: Find Unemployment Benefits.

Good news is, with the passing of the federal CARES Act (the law from Congress that is making those $1,200 stimulus checks possible), you can get additional and/or extended benefits on top of your state's unemployment program. The CARES Act allows you to get an additional $600 per week for a limited time, and a 13-week extension on unemployment benefits beyond your state's maximum.

And if you didn't have a job with traditional unemployment (think independent contractors and gig workers), you are now eligible to receive unemployment benefits.

2.Should I let my “bill” companies or landlord know that I’ve lost my job and need assistance? 

This is not a time to be prideful or bashful. If you need assistance or a grace period with paying your bills or rent, ask for it. Many utility and credit card companies are offering temporary hardship programs, payment plans with longer end dates, or simply delaying payments, so take advantage and get the reprieve that you need. You may simply need to fill out an application to do so. If you can call the customer service lines, that can prove helpful as you have the opportunity to speak with someone directly vs. just filing the application blindly.

3.I don't have a job or a lot of money saved up. How do I handle my finances right now? What should I do with my stimulus check?

Shutterstock

First things first, cut back on any unnecessary spending. Luckily, we've been in the house a while, so hopefully you've been able to save on gas, food, and personal care (my nails are beyond struggle mode right now). But now would be a good time to trim the fat in your budget wherever you can. Subscriptions you don't need, the premium TV package, that vacation you were planning to go on. Limit your discretionary spending and focus only on the critical needs.

If you have a hobby or side hustle that you can monetize while you're back on the job search, kick it into high gear. Platforms like Wix, Weebly, WordPress, and Google offer free websites to get you up and running. The extra income will help provide a cushion and bridge the gap until you're able to secure your next full-time job opportunity.

If you get a stimulus check, tax refund, or other windfall of cash, now is NOT the time to pay down debt. I know that goes against conventional wisdom, but hear me out. As previously mentioned, you may be able to get a break on some of your obligations if you contact your lenders and explain your current employment situation. Wouldn't it be a waste for you to pay off your credit cards right now, only to run the balances back up due to lack of income? Save those extra dollars you receive as you may need them to live on as it may take time to find a job.

4.Julia, companies are FIRING, not hiring. How do I even find a job right now? How do I approach my job search at a time like this? 

Not ALL companies are downsizing or laying off workers during this crisis. In my last article, "How To Thrive As A Job-Seeker In Today's Job Market", I shared a list of industries that are hiring during this crisis including remote communications and online learning. So you CAN get back into the workforce! But how do you get started?

First, take a minute to determine if you are in urgent need to just get a job (ANY JOB, ANYWHERE) or if you can be more patient in your search to find the right opportunity. If you're in urgent need, research the companies that are hiring and what roles are available. Next, take an inventory of your most marketable skills and expertise. Do you have extensive technical/software knowledge? Are you a customer service boss? Whatever your skills may be, make note and then compare them to the open positions to see where you may find a match.

If you haven't dusted off your resume or LinkedIn profile in a while, use this extra time to spruce them up so you can submit a competitive job application. But you know that you can't just apply. Networking should and will be your best friend right now. With everyone at home and online, you can start connecting with recruiters, hiring managers, decision-makers, and current employees and begin conversations. Set up informal Zoom meetings or phone calls. Start working the virtual "room" and start being seen.

For more information about Julia Rock, check out Rock Career Development or follow her on Instagram and Twitter.

Featured image by Shutterstock

Mental health awareness is at an all-time high with many of us seeking self-improvement and healing with the support of therapists. Tucked away in cozy offices, or in the comfort of our own homes, millions of women receive the tools needed to navigate our emotions, relate to those around us, or simply exist in a judgment-free space.

Keep reading...Show less
The daily empowerment fix you need.
Make things inbox official.

You may not know her by Elisabeth Ovesen – writer and host of the love, sex and relationships advice podcast Asking for a Friend. But you definitely know her other alter ego, Karrine Steffans, the New York Times best-selling author who lit up the literary and entertainment world when she released what she called a “tell some” memoir, Confessions of a Video Vixen.

