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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

What to Do if You’re Going to Lose Your Job

Though the economy is turning around, there are still fields that are experiencing major downsizing. Whether you’ve heard that your entire company is in trouble or just that your position may be lost, it might be time to take a few preventative steps to ensure that you and your family are taken care of should you lose your job.

Get your insurance in place:

Whether it’s for health insurance or the insurance of knowing you have money in the bank, chances are now’s as good a time as any to square things away. Fight the urge to squirrel away all of your money, and leave enough to take a look at your insurance portfolio to put yourself in as good a position as possible.

Take a look at your financial situation. Do you have a nest egg or enough savings that you could make it six months? If not, you may want to consider applying for a low-interest credit card while it’s easier to get one. Check with credit unions, which typically have better rates. While you’re still employed, don’t put a single thing on the card. If you do become unemployed, keep it in your sock drawer and only take it out for emergencies.

If you’re in a position where you were considering re-financing before you began to think you might lose your job, you may want to go ahead and do it now. Take a look into mortgage insurance, which is explained more here. The rule of thumb is not to delay anything, but to make as few large financial moves as possible. You’re going to want action without tying up a lot of money or creating new bills.

In that vein, you’re going to want to pay down high-interest cards as fast as you can prudently. At the same time you’re paying bills down, you also want to be saving money. After all, paying double one month won’t get the lenders off your back if you’re late the next month. Now isn’t the time to splurge on purchases either. Beef up your bank account by clipping coupons, shopping at bargain stores and just making do without the things you would typically spring for.

Find a new job

Now is as good a time as any! It’s much easier to find a job when you’re currently employed because hiring managers assume you really want to fill their position, not that you’re desperately seeking a paycheck. You can also use connections at your current job. Likely, if people know your position is unstable, they’ll be more than willing to help you find something else in the field.

Take any certification or training classes your company offers. If they have programs that give discounts on classes or towards online degrees, take advantage of that. Your main goal is to become as hiring friendly as possible. You’ll also want to update your résumé and your social networks.

Despite the extreme stress involved with transitioning, you’re going to want to stay on good terms with your fellow employees. They’re a large part of your network. And even if Joe just got promoted to a safer position that you feel you deserved, you have to be nice to him. You don’t have to start groveling or bringing in muffin baskets, just be professional and polite. Stay out of office gossip and be a team player. It might not help you keep your job, but you want everyone to have a positive view of you in case they hear of something opening up.

You’ll also want to beef up your network outside the office. Connect to people who you haven’t talked to in a while, just to say hello. Now isn’t the time to ask about jobs, just pass along a friendly greeting. If you need to come to them later after you lose your job, the groundwork is set.

Join professional networks and make as many connections as you can. Start blogging on your field or contribute articles to professional journals. You want your name and face to be as recognizable as possible.

It’s likely with the state of the economy that your position will survive and your company will turn around. However, that is the larger trend and not a reassurance. If you’re concerned, take action to prepare for the worst. Keep a positive attitude and make level-headed decisions to make it through unemployment.

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