How can you survive unemployment?
Some of the largest US companies such as Coca Cola, IBM, USPS, and Caterpillar have implemented or are planning to implement massive layoffs this year. In addition, a number of smaller companies are also planning to follow suit. Since there is no job that is 100% secure these days, most people begin to worry after hearing news such as these. Could your job be the next target? If you see the telltale signs of an impending mass job cut in your company, it is about time you start preparing for the worst. Here are some tips that can help you prepare for possible unemployment.
Build your emergency fund. To soften the blow of unemployment, live a more modest lifestyle and start cutting back on extraneous expenses. Reduce your utilities and use them frugally to lower your bills. Put as much money as you can in your emergency fund. Keep in mind that you should have at least six month’s worth of living expenses saved up to tide you over the hard months that are yet to come.
Know what benefits you have accrued. Do you have any unused vacation time? If you do, try to see if your company’s policy allows for payment. If not, you can use the vacation time for job hunting. You should also look into your pension and 401(k) to see how you can protect these benefits.
Stay in the game. Keep your resume updated and stay in touch with your network. Don’t stop looking for new career opportunities so you will always have a steady stream of leads. These things can be extremely helpful when you suddenly find yourself looking for a new job.
Prove your worth. If you have been hearing news about an impending job cut, show your boss why he needs to keep you. Document your contributions to let the management know how difficult things would be if they let you go.
Know what severance package your company offers. Do your research to know what to expect when the ax finally falls. Most companies offer two weeks or more of pay for each year of service rendered, and a continuance of several benefits for a specified period of time. You also need to know if your company provides outplacement services (career counseling, help in resume and cover letter preparation, etc.) in case you need some help with your next job search.
Start a side business. You need to generate additional income while you are unemployed. If you are skilled at doing something, consider selling your services online or off to make some extra cash. Be a little more creative and explore the possibilities.