What to do when you lose your job
Losing your job is devastating. Given how many Australians are living pay to pay or how much debt we are in, losing your income could result in homelessness fairly quickly. So what do you do?
Do you have time to prepare?
If you know your company is downsizing or you have time to prepare, it is different from losing your job suddenly. Both are still hard, but if you have a timeframe you can start applying for jobs and change tactics right now. Dave Ramsey, from The Total Money Makeover, calls it storm mode. Basically, scale everything back to basics. If you were paying off debt aggressively, drop back to minimum payments. Put everything into savings and do what you need until you get another job.
This article is going to focus mainly on surviving job loss when you didn’t expect it. The tips can be used by anyone though.
Assess your finances
Shock is likely to be the first thing you feel when you know you’ve lost your job. The quicker you can take some action, the better off you’ll be. Take time to review all your finances right now and adjust what you can.
Check out the links in the 21 Day Money Challenge to see areas you can cut back. Reduce usage where possible, meal plan, get free and super cheap groceries, check out other freebies and overall, aim to be smart with your money. It’s a good time to do a new budget based on living off either your savings or applying for a living off Centrelink until you have a new job. Find out more about creating and sticking to a budget here. Try to remain positive though and know that this isn’t permanent.
Look for jobs
As basic as it sounds, looking for a job is not simply a matter of applying for whatever you see. You need to update your resume, write cover letters and apply. Utilise recruitment agencies and if you don’t already have LinkedIn, get it and create a great profile. Connect with all your networks and let them know you are looking for a job.
Use LinkedIn jobs to search for jobs, set your profile so recruiters know you are looking and apply for anything relevant. Check out job websites and connect with job providers to increase your opportunities.
The more proactive you are about it, the quicker and easier getting a new job will be. Ideally, you will get exactly what you want, but if you don’t, something in the general field or area you want to be working in will be better than no job.
Be aware, there are hundreds of applications for most jobs so do not expect a response if you are unsuccessful.
Look for other ways to make money
You still need to afford to live while looking for a job and until your first pay comes in. Even if you are applying for Centrelink, that can take time too. My first step is always to look at things I can do which won’t take much of my time. For example, renting a room on Airbnb (check out how to make money and my top tips for Airbnb here), rent your garage out, rent out your car through Car Next Door (try it first as a customer if you like and get $15 off your first trip here to see if it is something you are comfortable with).
Consider ways to make money on the side or around other commitments so when you get a job you can keep your other streams of income going. Check out the best Australian online survey sites here (Octopus Group, Swagbucks and Vindale have been popular). Read through and try any of the 43 ways for single mums to make money (they can be done by anyone) or check out my monthly updates with how I made money on the side that month, how much I made and how you can too.
There are so many ways to make money, it is simply a matter of finding what works for you and your lifestyle.
Call your insurance, the bank and everything else to negotiate a better deal. At some point, if you have been out of work for a while, you will need to call and talk to them. You are better off telling them you are in financial hardship and working with them than you are leaving it and not paying. When debts and bills aren’t paid, they continue to accrue then get sent to debt collectors which end up on your credit file permanently. By approaching the companies, working with them and creating a plan for financial hardship, you get some breathing room to sort your things out and it doesn’t go on your file.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Access charities and Centrelink, they are here to help. Tell them your situation, look things up online and see what help is available for you. Many charities can help with financial counselling, vouchers for bills, food and no interest loans. Centrelink has payments for different situations including looking for work, rent assistance, advance payments and more.
As hard as it can be going to these places, they are there to help us in times like this. It’s not easy, but it is worth getting the help you need so you can get back on your feet sooner.
Consider doing a course to increase your skills or changing your occupation if you didn’t love your career anyway. There are numerous courses you can do online around your life and if you have the extra time because you aren’t working, now is a great time to do it.