Everybody Gets Fired

It's that unscheduled meeting with your manager and ends in a few moments of pained silence. After that, you're out of there. Maybe you knew it was coming all along, maybe you thought it was weird that you hadn't had a project in weeks. Or maybe not. Most people (and for very good reasons) identify with their employment and losing it often feels like losing part of who they are. It's not uncommon to feel weird and alone, with reservations about how you spent the past months, or even years, of your life. Kate Wendleton, president of a national career coaching organization, warns: "The first challenge following a layoff is to conquer your emotions."

Don't think about it

It probably makes, really, very little sense. I was once fired for being too chatty on the job. The next week, they fired my now-former coworker who had never talked once. You can think yourself to death about why it was you, instead of the guy one desk over who got the talk, but that's because "People lose their minds," says Liz Ryan, author of Reinvention Roadmap: Break the Rules to Get the Job You Want and Career You Deserve. You've got to keep yours.

Stay Classy

Over at Forbes, Susan Adams, talks about how impressed she was by an email that a former employee mass-sent that was "striking in its tone of grace and confidence" and "offered heartfelt praise for the whole staff." So do that. For anyone not directly involved with your termination (which is probably one or two people at most), you can control the narrative of your departure and keep the doors open between you and any of your coworkers.

It's also tempting—especially if you know exactly why you were fired and who's really to blame—to let loose on social media, now that you can tell the truth. But alerting your vast group of friends and not-quite friends that something is wrong about the whole way a business is run doesn't translate very well either. In fact, Wendleton, recommends not to "talk to anyone outside your inner circle," until you've let your emotions settle. But don't let that stop you from:

Getting (back) on that Linkedin

Krista Canfield, a former Linkedin PR manager, recommends updating the current tab and professional headline tabs of your profile immediately in order to tell prospective employers what kind of position you see yourself in. Maybe you want to give a stab at PR after years of editorial.

Haven't been on the job market in the past two years? Then your Linkedin presence might be a tad underdeveloped or you might think your profession or goals aren't something that needs a linkedin. Well, they do: check out the good Deborah Jacobs for some excellent tips on how to craft one, fresh on the marketplace and contemplating a new direction. "Label yourself as what you would like to be," she advises, don't feel "limited by what your last job title was."

Also? Aim for punchy language. "Use active verbs, amply convey your responsibilities, and show results."

But Get On It!

One big temptation, if you can afford it, is to use the occasion to take the small (and undoubtedly well-deserved) break from the grind. Sandy Johnson, a former vice president at NEXCareer Inc. who now runs her own career and outplacement firm, is adamant: "Putting your toes in the sand could feel pretty good, but may be equivalent to sticking your head into it."

If you had worked at your old job for a while, make sure that you made every push you can for best severance package available to you. Make sure that you get everything that's due. And, more importantly, make sure you don't lose focus on the job market. Set a goal of applying for a certain number of jobs everyday and stick to it. Your better job will thank you.

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What do you do when financial hardship hits and you can't make your monthly mortgage payments? This is a question on many homeowner's minds as nearly 17.8 million Americans are reportedly unemployed during the coronavirus pandemic.

When homeowners face financial hardship, such as the loss of a job, they often look to obtain a forbearance agreement from their lender. A forbearance happens when your lender grants you a temporary pause or reduction in monthly payments on your mortgage. Forbearance is not the same as payment forgiveness, in that you still have to pay the entire amount back by an agreed-upon time.

Mortgage lending institutions differ on their mortgage relief policies and qualifications; however, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act were signed into law in late March of this year to protect government-backed mortgages.

Federally backed mortgages include:

  • Fannie Mae
  • Freddie Mac
  • The Federal Housing Administration (FHA)
  • The US Department of Veteran Affairs (VA)
  • The US Department of Agriculture (USDA)

Under the CARES Act, homeowners with a federally backed loan who either directly or indirectly suffer financial hardship due to coronavirus automatically qualify for mortgage forbearance.

Even if your mortgage is not secured by one of these agencies, you still can call and see if you qualify, as many lenders will still offer the option in order to avoid foreclosures.

Under the CARES act, homeowners can claim mortgage forbearance due to financial hardship from COVID-19 for up to 12 months without requiring any documentation or verification. During the forbearance period, mortgage lenders cannot charge late fees or penalties.

Additionally, as long as your mortgage is current at the time you claim forbearance, the lender is required to keep reporting your mortgage as paid current throughout the entire period.

At the end of the forbearance, the CARES act protects consumers from having to make a lump sum payment. Instead, you will be given a repayment plan from your provider. Since repayment options vary, it's important you ask your provider about all of your repayment options.

Possible Repayment Options:

You may be eligible for a loan modification at the end of your forbearance. With modification, the mortgage terms are changed in order to add payments that were missed during the forbearance onto the end of the loan, extending the term.

Another option that may work for some is a reduced payment option. This allows you to keep paying monthly payments at a reduced amount. The amount missed is usually added back into the monthly payments at the end of the forbearance.

For example:

Regular payment: $1000 per month

Reduced payment: $500 per month

Payment after forbearance period: $1500 (until caught up)

Balloon payments, or lump sum payments at the end of the forbearance, are prohibited under the CARES Act. However, mortgage lenders may require homeowners who are not protected under the CARES Act to make a balloon payment at the end, so again it is best to check first with your provider.

Mortgage forbearance should only be considered in true financial hardship. In other words, just because of the pandemic, you should not take a forbearance on your mortgage if you can still afford your payments. Likewise, if you are able to start making payments before the forbearance period is up, it's best to do so as soon as possible.

The Next Steps:

Before you get in touch with your mortgage servicer, save time by gathering as much documentation about the mortgage as you can. Also, be ready to list your income and monthly expenses. Due to an influx in calls, financial institutions are experiencing extremely long wait times right now, and having your information at the ready will help.

Have questions ready to ask. Here are some questions you should be asking:

  • What fees are associated with the forbearance?
  • What are all the repayment options available to you at the end of the forbearance?
  • Will you be charged interest during the forbearance period?

If your forbearance is approved, make sure to keep all documentation pertaining to it. Make sure to cancel any automatic payments to the mortgage during the forbearance period, and keep tabs on your credit report to make sure your lender doesn't report the loan as unpaid.


For more information on forbearance, contact your lender and discuss your options. If you need more assistance with understanding your options, you can contact a local agent for the housing counseling agency, or call their hotline at 1-800-569-4287.