When you read the title of this post, one of the first thoughts to go through your mind might have been, “Who wants to think about being unemployed?” True, no one has dreams of finding themselves without a job, or facing unemployment. However, the reality is that in today’s unstable economy, you actually should think about unemployment, and what you can do to prepare yourself, your home, and your family for that scenario. Here are 10 things you can do now to soften the blow should you find yourself without work.
Debt Free is the Way to Be
Obviously, no one likes to have debt, and if you’re unemployed, debt can really be a problem. Creditors don’t usually care that you don’t have a job, and those bills will still be due. If you start now trying to pay down any debts you have to free up your income. This will allow you to put more money into savings, start an emergency fund, or just have an overall cushion in your bank account. Once you have those debts behind you, purpose only to use cash (not credit cards or loans) going forward. If you don’t have the cash available, don’t spend it!
Build Up A Food Stockpile
this is a great way to plan ahead for a time when you don’t have extra money, or the budget is really tight. If you’re going to stockpile food, you are going to need a good storage space, and in a lot of cases, a stand alone freezer. If you have a garden (another way to save money!) you can freeze or can extra fruits and vegetables to eat on during the off season. You can also take advantage of store sales and coupons to stretch your dollar at the store. One thing I like to do is buy meat that is reduced for quick sale and freeze it. It won’t go bad this way, and I have gotten some great deals on expensive meat! Some other non-perishable items to consider stockpiling – canned goods, cereal, dried beans, baking staples, and rice.
Get Your House in Order
The last thing you want to think about if you’re facing unemployment is a costly home repair. Not that you can always prevent those type of emergencies, but you can do regular maintenance on lots of things around your home to keep them working well. Keep plumbing and electrical systems up to date and well cared for – taking care of minor issues as they come up to keep them from becoming major issues. Fix leaky faucets, make sure windows are well insulated (which can also save money on heating and cooling bills), and check to see that your roof is in good shape.
Save it For A Rainy Day
Another way to prep for unemployment is to begin saving money wherever you can. This could mean cutting unnecessary expenses, like extended cable packages that you don’t really watch, or getting rid of cable altogether. It could mean turning a yearly week long vacation into a weekend getaway, or just vacationing every other year. Start couponing to save money at the grocery store. If you don’t really need it – don’t buy it! There are all kinds of things you can do to put money back for emergencies.
Look Professional Online (and on paper)
This is a biggie in the age of social media – where everyone shares their life online – the good, the bad, and the ugly. More and more employers are looking at the social media accounts (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter) of potential new hires, and that can sometimes influence who they hire and who they don’t. Keep your social media accounts free of things that could reflect badly on you – or an employer. Refrain from using profanity or inappropriate photos on your social media pages. By being responsible with social media, it goes a long way in presenting a professional image when you get a new job. Appearance matters on your resume, too. Consider cleaning up and updating your resume to reflect any new job history, current references, and trainings or classes you have taken that might help you to land a new position or promotion.
Sharpen Your Image
Along with brushing up your online image, you might want to use the time that you have between jobs (or before you find yourself looking for work) to clean up your image – get a haircut, find some new professional looking interview outfits, stop smoking. All of these are things that have an influence on interview presence with employers – and while they may not get your hired – they will go a long way in presenting a put together appearance.
Learn Something New
The old saying “never stop learning” rings true when you are looking for a new career. Start now improving your skills. Take a night class, get an additional certification, or find a new skill you would like to learn. Potential employers take note when those they are interviewing have a resume full of continuing education classes or other workshops. It means you’re serious about improving your performance, and want to do the best you can in your field.
Insurance is Key
Another thing that many people don’t think about until they are unemployed is their insurance. Most of the time, if you lose your job, you lose your insurance. It is prudent to think about how your family would have their health care needs taken care of if the insurance policy is no longer in effect. Look at short term policies for your family, and consider starting a medical savings account in case you should find yourself uninsured. Also, make sure you have money saved to continue paying for renters or homeowners insurance, and even life insurance policies.
Find a Hobby You Love
If you’ve never found a hobby that you really enjoy, being unemployed is the perfect time to find one – as you will have lots of free time on your hands. You might find something that you just love – and it will fill up any time you might waste away. Another positive to this is that it could become a way to make a little income. Do you love to sew? You could make money sewing for others. Can you repair and rehab antique furniture pieces and give them new life? People are always on the hunt for quality home décor pieces. Your new hobby may be a brand new business before you know it!
Become Your Own Boss
Have you ever considered starting your own business? As mentioned in the point before, a new hobby could quickly turn into a money making venture. You also could think about starting your own company from the ground up. Do you have leadership skills, and a trade that you are passionate about? For example – do you love photography and taking pictures of family members? A photography business may be something for you to look into. You could set your own hours, rates, and control all aspects of the business, too. Plus, you would be sharing your talent with others! Even if you aren’t able to find a new job, having your own business on the side could be a great source of income!
Job loss and unemployment aren’t fun topics to talk about, but they are important to consider. Having a plan in place will help avoid the stress of a panic if you were to find yourself without work. It will also keep a sense of normalcy to what could be a very unstable situation.