Almost every week, I receive an email from someone who is either about to or recently has been terminated from a place of employment. Each message is filled with concern and maybe even a bit of panic. Losing a job sends our hearts into a seemingly wild, out-
If we’re not careful it can send our bank accounts into the same pattern. If you have been let go or might be in the future, it’s a good idea to consider the following principles to keep you from bottoming out emotionally and financially.
But only a little. In this life, we often convince ourselves that we have control of everything. As soon as this bubble is burst, we tend to lose our cool. Not unlike an illness or a tragic accident, a job loss can cause us to realize there are circumstances beyond our control.
It is completely natural to freak out when all of the above hit, for it is merely a part of being human. The challenge is not to allow full-on panic mode to become your new status quo. Give yourself grace enough to acknowledge that losing your employment is definitely classified as not fun, but be careful not to allow your fears about being jobless to dictate the future path of your life.
Get wise counsel
After informing your family, you need to immediately reach out to someone you trust and is much smarter than you. Perhaps this person is a spiritual adviser. Maybe he or she is a colleague you admire. Don’t simply call a trusted friend. Contact someone who will be unafraid to be boldly honest with you and may make recommendations that cause discomfort.
Immediately begin to formulate a new plan. Job loss isn’t the same as an extended vacation. While processing your emotions will certainly be important, equally as important is the intentional practice of beginning to search for new employment.
It may be time to compose a new résumé. You might consider an entire career change. Whether it’s taking classes to complete your education or simply reading books to inspire your next occupational move (I suggest
“48 Days to the Work You Love” by Dan Miller), the longer you wait to begin searching for your next step, the more difficult that step will be.
Still “go” to work
No, I am not suggesting that you continue to daily commute to your last place of business. I’m guessing your former employers would frown upon that practice. However, keeping regular hours will be incredibly important.
Resist the temptation to sleep in and watch mindless daytime TV. Get up, get ready for your day and spend as many hours seeking out a new job as you would spend working at one.
Your dream job may take a little extra effort and time to procure. In the meantime, brainstorm any and every way you can bring in some income until that happens. Keep all of your options on the table, from working seasonal retail help to baby-sitting.
Inform your social networks that you’re looking for short-term opportunities and see if anyone needs extra help or knows someone who does.
Avoid Major decisions
Don’t make major financial decisions. Our jobs are deeply tied to our emotions. It’s natural and easy to have a knee-jerk reaction that causes us to make an entire domino effect of poor decisions. Due to this tendency, a time of unemployment can cause us to venture into financial decisions that will only further compound our problems.
If at all possible, avoid making major purchases and going into debt while you’re out of work. This includes investing large amounts of money in an interview wardrobe or even going back to school if you are not able to cash-flow the tuition. Avoid the trap of overspending when your resources are already low.
If you’re currently happy with your profession and your employment is secure, it’s a good idea to begin building a reserve of cash in case that ever changes. One of my favorite authors, Andy Stanley, always admonishes people to “see trouble coming long before it gets here.”
Begin to build an emergency fund that could keep your household afloat for three to six months without additional income. This margin will allow you the space to find a new job without the financial pressures that can cause us to crack.
Losing your job isn’t the end of your world. In fact, with careful planning, it might be the perfect opportunity for you to reboot your life and begin a new journey.
Greenwood resident Cherie Lowe and her husband paid off $127,000 in debt in four years and now live debt-free every day with their two kids. Send questions, column ideas and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.