Circle the Wagons

“I’m afraid I might lose my job. Can you give me some advice?”

Sure. I’m happy to give you some advice. I suggest you do these things:

  1. Get your financial house in order. Don’t commit to monthly payments or big expenses that you won’t need if you’re not working. Change your spending habits to something more frugal, so that happiness isn’t supplied by greenbacks or credit cards.
  2. Update your resume. Touch base with former colleagues and recruiters you haven’t seen in a while. Do you have an outfit suitable for interviewing in other company cultures?
  3. Figure out what you would want to do next if you did lose your job. Is it a new job doing the same sorts of things? Is it a job that will build on your current skillset, but give you new experience to help you towards a longer-term goal? Is it time to go back to school for a degree that puts you in a whole new career? Would it be time to relocate?
  4. Decide how you’re going to stay healthy. All those scary ads about bankruptcy are about healthcare. What are you doing now that isn’t healthy? How can you change that?
  5. Remember your support network. Family, friends, God, Mother Nature — you have someone to turn to. Know who they are. If you’ve been working overtime, nights and weekends, take the time during the upcoming holiday season to get back in touch. Work is a great place for self-validation, but it isn’t the only place.

Then, I suggest that you stop worrying about losing your job, and do your job.

Any suggestions from others who have lost their jobs, and would like to share what they did that worked, or what they wished they’d done, but didn’t do while they still had their jobs?

This entry was posted in how-to, money, work and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Circle the Wagons

  1. Liz says:

    As one who left her job due to post-partum depression, and is still enemployed in the W-9 sense of the word, I can say that #1 is what has caused the most stress. Figuring out how to change your spending habits at the same time as you have a new member of the family is extremely difficult, but can be done. The most important, I think, is #5. If you don’t have support – not the the hand holding, hugs, “you’ll be ok” type of support, but the “I just heard about a good lead on…” or “I’ll bring over dinner and we can relax for a little while” kind of support – then you start to feel isolated, out of touch, and things start to spiral downward quickly.

    What this has made me focus on most, though, is #3. What do I want to do, where do I want to go, and how to I want to get there? What is there beyond classroom teaching that will impact kids and their science education? I’ve been searching since February, was forced to grab everything I could in August when I was forced out of my school (long, long story). Make sure you have a vision, or at least enough living expenses saved up so you can afford to not know what you want until you stumble upon it.

  2. Haidee says:

    All of the advice above is wonderful. Do your job–do it as best as you can–and if the economy or circumstances lead to you losing it, make sure you have been such a valued employee that you leave with accolades and references that carry you on a wave to every potential opportunity.

    First, the adage about having six months of your salary in savings was never more clear–also spending within limits, which, if you’re in the process of being downsized, is maybe good advice but too late.

    Financially, what debt can be consolidated? What expenditures can be deferred or shared? Back in the 90’s I had roommates–I was single then, but maybe downsizing living space or finding ways to share is an option to maintain during career changes.

    With respect to job hunting, I’ve always found that some job or part of a job is better than no job. I worked in Department Stores for a time and also as a clerical temp, which, with a Master’s Degree was somewhat humiliating, but it got me out of the house and exposed me to a variety of people–any one of which could have been a potential employer. Consulting and Free-lancing can bring in some income, too. My present job (already down-sized with salary and hour reductions) was landed by what started out as a 10 hour/week consulting–grew into full time management within 5 years–now down to half time (all related to federal grants). And, perhaps this is the time to go back to school for whatever you need to learn to be happy, to generate income, and hopefully both.

    Networking is critical. Network, Network, Network. You’re selling your experience, capabilities, value–YOU are someone that is going to make another company sell more of whatever it is they sell (and if it’s government or non-profit it’s still a “sale” of goods that’s consumed). This goes back to my first comment–

    Finally, understand what employers want. It’s not only skills and experience–it is someone who is reliable, flexible, adaptable–someone who can multi-task, learn new things, who has strong basic reading, writing, oral communication, math calculation skills. Integrity is essential. All of this has to be real and validated by someone they respect. Passing a drug screening is an absolute.

    Where are the jobs that you can create? Look for Green, Sustainable energy, buying local. As the “dust” settles, there will be unique opportunities. For those who have the means and the vision, there will be great rewards.

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