The U.S. economy added 203,000 jobs in November. And we’ve finally hit the unemployment rate finally fell to a five-year low. Despite that there will be people faced with the pink slip. And there’s nothing worse than losing your job during the holidays. Not only have you lost your job, there’s a dead period while everything more or less shuts down for the holidays. While everyone is all cheerful and filled with holiday spirit, all you can think of is how are you going to find a new job and pay the bills in the meantime.
Last year at this time, I was facing just that so I know personally what this feels like. I was freaking out because I’ve never not had a job. And as a single mother, I hated every minute. This year, I’m in such a better place. I went through almost 2-months without a job and here’s what I did.
I have a “before” and an “after” plan.
The Before Plan:
1. Save for doomsday: they say three to six months of savings. You might not have any idea of how much money that is till you actually lose your job. A good place to start is by writing down your household budget. It was an eye-opener to me. And it doesn’t take into account the unexpected things that just come so pad your budget a bit if you can.
2. Network every day: I say this over and over again because it’s so important. The saying “It’s not what you know, but who you know” has evolved today to be both the who and what you know, in my opinion.
3. Keep your resume up to date: you don’t want to be scrambling to get your resume pulled together. You want to be able to hit the ground running if you find yourself jobless.
4. Don’t count on severance: you never know if you might get severance so plan as if you might not. My last job refused to give me what they called a “golden parachute.”
5. Google yourself: see what a future employer might see and go a number of pages deep.
6. Have someone critique your bios and social channel descriptions: we all need good editors. Ask someone you trust to look over your description and offer advice and you can offer to do the same in return.
The After Plan:
1. Cut back on everything: for example, I discovered that I could save about $20 a month just by unplugging appliances. By calling everything company that supplied some kind of service–alarm system, cable, Internet, etc.– I was to cut similar amounts off of each. You’ll be amazed how a little here and there can add up.
2. Make a daily to do list: keep yourself busy. Make yourself a list of things to do every day. Make calls, meet people, write thought pieces to keep yourself visible, go to the gym…whatever keeps you busy and occupied just like you would be if you were working at a company.
3. Spread out your networking:
4. Have an outlet for stress: find something that helps you manage the stress. Talk to friends, exercise/gym or even music. My daughter often manages hers by singing. She goes into her room angry and comes out a different person.
5. Don’t isolate yourself: it’s so easy to just want to stay at home, curl up in the bed and be a hermit. But it’s the worst thing you can do–you’ll end up depressed and unmotivated.
6. Get professional help: I talked to a friend who just happened to be a psychologist who recommended having someone professional to talk to. They could help you mentally, provide clarity and offer some sound advice for working out your next move.
What are your tips?