When things look bleak, most people stick their heads in the ground as an ostrich does. It explains why so many people allow their homes to go into foreclosure instead of picking up the phone and calling the bank’s workout department to make other plans.
I have been blogging about the job market since August 2001.
Change is part of the competitive landscape and it is critical to be prepared in advance of being laid off.
Here are three things you can do to be prepared just in case you are laid off.
- Develop an emergency fund If you think that you might be at risk of a layoff and do not have much in the way of savings, it is critical to develop a rainy day fund. Having a rainy day fund allows you to pay your bills while you look for work. It won’t give you peace of mind—only having a new job will offer you the possibility of that—but it will give you something valuable—financial staying power. The ability to be out of work looking for a job longer is something you will value because it allows you to wait for a job that meets your goals, instead of taking any job that is offered. If you do not have savings and are not sure how to develop any for your emergency fund, notify your employer that you want to suspend contributions to your 401K and put aside the money in case you need it.
- Develop a new budget This starts by figuring out what you are spending your money on NOW and noting what your assets are that could be liquidated if you needed to. A financial organizer will help you see what your bills are, what your assets are (both liquid and illiquid), and help you see where your money goes. I don’t presume to know your family and what is right but Junior might not need three new pairs of sneakers. You might not need cable tv on all six tv sets or a vacation to Australia this year. Paying attention to your expenses proactively allows you to make intelligent decisions before you reach a crisis.
Why is it that when someone loses their job, they feel they need to take a long vacation that they “deserve to take.” People run up huge bills with a lengthy trip and come home to debt and no job to pay for it.
Trust me. You don’t need a vacation. You need a job. Before you start the new one, take a week off for a trip right before you start.
- Apply for credit As I write this, I have not had a dollar’s worth of debt in three years. This doesn’t mean I am a miser. I have paid off my home, we travel regularly and we do well. But the time to borrow money is when you don’t need it and having a line of credit available to you just in case you need access to cash. But first, before you start running up bills, create a new budget, and stick to it!
In most religious systems, wasting money is a sin and foolish. You may need to incur some debt while you look for a job. You can also need to take on a part-time job delivering pizza or driving a limo. You may need to start a part-time business in your home.
Whatever you do, managing your financial resources proactively is essential.
After all, employers can sense when a job candidate is desperate during the interview. Like being on a date with someone who is nervous, a desperate job applicant rarely gets hired and, if they are, it is for less money than they might otherwise deserve.
Part of avoiding the feeling of desperation is managing your money so that you don’t feel nervous that you HAVE TO get this job.
Ⓒ The Big Game Hunter, Inc., Asheville, NC 2008, 2010, 2016, 2020
ABOUT JEFF ALTMAN, THE BIG GAME HUNTER
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves career coaching, all as well as executive job search coaching, job coaching, and interview coaching. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 2000 episodes, and is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council.
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