Will you be prepared if you suddenly find yourself jobless?
Chances are you’ve read the story of Noah building the Ark in advance of the big flood. Or you’ve seen any variety of movies be it a comedy or documentary, where Noah was given a message from God to build the Ark. He’s instructed to gather the different species of animals in pairs and load them up onto the ark along with his family in anticipation of the big flood.
Often Noah was portrayed as a bit off his rocker as no one believed that any such flood was coming due to the clear blue skies and no rain in sight. And yet, he persevered, preparing for the big event…even though he didn’t know when that would be. So, when the rains and subsequent flood did come, Noah was ready.
As a person in your fifties or sixties, perhaps it would be wise to take a lesson from Noah when it comes to preparing for the future.
Think about it. Noah gets a tip off that something major is heading his way. He’s told, you better get ready and this is what you need to do. While others around him think he’s nuts, he gets busy preparing for his future and the survival of his family and the animal life.
Are you getting signals that there will be major changes within your organization? Have you noticed how long-term employees are starting to leave when they seemed perfectly happy with their work? Are you hearing the rumblings in the hallways that a department in another city or State is closing down?
All of these are signs to watch out for. Your department might be next. Maybe not tomorrow or the next month, but it could be further down the road. You could be the next one out of a job.
Let’s be real. No one wants to lose their job, so the last thing you’re likely to be thinking about is preparing for losing it. It seems counter intuitive. I get it. Yet, with the daily Google Alerts coming to my inbox about corporate layoffs, I think the family conversation on the subject of ‘what would we do if suddenly I lost my job?’ needs to happen.
So what should one do when they don’t know if or when a flood might be coming there way? Good question. Here are my thoughts on a few areas to consider.
Build your network whilst your still employed
Now is not the time to be flying under the radar. Now it when you want to be seen as a valuable asset to the company so that when the time comes to decide who stays and who goes, you’re not in the latter category. Make yourself valuable.
Dust off your old Resume / CV and update if. Have it ready to go should you suddenly find yourself with a termination letter. You’ll be able to immediately jump on new opportunities while others are still reeling from the shock of ‘what just happened’?
Connect or reconnect with others in your industry on LinkedIn. Start making comments on relevant posts and add a few of your own. Establish yourself as a thought leader or an industry expert. Be seen.
Get out and network. Attend Meet Up groups or Association gatherings. Attend conferences within and outside of your industry. When you do the business card swap, make sure you follow up in a timely manner. That means within 3-5 days of meeting, not a month later.
Prepare a spread sheet of your network contacts with their names, emails and telephone numbers. You may not have access to their details if you are asked to leave the premises immediately.
Make the most of your company sponsored benefits
The first thing you might consider is taking advantage of all of your medical benefits. Take advantage of your company paid medical check-ups. Use your dental benefits and get your eyes checked. Purchase that new pair of glasses while you still have some form of co-pay.
If you’ve been paying into a benefits program, you might as well use it or lose it.
Watch your spending
As your financial situation is the first thing to be affected, you definitely want to focus on saving where you can. Let’s look at your spending habits. Cut out the things you really don’t need.
Stop paying for cable channels you don’t watch. Honestly, you can only watch one channel at a time (channel surfing doesn’t count). Get rid of the home land line. Few people call you on a home phone anymore.
Stop eating out so often. Stay in and eat at home, it’s healthier and cheaper. Make a weekly menu, and don’t go grocery shopping until you see what’s in the cupboards first. Save the wine and beer for the weekend. Put the money you save each week in a special kitty.
Stop shopping for stuff you don’t need. The word SALE does not mean BUY ME NOW.
Have a garage sale or sell your stuff on Craig’s List. Sell off what you don’t need or donate it.
There you have it. My thoughts and ideas on preparing for the unforeseen flood. Look at it this way, even if this never happens to you, you’ll end up being more valuable to your company, you’ll be healthier, and you would have curtailed some of your spending and have more money in the bank.