Last night I watched a documentary about 4 or 5 families who were unemployed and have been for an extended period of time. Like so many Americans, these families were struggling to keep their homes, better yet, keep food on the table! I’ve heard many stories about the challenges people face with unemployment, but this documentary REALLY grabbed my attention. These families were ordinary American citizens who, in their minds, did everything right. Good jobs, money in the bank, highly educated, and a house with the white picket fence. Then one day they are summoned to the HR office and their lives changed in an instant.
I was amazed to see how someone who had the credentials and experience behind them could be out of work for almost 2 years! One particular individual was even more anxious because her unemployment benefit was about to run out….it had hit the 99 week point! As I was watching, I began to think if this was truly a hopeless situation, or if there was anything that could be done to improve the situation. There are so many people in this predicament (look at the unemployment rate!). I can’t imagine there is ever anything someone could do that could prevent them from being laid off, but I jotted down 10 quick steps that may help the unfortunate unemployment situation…
- Keep up with your network– I’ve begun to believe that nowadays it’s about who you know, not what you know. Keep up with your network! Sites like LinkedIn are great ways to stay in tuned with your professional contact list.
- Don’t burn your bridges– my mother always told me to never burn bridges because not only is it just plain tacky, but you never know if or how that person or company could help you in the future. Treat people the way you want to be treated because what goes around always comes around!
- Have an emergency fund- of course this goes without saying. The rule of thumb is to have at least 3 months of expenses saved towards your emergency fund, but you may want to increase it to 6-8 months. Depending on your circumstance and how stable you feel your job is, you may want to be more conservative and attempt to save a years’ worth. After watching the documentary last night, one year saved really would be nice!
- Be open to relocate to another city with greater opportunity What I found is sometimes people are emotionally attached to one city for whatever reason, and close out other markets that may offer better opportunity. If you’re in a field where you are not getting enough opportunity, look at neighboring cities, or do research to see what city has the greatest opportunity for your field.
- Live well below your means and eliminate DEBT! This is pretty straight forward so I’ll move on to Step 6.
- Have a sense of gratitude for what you have….ALWAYS! I know it’s easy to complain about things when they are not quite going your way (I’m guilty of it too!), but I think we should always be grateful for what we DO HAVE. Think about it, does complaining ever change your current circumstance?? You never what you have until it’s gone, that’s with anything in life, not just finances. So let’s show appreciation.
- Have an entrepreneur mindset. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard stories about people who were laid off and then started their business based on their passion in life. I’ve seen where layoffs were actually a blessing in disguise because it allowed the employee to become a business owner. Think about your passions in life and brainstorm on ways to monetize on it! Personally, I am infatuated by my fellow personal finance bloggers who write great articles that help others and can make money off of it. These are some of my personally faves!
- Hold on to the ones you love- your support system. A support system is ALWAYS a good thing, especially in troubling times. It’s the support you receive from loved ones that help you get through the storms. There was one family on the documentary last night that had to hold on tight to each other because life was throwing them hard blows! They weren’t just dealing with their unemployment issues, they had other problems as well. Without each other, I don’t think they would have made it through!
- Remember, what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger! I’m sure you’ve heard this phrase before and have probably used it to get you through a tumultuous time in your life. It’s been the challenges in life that have really helped me develop as an individual. I strongly believe character is built when you go through hard times.
- Confidence will get you far! In the documentary they had a segment that showed a sign saying “unemployed need not apply!” I thought that was crazy and then I thought it really is easier to find a job when you already have a job. Why is that?? A friend and I discussed this yesterday, and we concluded when you have a job and are looking for a new job, you don’t have the unconscious “desperation” as an unemployed candidate may have. There is a certain level of confidence that is conscious or unconscious that is translated to the employer.
This is actually GOOD NEWS for the unemployed if you know to remain confident in your skills and ability when you walk in a job interview. YOU GOT THIS!!
Hey, I love to talk but I love to hear your opinions more, so your 2¢ matter! Share your thoughts!!!