Her 2005 barn-burning book gave an inside look at the seemingly glamorous world of being a video vixen in the ‘90s and early 2000s, and exposed the industry’s culture of abuse, intimidation, and misogyny years before the Me Too Movement hit the mainstream. Her follow-up books, The Vixen Diaries (2007) and The Vixen Manual: How To Find, Seduce And Keep The Man You Want (2009) all topped the New York Times best-seller list. After a long social media break, she's back. xoNecole caught up with Ovesen about the impact of her groundbreaking book, what life is like for her now, and why she was never “before her time”– everyone else was just late to the revolution.

xoNecole: Tell me about your new podcast Asking for a Friend with Elisabeth Ovesen and how that came about.

Elisabeth Ovesen: I have a friend who is over [at Blavity] and he just asked me if I wanted to do something with him. And that's just kinda how it happened. It wasn't like some big master plan. Somebody over there was like, “Hey, we need content. We want to do this podcast. Can you do it?” And I was like, “Sure.” And that's that. That was around the holidays and so we started working on it.

xoNecole: Your life and work seem incredibly different from when you first broke out on the scene. Can you talk a bit about the change in your career and how your life is now?

EO: Not that different. I mean my life is very different, of course, but my work isn't really that different. My life is different, of course, because I'm 43. My career started when I was in my 20s, so we're looking at almost 20 years since the beginning of my career. So, naturally life has changed a lot since then.

I don’t think my career has changed a whole lot – not as far as my writing is concerned, and my stream of consciousness with my writing, and my concerns and the subject matter hasn’t changed much. I've always written about interpersonal relationships, sexual shame, male ego fragility, respectability politics – things like that. I always put myself in the center of that to make those points, which I think were greatly missed when I first started writing. I think that society has changed quite a bit. People are more aware. People tell me a lot that I have always been “before my time.” I was writing about things before other people were talking about that; I was concerned about things before my generation seemed to be concerned about things. I wasn't “before my time.” I think it just seems that way to people who are late to the revolution, you know what I mean?

I retired from publishing in 2015, which was always the plan to do 10 years and retire. I was retired from my pen name and just from the business in general in 2015, I could focus on my business, my education and other things, my family. I came back to writing in 2020 over at Medium. The same friend that got me into the podcast, actually as the vice president of content over at Medium and was like, “Hey, we need some content.” I guess I’m his go-to content creator.

xoNecole: Can you expound on why you went back to your birth name versus your stage name?

EO: No, it was nothing to expound upon. I mean, writers have pen names. That’s like asking Diddy, why did he go by Sean? I didn't go back. I've always used that. Nobody was paying attention. I've never not been myself. Karrine Steffans wrote a certain kind of book for a certain kind of audience. She was invented for the urban audience, particularly. She was never meant to live more than 10 years. I have other pen names as well. I write under several names. So, the other ones are just nobody's business right now. Different pen names write different things. And Elisabeth isn’t my real name either. So you'll never know who I really am and you’ll never know what my real name is, because part of being a writer is, for me at least, keeping some sort of anonymity. Anything I do in entertainment is going to amass quite a bit because who I am as a person in my private life isn't the same a lot of times as who I am publicly.

xoNecole: I want to go back to when you published Confessions of a Video Vixen. We are now in this time where people are reevaluating how the media mistreated women in the spotlight in the 2000s, namely women like Britney Spears. So I’d be interested to hear how you feel about that period of your life and how you were treated by the media?

EO: What I said earlier. I think that much of society has evolved quite a bit. When you look back at that time, it was actually shocking how old-fashioned the thinking still was. How women were still treated and how they're still treated now. I mean, it hasn't changed completely. I think that especially for the audience, I think it was shocking for them to see a woman – a woman of color – not be sexually ashamed.

I hate being like other people. I don't want to do what anyone else is doing. I can't conform. I will not conform. I think in 2005 when Confessions was published, that attitude, especially about sex, was very upsetting. Number one, it was upsetting to the men, especially within urban and hip-hop culture, which is built on misogyny and thrives off of it to this day. And the women who protect these men, I think, you know, addressing a demographic that is rooted in trauma that is rooted in sexual shame, trauma, slavery of all kinds, including slavery of the mind – I think it triggered a lot of people to see a Black woman be free in this way.

