There is nothing quite as frightening in life as being unemployed except, perhaps, being unemployed in an area of the country where the rates of unemployment are statistically higher than in most areas. The good news is that the economy is in better shape than it has been for years and new jobs are cropping up all the time.
The bad news is that you are without an income at the moment and are in need of finding a way to survive until those regular paychecks start rolling in again. Actually, that isn’t necessarily all bad because there are a few handy tips that will help you maintain things until you rejoin the workforce. This is a brief survival guide for the unemployed that is geared toward giving you the tools you need to make the most of this period of unemployment.
Never Say Never
One of the easiest traps to fall into when losing your job is despair. You have a family to feed, bills that keep coming in, and seemingly no work in your neck of the woods in your chosen profession. While that may be true at the moment, it isn’t always going to be the case. Some people recently unemployed simply give up with a fatalistic attitude and that is just what is preventing them from surviving this temporary turn of events.
Unless the nation is in a recession as deep and widespread as the Great Recession of a decade ago, there really isn’t any cause for alarm just yet. Keep a positive attitude, especially when applying for new work. Depression can lead to a feeling of futility wherein you don’t even try to find work or solutions to those bills piling up on the counter. It may seem bleak at the moment, but as the old cliché goes, tomorrow is another day. Don’t project disaster onto your future or you just might bring it to pass!
Keep on Pounding the Pavement
No, there may not be jobs within your profession close enough to make sense for you to apply for, but no one said you need to work within your chosen field if that’s what it takes to keep a roof over your head and food on the table. Who knows? You just might land a job that you really like and had no clue you would be good at anything other than the career you studied to master. Whether you intend to keep the ‘interim’ job you find or just hold on to it until a job comes open in your desired field, it is a way to survive during lean times.
Take Example from Lean Six Sigma
In the world of business, Lean Six Sigma is a methodology whereby the team collaborates on ways to reduce waste in order to improve profitability. There is much to be learned from this when it comes to living lean! Why not call the family together to get input from everyone from the youngest member to the eldest grandparent who can each suggest ways to cut back on expenses. Some members may even come up with alternative incomes until such time as mom or dad can get back to work. Perhaps a lemonade stand out front as suggested by the kids might be a little extreme, but you know what they say! When life gives you lemons, make lemonade! You never can tell when that budding entrepreneur in you might strike it rich. Stranger things have happened.
Will a Short Term Loan Tide You Over?
You would think that for the unemployed loans wouldn’t be available, but actually, some lenders are willing to underwrite loans for those out of work under certain conditions. Most often you will need to show an income of some sort, but what kind of income qualifies you for a loan varies from lender to lender. Sometimes if you have equity in your home that could be used as collateral for a personal loan and other times even TANF or state unemployment checks will qualify you.
The important thing to remember here is that you want to keep your loan as small as possible. Borrow just enough to get you through your immediate crisis and not a penny more. Remember, you do have to pay that back plus interest, so if you’ve been piling up the debt, don’t add to it with a frivolous loan!
Keep Your Household Budget Fluid
Probably the very first thing you did when you became unemployed was to sit down with your family budget to make cuts wherever you could. That is what most people do and it does help, at least initially. However, the longer you are unemployed, the more changes and cuts you will need to make. Look for ways to save a few dollars here and there without doing away with everything.
You may find ways to significantly reduce the amount of utilities you are using and you might find ways to reduce grocery money by learning to shop in bulk. There are always ways to cut expenses and, again, this is a time when you might want to get the entire family together. You’d be surprised at just how much some family members are willing to do without if it means keeping the family safe and sound living together.
Nothing Lasts Forever
In the end, remember that nothing lasts forever. You will eventually find a job and perhaps even one you love better than the job you just lost. Whether you need to relocate to a new city or choose a different career, this time of austerity isn’t going to last forever. As mentioned above, don’t let despair chain you in a cycle of inactivity.
It may be through no fault of yours that you are currently without gainful employment but it will be through your efforts that you find a new job. Stay positive and stay on top of job openings in your area. Apply for as many as possible and before you know it, you will be cashing that weekly check.