If you are still working at a job, hopefully you like what you are doing, are being paid fairly and will be able to keep the position. None of the above is a given. Sometimes we must do things we are not crazy about just to support ourselves, sometimes we are not paid what we are worth or as much as we need to live well; sometimes we find our job is gone through no fault of our own. That’s the way it is.
The idea is to be prepared for any eventuality. It is a really tough thing to be worried about it after the fact. For example it is Friday afternoon at work and you get a ‘pink slip’ out of the clear blue sky. If they have any decency at all (and are in a position to), they are giving you pay in lieu of notice or at least notice of 14 to 30-days. (Friday is the day industry recommends letting people go as this gives them the weekend to recover from the shock and they don’t have much time to sabotage anything before they clock out).
It comes down to finding out how you will survive until you find another job. You take stock of what you have in the way of your pay during the ‘notice’ period, any accrued vacation they may pay you for, any severance pay (which is sometimes like 1-2-weeks pay for every year of service). If you are being ‘laid off, you do qualify for unemployment insurance right off the bat. For other situations in losing your job (fired, etc) you need to consult with the EDD office in your state, but it is believed that only people who quit their jobs would not qualify for at least some benefits as they do take the money out of our paychecks to fund that.
Then you need to take stock of your savings, pension or 401k plans. Really terrible if you need to tap those but it is good to know that they stand between you and sleeping under the freeway if you can’t find a job any time soon. Don’t have a cavalier attitude about that because during job recessions even executives and professionals sometimes have a very hard time finding work, particularly if they are over 40 or so.
If you have been wise you will have already at least started a business from home part-time or even as a hobby, that given full-time attention could be another source of income for you. If not then it can be really tough to be looking for a job at the same time as you are trying to start a business. Being that it takes time and consistent effort for a new business to develop, you should try to find at least part-time work first, if you aren’t prepared for this crisis.