Tweet This morning, I ran across the Loop21 article, "What You Need To Do When You Lose Your Job". Now with a title like this, I am expecting some great survival guide, but instead I found lackluster advice such as, spend time networking with professionals versus going to the club or bar and immediately update your public profile and resume. I don't want to sound like a cynic, but who the hell doesn't know that?!?! So since I have successfully turned unemployment into my biggest opportunity I think I should give you some real advice on what to do when you lose your job.
1. Don't wait to be laid off before you start looking. Most people have wind of layoffs before they happen. The moment you hear of cutbacks, assume you are on the list, unless you have an unstoppable monoply of information concerning the company, and even then there are no guarantees. That cute little intern you have been working with for the past six months, was just offered your job at a 1/4 of the salary. Getting a jump over all of your other unemployed colleagues may be the one thing that saves your life and your bank account.
2. Cutback non-neccisities immediately. This is the hardest one. Most people become unemployed and want to look at it as a mini-vacation versus a long-term circumstance. Great way of looking at it, but the reality is you have two weeks of savings,if that, which means Starbucks and the gym are unaffordable as of today. Hell, the only thing you really can afford is Ramen Noodles- in moderation. From the day you lose your job, start living like you have been unemployed for a year. The internet should be the only luxury you can afford and you may have to eventually cut that, so savor it while you can.
3. Figure out your Retirement- Understanding how much you have in retirement and how you can allocate that money for your benefit is crucial. Most people look at retirement as money set aside for just retirement. But to a newly unemployed person, it may be the one thing that helps you start a business or pay off your car so that you dont have a car note. What will you do for retirement you get old, you ask? Don't worry about it, be assured that in 30 years when you want to withdraw the money, thaks to inflation, it will probably only be worth $5,000. So be wise and spend it today. Remember, in 1976 $36,000 meant you were in the upper echelon of society, where does it get today? That is right, the welfare line.
4. Look at moving outside of the country. You know I had to throw this in. Figured out you have at least $5,000-$10,000 in retirement funds you are cashing out? Why not look at moving abroad with that money and letting it last you 1-2 years versus 3 months. Also, if you have a degree, English as a Second Language (ESL) programs are big in Asian countries and they are always hiring. Some of you may even want to consider Peace Corps. Bathing from a bucket isnt my idea of a good life either, but for the adventurous types it may be the right thing to buy you a year or two.
In the end, there are various ways to turn your unemployment into success. But updating your profile and resume and going to networking events where the number of unemployed people is greater than the number of employed people will not get you the results you hoped for, guranteed. So take this practical advice and make a move before you get run over.