I was reading an article that stated as of April 10th around 16 million people filed for unemployment due to the coronavirus pandemic.
With the monster of uncertainty growing, and the coronavirus spreading, this number isn’t going to be going down any time soon. It’s one of the very sad, heart-wrenching realities that we are facing today. When I started hearing about people I knew who would be losing their jobs, their companies were going under, or they had to take a step back in pay, that’s when things started to hit me. It is never bad until they are right in your face, and punch you in the gut.
I lost my first job out of college, so I know the feeling and experienced the reality of it, and it simply just sucks.
Right after college I was at an accounting firm and hated accounting so I transitioned over to their sales team. Looking back, I wasn’t being trained to get into sales but sales reporting. When the next leadership change occurred, as a non-revenue generating employee, I got the boot.
I knew it wasn’t work-performance related because I asked when they told me, but the shame, embarrassment, and devastation that followed were gut-wrenching. I didn’t know what to do, or how to move forward.
Things were different then because I wasn’t a “real” adult with “real” expenses such as rent, groceries, and insurances. As an independent adult, if Dan or I were to lose our jobs it would be much more serious. I decided to create this blog as a reminder to both myself and friends to prepare for when that day comes. Below is a checklist and of what steps to take if you lose your job.
First : Figure out Living Logistics.
If we think of Pavlov’s hierarchy of needs, we are on the bottom tier, staying alive.
- Create a budget. Look at your “new” household income. Whether you live by yourself or with a partner, what is your new total household income if you lose your job? Look at that number and your savings, and start to budget for the next 6 months. What non-essential expenses can you easily cut today? Look for quick easy ways to save and hold onto what you have got.
- Apply for government aid programs. File for unemployment, determine if you can get some of the coronavirus relief bills as an individual or a small business, research the local charitable food organizations, renegotiate current loan payments, reach out to your mortgage or apartment owners and ask for relief or late payments during this time.
- Health Insurance Program. Look into health insurance programs and which ones you can afford and that would make the most sense at this time.
These logistical things are the most annoying parts of losing your job, the logistics of how to still live your life with expenses and mouths to feed afterward. At the same time, even though they may be annoying, these are the most important. We need to eat and feed, we need to keep a roof over our heads, and we need to keep ourselves and our loved ones healthy and safe. That is ALL that matters right now.
Luckily, I do believe that there are many local relief programs and charitable associations that are helping during this time of need.
I read this article from the New York Times, on steps to take, how to’s and where relief is and I thought it was fantastic. I highly recommend checking it out.
Second, How to Keep Moving Forward.
Now that we have our living situation in better order, we have to start thinking how can I keep moving forward? How can I get a new job? Create a temporary revenue stream? Continue to add value to my customers during this hard time? Educate myself more and grow my skill set?
We will go over all of these things because all of these things can help you grow and move forward, but more importantly, will make you kick-ass and ready for the comeback tour.
- Educate yourself. My dad always says, “The best investment you can make, is an investment in yourself.” I equate this to personal development. What skills can you learn, what classes can you take, what parts of your old job can you freshen up on, or how can you make yourself a “MVP” – “more valuable player” during this time. For many of us, especially me. My #1 excuse for not studying or doing something is I don’t have enough time. Well now, you have A LOT of time. Make the most of it.
- How can you continue to add value? I wrote a blog on this topic because I truly believe this is a great opportunity for us to get creative, dig deep, focus on the customer and find ways that we can continue to serve or add value at this time. If you aren’t business-focused, what can you do for your community, friends and family members to help them during this time? There is always SOMETHING that we can do to help SOMEONE out there, and trust me there are a lot of people who need the extra help right now.
- Side gig for additional temporary revenue streams. At first, this may seem like a daunting idea, or you might think, what side gig can I possibly do to bring in money. My advice would be to stop and consider, “What can you do with your talent?” What skills do you have? What are you good at that someone can benefit from right now? Can you tutor someone if you are a teacher? Can you help a friend or family member with their taxes if you are an accountant? Can you offer cooking lessons virtually if you are a cook? Can you freelance articles? Do youtube tutorials? Sell off your closet? Just start brainstorming ideas and I promise you, you will be shocked by the things you write down and come up with.
- Some businesses ARE hiring. My mom owns her own recruiting business and she has always said to us, if I needed to, nothing would stop me from applying to Dunkin Donuts down the street to keep us all safe. If it comes down to it and you need the extra cash, there ARE places hiring. Trader joe’s, Stop and Shop, Costco, are a few of the stores that I saw that ARE hiring today. There was a post on Instagram of a whole list of companies that are still hiring. When times get desperate, don’t let your ego get in the way. If you have to feed yourself or your children, do what it takes to make it happen. I would in a heartbeat.
If you are someone who has lost their job from this pandemic or know someone who has, please know, my heart is with you. I feel for you. This is not an easy thing to go through. But know that you will get through it. You will come out on the other side and on top. It doesn’t feel like it right now, but I promise you it will turn around.
As individuals and as a country we have overcome many hard times and this is going to be another one for the history books. My prayers are with you, my heart is with you, just keep moving forward one step at a time.
Please share this with anyone who needs it and feel free to share back with me anything that has worked for you.