The biggest part of your day was planned around work. But, now, you’re in a panic and wondering not just what you need to do with your day, but with your whole future. Why? Because you don’t have a job anymore, and you weren’t planning on being unemployed right now.
The good news is, we can help. More than that, we aren’t just going to help you through this day but potentially help you change your future as it applies to your earning potential and your happiness with it.
Plan for Worst Case Scenario
Maybe you already have something lined up. Maybe you have no idea what you’re going to do or how long you’re going to be unemployed. Either way, you just got a reminder of how unreliable the world is, so it’s best to plan for the worst-case scenario.
You can start by looking into…
- Unemployment Benefits: Unemployment benefits are assessed differently in different states. In some states they are based on the job you just had, while others go back much further. Either way, it doesn’t hurt to apply and to keep filling out the weekly forms, even if you don’t get approved right away. The worst-case scenario here is that you never get approved, but the best case is that you do.
- Food Assistance: Put the pride aside and look into getting assistance with your groceries. It may take a while to get approved, and you may not even need it if and when it does. But it’s better to be safe with a full belly than sorry and starving.
- Debt Management: Many lenders offer insurance in the form of putting your payments back to the end of your term if you become unemployed. Some require verification of unemployment, which is one reason you want to apply for unemployment benefits right away. Contact all of your lenders and see what can be done to help you manage your debt while you’re unemployed.
- Utility and Housing Assistance: Your local trustee is in place for reasons such as these. While you may not need to contact them right away, it might be a good idea to find out what they need from you if the time comes. At the very least, put together a list of numbers to call if you need help with utilities and housing.
Job loss causes immediate stress, followed by a planning process. That process may include job hunting, networking, moving finances around, and a whole host of other things. But one thing it should include for sure is a plan for diversification.
One reason that job loss hits many people so hard is because the job they just lost was their only, or at least their main, source of income. By diversifying your income streams it won’t hurt so badly if and when you lose one of them. To get started, you might try any one of these:
- Hobby Products: If you have a hobby that results in producing something, you might consider investing some of your time in marketing the products you make. Facebook Marketplace is a great place to start selling your wares, along with eBay and Etsy. You might even consider starting a Facebook group or joining one based on your interests, so your potential buyers are already there.
- Sharing Skills: Do you have a useful skill that can earn you some cash? If so, make it known that you’re open for business. One way to get the ball rolling is to offer discounts to specific groups of people who struggle with those skills because of age or disability. For instance, a roofer might offer roofing skills at a discount to seniors, veterans or disabled people.
- Drive it Home: Delivery of just about anything can be quite lucrative and work well with any schedule. From people and packages to groceries and fast food, there’s a delivery service that’s bound to fit your needs. Amazon, GrubHub, Lyft and Uber are just a few of the companies constantly looking for drivers.
You may need to make some adjustments to your budget, but they might not be as bad as you think. Instead of eating out, cook at home or start using coupons to make eating out less expensive. Walk more, drive less (unless you’re delivering). Avoid buying anything you really don’t need. And contact any services you use right now.
Contacting the services you use right now doesn’t always have to result in cancellations Be honest about what’s going on, and weigh cancellation fees against the cost of maintaining the service. There’s no need to ruin your credit as you work your way through this. You may even come out ahead because some cable companies and other service providers will offer you a month free just to retain your commitment.
Review Your Mindset
Becoming suddenly unemployed can be a shock to your system, but it also might be the best thing that’s happened to you. When you consider where you’re going to go from here, and what you’re going to do next, ask yourself some of the questions below.
- Did you like your job? If not, this is the perfect opportunity to look into a career change without having to make that decision of whether to quit your current job or not.
- What do you really want to do? If you weren’t exactly thrilled with your job, what would you be thrilled with? Contrary to popular opinion, you don’t have to be miserable in order to make money.
- How can you start a new career path or adjust the one you’re on? Do you need more education? Start applying for grants today, listing several schools when you fill out your FAFSA and looking into other forms of financial aid.
- What options would you like to explore? It may be possible to test your skills by working through a temporary agency or even joining a union that provides education to get you to journeyman level.
The key is to look at your time off as an opportunity to make a change for the better. Even if you loved your old job, there’s no reason you can’t find one like it or enter a career path better suited to you, your interests and your skills. If you don’t try, you’ll never know.
To Your Survival!
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