Those who follow me over on Twitter know that on November 1st, my position was eliminated due to restructuring and I lost my job on the spot. The timing was not what I was expecting, but I can’t entirely say that it was a surprise to me that changes were coming to my business group and that it could effect my job. My situation isn’t one that is unfamiliar to a lot of people, especially in Edmonton and Alberta right now, and sadly could continue to become other people’s reality.
It’s weird to wake up in the morning prepared for a full day of work, starting that work, and by 7:30am having no purpose to the day. While admittedly my first day off of work was full of drinking coffee on the couch petting the family dogs at my parent’s place, there’s a number of things beyond looking at your employment insurance options that I’d recommend focusing on in the near future if you find yourself out of a job.
- Check your expenses- One of the first things I did when I got home that first night was take a look at my personal budget and isolate areas that I could control. I looked at things like my cable bill, cell phone bill, even utilities like power and considered how I could cut back and made an action plan. If you have Government of Alberta or Canada student loans, I recommend looking on your NSLSC portal to see if you qualify to rewrite your terms to lower the payment- or directly apply for relief assistance. Things like gym memberships and cable bills often have a provision to be able to “pause” the service for up to 6 months, which allows you to save a considerable amount month-to-month while you’re getting back on your feet.
- Control your spending- This seems similar to checking your expenses, but in reality this is making the hard choices day in and day out that will help your severance and/or savings last as long as possible. I’m going to be going on a modified no-buy again here soon to try to lower my grocery bills to as close to 0$/month as possible. I would suggest against going out, shopping etc and confiding in your friends that you are and why. The good friends will understand and support you fully.
- Search for jobs like it’s your job – I have a personal goal of applying for five jobs a day. These are usually custom resume, custom cover letter jobs that I can see myself spending the next 2 years of my life at. While I’m doing that, I have been getting out 2-3 times per week to literally pound the pavement handing out the handout version of my resume to restaurants and retail stores I would be happy to work at for an undetermined amount of time if my job search takes a while (or forever if I love it!). You have to be prepared that your job search could outlast your nest egg- it’s better to apply for these jobs and make some money while you’re off work than panic the week before a mortgage payment is due that you can’t cover. One added benefit of this is also that it provides structure and purpose to your day, which if you’re like me, you could be severely missing.
- Stay Positive (and enjoy the positives)- There are so many reasons in life to be positive. Literally a few hours after I got the news, I came across a story online about a young woman struggling with some life altering and truly difficult circumstances that were far more serious and difficult than finding a new job. It was an important reminder that there’s always something to be grateful for. Maybe your job wasn’t as great as you thought it’d be when you started it, but you were too afraid of the financial strain to leave. Maybe this is your chance to re-evaluate who you want to be professionally. Maybe this is the opportunity to take a bit of time off to be with your family or rest your mind that you’ve been needing. Maybe this is the kick in the pants that you needed to pursue something great for yourself. Who knows! All I know is that attitude is everything, and can change a scary, hard experience into one that can change your life for the better.
While I focus on these four things, I’m enjoying no more 4:30am mornings, extra time to spend with my family, onesie mornings while I apply to jobs and all the promise that the next adventure in my life will hold.
What are your tips for someone who is experiencing job loss? Let me know in the comments.
*Photo Source: BRUCE EDWARDS / EDMONTON JOURNAL