The 2nd thing to do after losing your job

What’s the first thing you should do after being laid off from your job? Take the rest of the day off. Go out to your favorite restaurant – provided it’s not crazy expensive – and treat yourself. Then go to a movie or a bar or a show. Go home and play video games. Do whatever it is that you love to do but never have enough time for. You’ve had a rough day, and you deserve it. Then go to sleep and try not to worry about what you’re going to do for money. Worrying doesn’t help, and it’s a waste of time. (I know, easier said than done.)

What’s the second thing you should do? Sign up for unemployment insurance. I don’t care how rich or busy your are. I don’t care how proud you are. I don’t care if you’re infinitely employable and you’ll definitely have a job in no time flat. Take the free money. It’s yours, already set aside for you in a fund that your now former employer paid into. You won’t be depriving anyone but yourself if you don’t collect. If you saw all that money laying on the sidewalk, you’d pick it up, right? Dammit, what do I have to say to get through to you? Why won’t you listen to me?

The amount probably isn’t enough to live off of long-term, especially if you live like Richie Rich. But it is fairly generous, all things considered. In New York State, the highest payout is $405/week for 26 weeks before taxes (about $365 after taxes). I don’t know what your previous salary has to be to qualify for that amount. But if you were making at least $40K/year, you should get the max.

Once you’re in their system, set up the direct deposit. With that established, all you have to do is log on to the site once a week (Mondays are the first day) and answer a short questionnaire. You won’t get paid for the first week (the waiting week). After that, the money will go directly into your bank account 3 days after you make a claim.

Then just look out for any correspondence from the government and respond in a timely manner. They may check that you’re actually looking for a job, which you should be doing anyway. On rare occasions, they may want you to meet with a job coach. But I only know one person who has ever had that happen. Unemployment insurance is still worth these minor inconveniences.

So do it now, unless you have a job. In which case, screw you.

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