I think it said a lot about the people who were upset by it. And then there were some in “crossover media,” a lot of white folks were upset too, not gonna lie. But to see it from Black women – Tyra Banks was really upset [when she interviewed me about Confessions in 2005]. Oprah wasn't mad [when she interviewed me]. As long as Oprah wasn’t mad, I was good. I didn't care what anybody else had to say. Oprah was amazing. So, watching Black women defend men, and Black women who had a platform, defend the sexual blackmailing of men: “If you don't do this with me, you won't get this job”; “If you don't do this in my trailer, you're going to have to leave the set”– these are things that I dealt with.

I just happened to be the kind of woman who, because I was a single mother raising my child all by myself and never got any help at all – which I still don't. Like, I'm 24 in college – not a cheap college either – one of the best colleges in the country, and I'm still taking care of him all by myself as a 21-year-old, 20-year-old, young, single mother with no family and no support – I wasn’t about to say no to something that could help me feed my son for a month or two or three.

xoNecole: We are in this post-Me Too climate where women in Hollywood have come forward to talk about the powerful men who have abused them. In the music industry in particular, it seems nearly impossible for any substantive change or movement to take place within music. It's only now after three decades of allegations that R. Kelly has finally been convicted and other men like Russell Simmons continue to roam free despite the multiple allegations against him. Why do you think it's hard for the music industry to face its reckoning?

EO: That's not the music industry, that's urban music. That’s just Black folks who make music and nobody cares about that. That's the thing; nobody cares...Nobody cares. It's not the music industry. It's just an "urban" thing. And when I say "urban," I say that in quotations. Literally, it’s a Black thing, where nobody gives a shit what Black people do to Black people. And Russell didn't go on unchecked, he just had enough money to keep it quiet. But you know, anytime you're dealing with Black women being disrespected, especially by Black men, nobody gives a shit.

And Black people don't police themselves so it doesn't matter. Why should anybody care? And Black women don't care. They'll buy an R. Kelly album right now. They’ll stream that shit right now. They don’t care. So, nobody cares. Nobody cares. And if you're not going to police yourself, then nobody's ever going to care.

xoNecole: Do you have any regrets about anything you wrote or perhaps something you may have omitted?

EO: Absolutely not. No. There's nothing that I wish I would've gone back and said to myself, no. I don’t think at 20-something years old, I'm supposed to understand every little thing. I don't think the 20-something-year-old woman is supposed to understand the world and know exactly what she's doing. I think that one of my biggest regrets, which isn't my regret, but a regret, is that I didn't have better parents. Because a 20-something only knows what she knows based on what she’s seen and what she’s been taught and what she’s told. I had shitty parents and a horrible family. Just terrible. These people had no business having children. None of them. And a lot of our families are like that. And we may pass down those familial curses.

*This interview has been edited and condensed

Let’s make things inbox official! Sign up for the xoNecole newsletter for daily love, wellness, career, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.

Feature image courtesy of Elisabeth Ovesen

To be or not to be, that’s the big question regarding relationships these days – and whether or not to remain monogamous. Especially as we walk into this new awakening of what it means to be in an ethically or consensual nonmonogamous relationship. By no means are the concepts of nonmonogamy new, so when I say 'new awakening,' I simply mean in a “what comes around, goes around” way, people are realizing that the options are limitless. And, based on our personal needs in relationships they can, in fact, be customized to meet those needs.

Keep reading...Show less

Lizzo has never been the one to shy away from being her authentic self whether anyone likes it or not. But at the end of the day, she is human. The “Juice” singer has faced a lot of pushback for her body positivity social media posts but in the same vein has been celebrated for it. Like her social media posts, her music is also often related to women’s empowerment and honoring the inner bad bitch.

Keep reading...Show less

I think we all know what it feels like to have our favorite sex toy fail us in one way or another, particularly the conundrum of having it die mid-use. But even then, there has never been a part of me that considered using random objects around my house. Instinctively, I was aware that stimulating my coochie with a makeshift dildo would not be the answer to my problem. But, instead, further exacerbate an already frustrating situation…making it…uncomfortable, to say the least.

Keep reading...Show less
Exclusive Interviews
Latest Posts