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Few changes can be as sudden or dramatic as a personal change in economic circumstances. Losing a job, a change in the family, a company failure or the death of your industry can bring a dramatic change in your circumstances including your opportunities and prospects for a secure financial future. A natural reaction is panic and anxiety which can actually reduce the chances we have for a good outcome. Other common reactions include anger, betrayal and loss of identity. Rather than making rash decisions or "freezing up" and making no decisions at all. This is a great time to look at real opportunities such as changing our work to something we enjoy or simply taking a new road and perhaps escape a mental and emotional rut we might be in. What can you do to survive and prosper? This is the question on the minds of millions of people world wide today. Yes you are not alone, but a few simple questions could start you off in the right direction. What are some options? How can you make change without wrecking your life? What next?
"Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the
past or present are certain to miss the future."
- John F. Kennedy
A New Reality and A New Strategy
Your situation has changed so you need to develop a new strategy. Perhaps you have been accustomed to rising early, going to your office or other place of work and now that your job situation has changed you feel lost and anxious. What can you do now. First get a new perspective. Your life and your employment are two different things (What?) You are what you eat, but your not who you work for. Whether you lose your job or not you are still the same professional person. You still like and dislike the same things. You have the same interests. You should have much bigger goals and interests than just getting up and going to work every day. If you can't think of any then your life is being strangled out if you and you need to get some. Many people tie their worth to their employer and employers often play to this by telling you that you are special. Often these claims are really a way to give you a perceived benefit (note a perceived benefit is a technical term in marketing) that makes you work harder but doesn't cost anything to the employer. You work extra hard because you believe you have a life long asset and you are special because you work for the company when the reality is that who you are is what makes you special, not who you work for. How many jerks have jobs? Plenty, does this make them good people or special? No. Do you need them hanging around making your life miserable because they are employed? No. Who you are and what you do for work may be closely combined and that is good, but you are still the same person even if your employers name or career are changing. Rather than lamenting the past, when it becomes clear that it's time to move on then look for new opportunities in life.
A feeling of being lost and apprehensive is common. What can
Explore your options.
Rather than giving up or lying around drowning in self pity this is a good time to get busy making your future something new and perhaps better. Losing your job in a failing company is usually a unmistakable sign that it's time to move on. You don't really want to work for a company that is failing and can not keep you employed. It's better to just move on and find a new future rather than to despair over the past. Perhaps you made a mistake at work or office politics did you in. Do you really want to work somewhere that you face these problems every day? There are plenty of jobs where no one is going to yell, constantly complaining or trying to wreck your efforts. Why stay where there are big problems? Perhaps you feel that you should have been able to manage the situation. There may be lessons to learn but remember perhaps it was someone else who failed to manage the situation. Your job situation in your previous job is not all about you, other people are involved. The boss and your coworkers all have an affect on your job and this is sometimes out of your control. Perhaps the issue at work is a change in the companies structure and your job was cut. This might be a candidate for looking within the company for new employment or you may have been fired, what can you learn from the experience that will help you later? Rather than dwelling on the past and never moving on it is time to examine our options.
Some next steps,
Apply for unemployment benefits, this will help you get by. Unemployment insurance.
Consider working for a temp service to get new business contacts.
Perhaps you will be looking for full time work to replace your lost income but don't ignore other job offers or opportunities. Could you find a part time job, if your unemployment benefits are non existent, that allows you to continue looking while providing some income.
Are there services you can provide in the community that others would be willing to pay for? House cleaning, mowing, consulting and so on? Don't be afraid to work a little, it will be good for your health. Mental, emotional and physical.
Don't forget to network with others, friends, neighbors and others who may be able to help you get a foot into the door at another place of employment.
If your company structure has changed. Look for other positions in your company, perhaps part time or freelance work that you would enjoy, but only if the company as a whole isn't failing. You don't want to keep tying yourself to a sinking ship.
If you start a business for yourself be sure that you have skills to market and get clients. Have the needed equipment and don't spend lavishly until you are making plenty of money. Start on a shoestring, and have part time work on the side, this will help you stay in business. There are plenty of online sources for help. There are plenty of low cost start up ideas. You will need to work hard every day to care for your business. Contrary to what get rich commercials would have you believe your not going to be sipping margaritas in the Caribbean while your new company takes off on it's own.
You have the option of continuing your health coverage for a time. COBRA
You also have other options that can help your financial health. The economy relies not only on production to produce income (or valuables that you need) it also is built on spending. Spending can be cut in amazing ways to aid in relieving the possible pain of changing circumstances. First we will consider the steps you can take to lower your spending and protect yourself, afterward we will consider what these changes mean for your everyday life style.
"The only difference between a rut and a grave is their dimensions."
Change Your Spending, Prioritize Your Debts
Some tough choices may have to be made if you are over extended financially. There are some practical steps that can help if you are financially in trouble.
Prioritize your debts. Pay for the things you need, a home, transportation, and phone not cable.
Create a budget that spends only what you have if possible.
Ask for help from social services.
Resolve to be a master of change rather
than a victim of change.
- Brian Tracy
Consider a room mate to share expenses. Work together as a family for income.
Look for a job within easy commute or walking distance if transportation is a problem.
Don't eat out or if you do, eat inexpensively for a treat.
Shop for bargains, using coupons and ads (many stores such as wal-mart will honor their competitors ads, get weekly sales papers and use them to get a better deal on the items you need. Just present the ads at checkout.)
Don't spend money frivolously to make yourself feel better. There are plenty of things to do, go for a walk, get a hobby, search for a job or start a business on the side. Have friends over or go out with them, just keep the spending down until you are back on your feet.
Use a calling card or cell phone with free long distance for long distance calls.
Make good use of email.
Pay bills online.
Combine trips to save on transportation.
Buy food in bulk and cook at home. Become your own 5 star chef. Eat great food for less. Avoid buying food at convenience stores. Pack a lunch.
Take a deep breath, enjoy life and consider the possibilities.
"A smooth sea never made a skillful
Great spirits have always encountered
violent opposition from mediocre minds.
- Albert Einstein
Yes things have changed but use this opportunity to be prodded into a new future with some real possibilities.
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