Today, it will be an understatement to say that we are living in frightening and uncertain times.
As the economy plunges, millions of people have already lost their jobs and many more are wondering if they are next. Estimates from the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) shows that 122 million people lost their jobs in April 2020 alone. Of this, about 75 percent are daily-wage earners and small traders.
About 200,000 people have lost their jobs in the two-month period between March 15 and May 15. A majority of the job losses have been in the hospitality and tourism sector, followed by sales staff in the financial services sector. (Source: Moneycontrol.com)
So, what do you do if you lose your job? Putting your head in the sand and hoping for the best is not going to help.
I recommend that you become as proactive as possible and control the things you can control. A good way to start would be to think about your future self. Six months down the line, what would your future self want you to do during this time?
Here are three questions your future self might ask you.
HOW DID YOU MANAGE YOUR FINANCES?
Job hunting becomes that much more difficult when you’re also worried about paying next month’s utility bill.
If you don’t have a partner or any additional financial support; trim as much expenses as you can right now to prepare for a potential loss of income.
There is an immediate need to re-evaluate your budgets and sort expenses as per relevance. Identify your ‘must have’, ‘good to have’ and ‘need to have’ items and take a decision to prioritise just the ‘need to have’ items and forego the rest for the time being . It is crucial to take this decision for financial well being until the situation goes back to normal.
Spend money only on essential items and services. Unessential expenses could be those on entertainment, take away meals, and fashion as it’s important to take care of mental health as well..
As they say – Save for a rainy day
It is always advisable to have savings and an emergency fund. This fund can provide a cushion during times such as these. One should immediately start creating such funds once the epidemic is over so that they are ready for any hardships in the future.
TUNE UP YOUR PROFESSIONAL SKILLS
I genuinely hope it doesn’t happen, but let’s say, you lose your job next month.
Between now and then, you could add more skills to your current skillset to make yourself more ‘recruitable’. You could complete an online course in graphic design, data analytics, SEO or any other skill. This is especially important if you were already thinking about shifting employers or industries, or if you know you have some knowledge or skill gaps that need improving.
A latest Coursera report says India lags in data science skills, especially in data management. Within the data science domain, India ranks 51 globally (lagging). Within the data management competency, India ranks 58th globally – only slightly better than Nigeria and Philippines. Look for booming industry trends and up skill yourself.
A few options for improving your skills:
- Take an online course from LinkedIn Learning, Udemy or Coursera
- Renew or complete any professional certifications required from institutes
WOULD YOU BE READY FOR AN INTERVIEW TOMORROW?
If you do lose your job, you will want to jump back into the hiring pool as soon as possible.
Here’s what you can do to prepare:
- Update and Improve Your Resume – Add your most recent work experience, add in keywords from job postings that appeal to you and have a friend proofread the document. Also, you might want to create different versions of your resume if you decide to try out a different industry. For instance, if you are currently working in database management and you want to move to developer role; have a customised resume for each potential path.
- Update and Improve Your LinkedIn Profile – Start engaging with various groups and individuals on LinkedIn. Connect with former colleagues and classmates and write them a note to check in and wish them well. Comment on threads and share relevant articles and personal thoughts that might help someone in your network.
- Start Looking for Now – Even if you are still employed, it’s not too early to start scanning Indeed, LinkedIn and industry-specific job boards. You don’t need to submit an application right away. Just spend some time getting to know what kinds of jobs are available. Research companies that interest you. With many of these platforms, you can even subscribe to industry-specific email updates. Never miss a new listing.
The fear of losing your job can be overwhelming. You may choose to ignore or prepare. I recommend starting as early as possible and take things step by step. You don’t have to do everything at once. Take care of yourself and feel free to contact me for any questions.
We will get through this pandemic together.
Author: Vishal Punetha
Corporate Training Consultant
I Train Consultants India Pvt. Ltd.
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