Many people have lost or are on the verge of losing their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With the global economy contracting, individuals and organisations are currently looking for ways to save money or make more money due to the pressure the economy is undergoing.
As the world still struggles to keep the virus in check, companies both large and small are looking for ways to reduce their staff and are shying away from hiring new ones. If you are worried you are going to lose your job or have lost it already, the stress and worry can be overwhelming.
No matter how it may seem now, there is hope. With time and the right technique, you will get over the setback and start to move on with your life. If you’ve found yourself with no job, a reduction in salary, or are on the verge of being laid off, there are several things you can do to manage the loss, cut expenses and bring in new income.
The rollercoaster of emotions that come with losing a job can be exhausting. You are worried about your finances, finding a new job and the well-being of your family, uncertain about the future, and also have to cope with the change in your routine.
Allow yourself to grieve. Like with the loss of anything, you have to allow yourself time to grieve. It’s completely natural for you to mourn your job, as it might signify the end of a particular lifestyle or identity. Losing your job comes with different kinds of emotions such as anger, sadness, numbness, depression, etc. which you ought to address. Even though a lot of people believe that feeling less is a sign that you are moving on, bottling up these feelings would do more damage in the long run. Accepting and recognising that these feelings are normal would allow you to cope with them appropriately, heal, and move on.
Reach out. Your first instinct might be to withdraw from family and friends because you are ashamed or embarrassed. Social interaction is nature’s antidote to stress, so being with people during this period of loss is paramount. Find people you can talk to freely who are willing to listen to you. Talking with people can have a very calming effect on the nerves.
Maintain a daily routine. You might be tempted to stay in bed all day; after all, you have nowhere to go to. But to keep from falling into depression, it’s important to establish and follow a set routine. Waking up, eating, and bathing at the same time every day leaves you feeling energised. Get in the habit of dressing in real clothes and don’t fall into the temptation of wearing your pajamas all day. Practise good hygiene – this can help boost your mood and sense of optimism.
Focus on what you can control. Don’t waste your time worrying about things you have no control over such as whether a potential employer would call you back or if you would get hired by a company you applied to, instead focus on what you can control such as learning a new skill, writing a great resume, and setting up meetings with your contacts.
How to cut expenses and bring in new income
It is recommended that you budget the money you have left if you lose your job during this pandemic. The following tips can help:
Eliminate unnecessary expenses: The first thing you need to do is eliminate any expenses you can live without. You need to be ruthless about the cut and discipline yourself to follow it. Make a list of all the things you spend money on and cross out the ones that are classified as “wants”. These include things like subscriptions, clothes, take-outs, gadgets, etc. You could still go a step further to circle out items that are important but you can cut back on or do without for a while, such as revising your phone and internet plan, cleaning service, etc. Your new budget should focus on essentials, such as food, transportation, and utilities. If you have an emergency fund, divide that by the new monthly expense you just created, so you have an idea of how long you can go without a salary.
Prioritize your remaining expenses. If you don’t have any money coming in, it would not be long before your emergency fund is completely drained. Your top priorities are food and housing. You should see about talking to your landlord to work out a suitable payment option if you are worried about how to make your house payment. As for food, you should try as much as you can to stick to the essentials, it might mean having to eat food you normally don’t eat. For your other bills, you have to figure out the smartest ways to handle them.
Pay off your debt. If you have loans with financial institutions and you can afford to pay them off, do that, so you don’t incur more in penalties. You can also reach out to your loan provider to see if there is any concession that can be made. You won’t know unless you ask.
Find a new source of income. Even though a lot of companies have slowed down or even stopped hiring, there still a few of them hiring during the pandemic. During this period, it’s advisable to be flexible with your search. This may include changing careers entirely and maybe focusing on “recession-proof” industries. Another way to find a new source of income is to find jobs that require you to work from home or a side gig that keeps you safe while you earn money. Side gigs that are in high demand during the pandemic include online tutoring, food delivery services, etc. You can also make some extra cash by renting out or selling your car, or other valuable gadgets you own.
Finally, stay optimistic. Things will not stay this way indefinitely. If you use these tips and continue in your job search, you should end up with a new role in time.
The journey to career progression can be challenging and sometimes lonely. That is why we have created a thriving supportive community of individuals who help, encourage and advise others within the ecosystem. Join the STRETCH Connect here.