In this time of economic crisis workers are finding themselves laid of in record numbers. As the unemployment rate rises, for many desperation is setting in. While job loss is serious it does not have to be the end of the world.
Even for those of us who have done everything right- investments, emergency funds, and low debt- the current economic crisis has turned many a savings account into a pittance. Even if you have access to cash, it will not stretch as far as grocery prices rise and the cost of living rise. The duration between jobs is longer as well. With over 2.5 million workers suffering from long term unemployment, drastic action must be taken in order to avoid a personal crisis.
Psychologically, unemployment can wreak havoc on your ego. Regardless of the fact that being laid off rarely reflects on your worth as an employee, it is all too easy to feel sorry for yourself and sink into a depression. This can make it hard to stay motivated during a job search and lead to strained relations with your family. You must do your best to continue to relate to your family. This is your support network. You are all in this together and the old adage of what does not kill us makes us stronger is especially true in this case.
A few tips to avoid depression:
1) Continue to treat your days as if you are employed.
In other words, no sleeping in, lounging around in your pajamas, or watching bad daytime TV. Wake up at the same time on week days and get dressed. Put in a full shift searching, applying, and interviewing for jobs.
2) Your spouse is your best confidant, especially during a crisis such as unemployment.
Two heads are definitely better than one, and your spouse is personally vested in helping to guarantee your success. If you are scared, imagine how they must be feeling. Discuss your situation regularly, ask for their input, and most importantly do not keep any secrets.
3) Do not forget to schedule time for fun.
You may be tempted to spend every working hour looking for a new job. Don’t! Schedule down time. Looking for new employment is a hard job, especially now in this negative economy. Keep frugality in mind and schedule low cost outings such as a picnic or a family game night. This will strengthen your family ties while also insuring your sanity.
But what about money?
The most terrifying part of surviving unemployment is the negative cash flow. Bills are still due but there is no paycheck to pay them. The trick is to be proactive.
1) If you have been making payments on revolving debt such as credit cards, return to paying the minimum. If things get really tight, these will be the first to not be paid.
2) Contact creditors before they contact you. Tell them honestly that you have lost your job and that it may be some time before you find new employment. Many creditors will work with you if you contact them first.
3) Your home is your first priority. Following that is utilities and food. Everything else is just fluff and you need to prioritize accordingly.
4) Garage sales and Ebay can help you declutter while making some money. Look for every opportunity to make a little bit of money and to feel as though you are useful.
5) Cut costs everywhere. Turn the heat down, cancel cable, cut your grocery spending to the minimum. You will be amazed at how little you can spend if you put your mind to it.
It is not unusual right now to be unemployed for several months, but you can survive it and keep your life intact. Do not be ashamed if you find a job making less than you were previously or in a completely different field. For an example, a laid off engineer can make extra money doing freelance technical writing. You made find a new niche for yourself and armed with your new frugal habits the pay cut will be painless compared to unemployment.