Whether you’re fired or laid off, losing your job is never easy. If you have some safety nets prepared and keep the right strategies in mind, the transition can be smoother and shorter than if you’re unprepared. It might seem odd to “prepare” to lose your job, especially if things are going well. However, you never know when business could take a hit, and if that day comes, you’ll be glad you were ready.
Build Up Your Emergency Fund
This is financial advice 101. You should set aside money in a savings account each month for an emergency. These funds need to be separate from your retirement savings (which should be in an investment account). A good rule of thumb for an emergency fund is three to nine months’ worth of expenses, depending on how long it would take to regain a job in your field.
The best time to look for a job is when you already have one! Keep some irons in the fire by getting to know the people you interact with frequently, whether you work with them or not. When you have some spare time, chat them up and take an interest. What do they specialize in? What drives them? As you learn these facts, chances are they’ll gather the same info about you. Keep an eye out for these people. If you hear about an opportunity that matches up with someone’s personality or skill set, let them know! Whether or not they’re looking for work, they’ll appreciate that you kept them in mind. If the day comes when you need a favor, they’ll be sure to remember you.
Always Make Sure Your Contact Info Is Up to Date.
As you’ve built up a network, it’s important to keep the “lines” of the net intact. Even if it’s just to say “hey,” send a periodic email or make a call to the people you know. This serves a dual purpose: you can catch up a little, and you’ll know whether or not you need to update your address book. Your network is no good if you can’t get in touch with people when you need to!
Don’t Burn Bridge, Ever.
If you lose your job, no matter how it transpired, always leave with dignity. Even though you may never plan to work with someone again, you never know who else may be watching. In the future, one of the onlookers of your dismissal may be in a position to hire you. It’s a sure bet you’ll want them to remember your graceful departure rather than you making a scene.
Once you’ve left your place of work for good, you should apply to every position you can. Even if you’re not really excited about a job, take the interview anyway. Interviews are about finding out whether or not you’re the right “fit” for the job, and vice versa. You might be pleasantly surprised by an opportunity you hadn’t taken seriously; you’ll never know unless you try it! Either way, when you do interview for the perfect job, you’ll be glad for all the practice.
However, you can’t spend all of your time interviewing and sending resumes. Get active. Spend time at the gym or on an old hobby you love. Now you finally have time to go through all the junk in your basement! Keeping yourself productive will do wonders for your self-esteem in between occupations.
Good luck out there!