Due to its very nature, job loss is something many people try to avoid thinking about. It’s a stressful situation, and many people have an “out of sight, out of mind” mentality for it. But this doesn’t stop it from becoming an ever-present fear in working-class America.
Shifts in the job market, economy, and even within one’s own company can lend itself to thoughts of “What if I lose this job?” This is especially difficult at a time when more and more jobs are becoming automated or being outsourced to freelancers and other firms.
Fortunately, the fear of job loss can be mitigated by preparing for it well in advance of losing one’s job. There are some great ways to create a safety net early in your career for a time when you might not be working.
Build an Emergency Fund
An emergency fund is a type of savings fund, usually with a few thousand dollars in it for a car repair or medical expense. While these are all great reasons for having one, an emergency fund has a lot of added value when it is created as a way to prepare for job loss.
Depending on your situation, unemployment can last a few months to as long as a year. This means that to be prepared, you should save up enough money to be able to live comfortably for up to a year, while you search for your next job.
It sounds like a scary thought but you can determine this by calculating your average monthly expenses, and then multiplying that by the number of months you want to be prepared for. For example, if your average monthly expenses total out to about $2000, you’ll want to have at least $12000 set aside in an emergency fund, enough to get you through about six months of job loss. However, if you’re looking to be prepared for a year-long period, you can also multiply your expenses by twelve, about $24,000 set aside for job loss.
While the total amount needed may seem daunting, preparing can be made easy by putting aside a certain percentage of your income from every paycheck into a bank account with no fees, allowing you to hold onto everything you save. Avoid withdrawing any money from this account unless absolutely necessary, as this will act as a fixed income source in the event you lose your job.
Have Multiple Sources of Income
Unemployment can become a lot less stressful if you have multiple sources of income, as they offer a great fall back. (They also have the added benefit of making wage negotiations much easier and less stressful.) There are two types of income to take into account when discussing ways to generate money on the side: active and passive income.
Active income is any type of secondary job or side hustle you might have. I’m a huge fan of the side gig. If you have been considering starting your own small business or taking on an evening or weekend job like consulting or project management–or even ridesharing, consider it as a safety net for potential job loss. Passive income involves making investments, either real estate or dividend stock investments, that produce income on a monthly or quarterly basis. These require less work but more upfront costs than a side hustle, due to the fact that they require an initial investment cost.
Networking and Personal Branding
Finally, you can make the process of finding a job faster by building strong career relationships. Networking gives you the opportunity to have people to rely on when switching careers for references, and may even be the push you need to find your next gig. Remember to spend time socializing in a professional and productive manner on LinkedIn so that you build a great network of people at your job. These relationships can give you a sense of security, and even make it less likely that you’ll lose your current job.
Consider building your personal brand on websites like LinkedIn that allow you to put a heavy focus on your career successes. Spend time writing well thought out posts about the industry you work in, and share other people’s content as well. This will be a great fallback to reference when looking for a job, as most employers look at social media profiles before hiring.
At the end of the day, job loss is a scary prospect, but the harm that comes from it can be mitigated by spending the time to create a safety net for yourself. This allows you to spend more time focusing on your current career, which in turn makes the risk of job loss far less likely.
There are layoffs happening at your company. Are your skills going to be able to weather the storm? How secure is your position within the company? There are some things you can do to ensure your place with the company. It all comes down to profitability for the company. Is the department you work in having problems or struggling? It is often not the fault of the employee when they are laid off. No matter how long a person has been with a company, when headquarters sends the word to downsize, the company has no other choice. If a company is operating at a profit, you may have nothing to worry about. If the company has lost money over the last few months, be careful. Be wary of the company whose financials are down from the previous year. If a company has been in business for quite a while, you probably don’t have anything to worry about. When a corporation is trying to decide whom they can afford to layoff, they do not do it at random. They have to layoff those who are no longer an asset to the company. When a company is struggling, they will first downsize or get rid of certain departments first. It will be those that will not be necessary for the success of the company. For example, company consultants will probably be some of the first to go. The marketing department would also suffer losses in the company’s cost cutting efforts.
When a company is no longer as successful as it has been, they do not see advertising as important as it was. The accounting department is usually stable since you can’t run a business without the financial aspect of it. Salespeople are also in a fairly safe spot. For the company to continue, they will still have to have salespeople. If there is no sales team, there is no revenue. You should never be so secure in your career that you don’t keep your resume updated. Even before you begin to fear that your job is in jeopardy, revamp your resume. Take a look around the job market and see what positions seem to have the lowest percentages of layoffs. Then, see how your skills and interests can fit into these positions. Find out what skills are in high demand and cater your resume to demonstrate how you would be a perfect fit for a position. Always be aware of the stability of the company you work for and do what is necessary to keep that position. If you can’t, then look for other positions that are more stable in today’s job market.
Scouring the Internet for Employment – A Warrior's Adventure
Finding employment can be tough, many people have been out of work at one point in their lives, but that doesn’t mean that you have to get down on yourself. Losing your job can be crushing, you have to deal with the loss of income, health insurance and the pain of rejection. If you find a job quickly those feelings soon pass, but if your job search drags out it can leave you strained. The hardest part of being out of work for a long period of time is keeping that positive attitude, especially when the job search turns into months and years. You have to keep a positive attitude for your own sanity and to make a good impression with potential employment opportunities. Here are some helpful ideas for those job search warriors out there trying to keep their chin up.
Find something to do with your time, being a job hunting warrior isn’t about making the quick easy kill, if you want to have a good job that you will enjoy, then you need to do something that will occupy your time while you hunt. A hobby like an eBay store is a great way to expand your skills while still earning some money.
Take some time and do the things you would not normally be able to do. Spend some time with your kids or take a trip that you’ve always wanted (if you have the money).
Help out with the household chores. Just do something that will take your mind off of the hunt and recharge your batteries long enough for you to regain focus. You have to be mentally and physically prepared if you’re going to get back into the swing of things.
Learn a new skill. Take up sewing or start playing badminton, anything you can do to relieve the stress of looking for a job. Pacing yourself for the job hunt is important because you can burn out by focusing all of your energy into that one thing.
Update your resume. There’s no time like the present to start developing a new resume, now you can put some of those new skills that you’ve acquired on that and showcase what you’ve learned during your job hunt. A job hunting support group isn’t a bad idea either. There you can share your experience with other people and do some networking while you’re at it. These groups are here to help people, so take advantage of the opportunities you have.
Enjoy your day. Most wary warriors like to focus their job search efforts during the day when most people are at work but that doesn’t mean you have to spend all your day looking for work. Take a second to go outside and enjoy the air or read a book that you’ve always wanted to. Just do what you can to recharge during this down period because you’ll need it once the night job hunt is on.