What to Do if You're Laid Off During the Holidays

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General Motors’ employees and their families are heartbroken as the company announced its plans to lay off more than 14,000 employees in North America around the holiday season.

Cheryl Baker, a grandmother working at the General Motors plant in Lordstown, Ohio, said she is fearful of what this announcement will mean to her and her family.

“It’s scary,” Baker told Inside Edition. “I am a grandmother that’s raising her three grandchildren ...  that alone, it’s very nerve-wracking.”

Baker, who has worked for the company for 23 years and is only seven years away from retirement, was told all operations at her plant will cease March 1, 2019.

“I’m not sure, at 52 [years old], what other options I would have,” Baker explained. “Ohio needs this. We need General Motors in Ohio. Without General Motors, this town is going to be devastated.”

So what can Baker and thousands of others facing possible unemployment do?

ABC News Chief Business, Economics and Technology Correspondent Rebecca Jarvis gave Inside Edition some tips.

“This is a particularly tough time of year to be unemployed,” Jarvis explained. “The first thing you want to do is make sure you’ve applied for unemployment insurance.”

She also emphasizes the importance of brushing up on social media skills, especially since many of those that are facing unemployment have likely worked at General Motors for decades – before the era of LinkedIn.

“Make sure as you’re setting up that LinkedIn account, the No. 1 thing you can do is a nice professional picture of yourself,” Jarvis said.

Avoid credit cards whenever possible, and limit your spending to what you have in cash.

“There’s a lot of research out there that shows if you take cash out of the ATM every week and you stick to only spending that money, you’re going to spend a lot less,” she explained.

The holiday season, which invites different parties and get-togethers, is the perfect time to network and re-connect with old colleagues.

“This is a great time to reach out to all of those people and let them know, ‘I’m looking for work,’” she said.

And, no matter how desperate things look, avoid reaching into your savings.

“The 401(k) has to be your absolute last resort,” Jarvis warned.

Even though ‘tis the season, don’t overspend if you can’t afford it.

“As much as this time of year is the time people want to be generous with what they want to spend, let your friends and family know about your situation,” Jarvis explained. “The worst thing you can do right now is to rack up debt.”


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