Monday, October 17, 2016

How to Live Without a Job

If you are paying attention to the current economy you are probably aware of the need to prepare for a possible period of unemployment, or of having a job that pays much less than you're used to.
If you do find yourself in this position, here are some things you can do to get through it, and even learn and grow from the experience.

Preparation and planning is the first, and the most important, step for surviving any crisis, including job loss.

Start a savings program immediately, and build it up until you have at least three months salary in the bank, six months worth of savings is even better.

And, while you're in a saving mode, stock up on food too. A full pantry has saved more than one family during a financial emergency.

Get rid of debt. Stop using credit cards, then begin paying off all your credit cards.

Get out of debt in any way you can. Instead of buying a newer car, use the money to pay off some of your old bills. If you get a Christmas bonus, tax refund, or a birthday gift of money, use the money to eliminate debt.

Learn new skills that will make you more employable, more valuable to your current or to future employers. Take a first aid class, upgrade your computer skills, take classes in "getting along with other people", or in how you can add value to your business or company.

If your people skills are weak, you'll be the first fired, last hired. Employers want those men and women who fit in and don't cause trouble with other employees or with the bosses. Smile more, work harder and smarter, and learn how to network.

Learn the basics of money management. Learn to "pay yourself first." Start a savings plan. Set up a budget. Take free or inexpensive classes that teach you about some aspect of finances or money management that you currently know little about.

Eliminate as many "frills" as you can. Do you really need cable? Eating out three or four nights a week? Three cars? A new dress every month? Magazine subscriptions?

Ruthlessly pare back on the excess spending you've been guilty of in your family. Examine every aspect of your life, from insurance, travel, food, shelter, clothing, medical, entertainment, transportation, etc. etc., for ways you can cut down your current expenses in that area of your life.

If you do become jobless, then make some money in any way you can. If that means taking a temporary job of some kind, or washing dishes in a cafe, or learning some new ways to make money without a full-time job, than so be it. You can pay the bills this way, just like you did with your old job.

There are many ways to make money without holding down a 9 to 5 job, so look around you for money-making opportunities.
  • Check out your elders. Grandma and grandpa may know a lot of ways about living on very little. Ask. Check out books on thrift and frugality from your local library.
  • Research your field, so you can spot hiring, or firing, trends in your area.
  • Dress well. This is for your morale, as much as for the business of job-hunting.
  • Treat job hunting like a business. Set goals, research companies and jobs you are unfamiliar with.
  • If you do lose your job, don't panic. Most people will face a period or two of unemployment in their life. If they can survive it so can you.
  • Don't get stuck in the rut of only applying for jobs in the field that you know. Apply for any job you think you can do, including one's you may not have considered "good enough" for you before. All jobs have value, all are worthy of your respect. A ditch digger or a plumber is as valuable and needed as a nurse or a teacher.
  • Don't forget to tell everyone you know that you are looking for a new job. That's just how most jobs are found.
  • Have some fun. No one can job hunt 24/7. It's just too stressful. Cut yourself some slack.
  • Remember your family is feeling the stress too, so support each other as much as possible.

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