I was unsure if I wanted to write this article but it seems crucial to speak up now with the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, which has resulted in millions of Americans (some for the first time) being hit with the hard reality that is unemployment.
When it comes to being unemployed, I’ve been there, done that, got a souvenir, and the receipt to prove it!
Now, I am not going to bore you with the messy details surrounding my unemployment journey because that’s not the purpose of this article. To get to the point, I’m sharing my insights on how to survive a job loss, especially if this is your first time, and how to prepare yourself for an impending job loss.
These approaches are based on my own experiences with what I like to call feast and famine moments throughout my life. Please note, these are proactive steps to take before your job loss but most certainly need to occur after a job loss as well.
Look for the signs: Read my article about what signs employees should look for prior to a company having layoffs. It’s a quick and informative read that will prepare you to notice the red flags.
Networking: Someone on LinkedIn said, “Build your well before you have to use it,” which means to start actively and aggressively start networking. Again, LinkedIn is a great resource, especially with so much of the professional world now online. Join other professional organizations and networks if you feel that will help you, but if $$ is a concern, stick to using free resources like LinkedIn.
Shore Up: Start bulking up your savings, like hardcore. This means taking drastic measures like cutting back on pleasantries to make this saving happen. I’m not even lying, I am saving $1,000 a month in addition to some other investments to build a cushion should anything happen again in the future. Some financial experts recommend having at least six months savings, but aim higher if you can. While it’s not easy, it is worth it in the long run.
Apply to Jobs: My motto, even as an employee you should always be looking and/or interviewing for jobs. Don’t let opportunities pass you by because you aren’t looking.
Make Recruiters Your Friends: I will admit, I hated recruiters prior to becoming one and even now, I am not the biggest fan of staffing agencies or their recruiters. However, joining staffing agencies will be an asset to your job search and you most certainly want to have those relationships in place BEFORE you actually need a job.
Every job is temporary: I get so many people who can’t understand this and it quite frankly scares me. America is mostly a right to work state (unless you’re in a union), which means you can lose your job at any time and for any reason.
Center Yourself First: You don’t owe a company anything. If you see your company is floundering, then get out of there and quick. Trust and believe they will cut you if it means minimizing their losses.
Your Network is Your Asset: Building your network today ensures it will be there for you tomorrow. To that end, remember your professional reputation matters and it’s what going to ensure your success as you navigate this new normal.
Set Aside the Pride: There is nothing to be ashamed about. Being unemployed is something we all have or will deal with at some point in our lives. I, for one, am not too proud to file for unemployment and even food stamps if it means keeping food on the table or a roof over my head. And I don’t care who knows it either. There’s nothing wrong with needing help sometimes.
Positive Thoughts: Crying about a situation doesn’t change the situation; it just makes your eyes red and irritable. You are unemployed. Get over it. Get your game plan and get to work. Just remember that your energy matters, so keep things positive (at least in public) to get through this, and you will.
And lastly, lift as you climb, we are all in this together. We need to support and care for each other. Not to mention, and trust me here, helping someone else find a job could come in handy as you look for one!