Before the pandemic hit, employment in the United States was reaching historic highs. Now, in the wake of the coronavirus, many who are fortunate enough to have a job are suffering from lingering anxiety about the future.
Worried about layoffs? You’re not alone. Millions of Americans are worried that they will lose their jobs due to the current state of the economy.
Losing a job can be a terrible blow, especially if you were already living paycheck to paycheck. But if that loss comes without warning, the emotional toll on top of the financial loss can be devastating.
No matter your situation—whether you have suffered a recent layoff, are worried that you might, or believe there isn’t the slightest possibility that you could find yourself unemployed—don’t become a passive victim by default.
Become the CEO
Take charge. Promote yourself to chief executive officer of your life. Develop strength and confidence in your ability to take control of your life. That means having contingency plans in place.
For example, know exactly what you will do if you are laid off next Friday.
Give Yourself 6 Months’ Notice
If you found out that you would lose your job six months from today, what would you do? That’s the question I asked a group of people recently. While the answers ranged all the way from, “Panic!” to, “Celebrate because I hate my job anyway,” overall, there was a sense of calm. Most respondents said six months would be more than enough time to figure out the solution and find another job.
That’s a nice thought, but in reality, a six-month notice of termination is highly unlikely. Most job layoffs come with little advance notice, if any.
In your new role as the CEO of your life, make it your top priority to get ready for an extended period of unemployment. Give yourself six months’ notice to get prepared.
Build an Emergency Fund
You need a pool of money that will keep you afloat in the event you and your income part company. You need enough money in the account to pay the bills and keep food on the table for at least six months in case of a severe financial challenge. Losing your job qualifies as a severe financial challenge.
Many of those who responded to the six-month question said that if they knew they would be unemployed in six months, they would start slashing expenses like crazy in anticipation of a dry spell. Curbing spending and paying down debt is good advice for anyone. Start living as though you are in a dry spell right now.
It’s a rare occurrence that everyone in the company gets a pink slip. Develop yourself into one of the employees the company cannot afford to lose. Learn to do more than one job. You’ll be more valuable to a company than those workers who are single-task oriented.
If the boss counts on you to solve problems and troubleshoot situations, you’ll increase your value. Stop watching the clock. Do more than is expected. Make self-discipline and reliability your outstanding qualities. Accept extra work without being asked.
Make sure you are an employee the boss doesn’t have to babysit, and you’ll become that rare person the company can’t afford to lose.
Plan for the Worst, Hope for the Best
There’s no time like today to get a plan in place. Simply knowing the steps you will take in the face of an emergency or unexpected turn of events will give you peace now and confidence then.
Being prepared is a great antidote for anxiety and stress.
Mary Hunt invites you to visit her at EverydayCheapskate.com, where this column is archived complete with links and resources for all recommended products and services. Mary invites questions and comments at “Ask Mary.” Tips can be submitted at Tips.EverydayCheapskate.com/. This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary is the founder of EverydayCheapskate.com, a frugal living blog and the author of the book “Debt-Proof Living.” Copyright 2020 Creators.com