What if you lose your job tomorrow?
There’s no doubt about it, losing your job can change your life. But there are some simple steps you can take now to make sure that, should the worst happen, you come out of
it a survivor.
Imagine walking into work one day. The sun’s shining, you’ve got a packed day ahead. It’s business as usual. Or so you think.
No sooner have you sat down at your desk than you’re told the news. You’ve been made redundant. Momentarily you might think: “Great. No more getting up at the crack of dawn. I hated working here any way.”
But the reality of what has just happened will suddenly hit you like a ton of bricks.
“How much have I got to keep up the rent before my money runs out?
“What about that whopping great credit card bill I’ve just received?
“And why did I just buy that Rs 3,000 pair of boots?” you scream. “If only I’d known this was going to happen. Aaargh!”
You’ve just gone from career girl to out-of-work girl in less time than it takes to choose which lipstick goes with your outfit.
And let’s face it. You could pretty much lose our jobs at some stage and we won’t necessarily get much warning either.
Short-term contracts are commonplace. And in some sectors redundancies are a fact of life. We don’t want a job for life any more but, more crucially, employers no longer offer them anyway.
Face your fears
What are you scared of most? Falling out of love? Getting drunk and making a fool of yourself at the office party? Being hit by a bus the day you’re wearing your oldest pair of knickers?
How about being forced to move house because you can’t afford the payments? Falling out with your partner as money worries take over? Losing your self-esteem as you see yourself sinking lower and lower into debt?
Those are the sorts of things we should all fear, far more.
I’m a survivor
The good news is there are a few simple steps you can take to make sure that, should the worst happen and your dream job lead to the dole queue, you have the means to pick yourself back up and show the world what you’re made of.
Keep at least three months salary in cash
Experts estimate that on average it takes three months to get a new job, but that is the average. And your three months salary isn’t going to go very far if you’re out of work for six months, or even a year.
Know how much life costs
When you lose your job what you mustn’t do is live as though nothing’s happened until your money simply runs out. You have to take immediate steps. You need to know how much your life costs. Whittle down to just the essentials. You know, the stuff you truly cannot afford not to have, such as your home and food. Tot it all up. You’ll probably be surprised how much you spend each month simply existing.
Set up lon-term investments
This is a good idea for everyone. If you want to change career, take a year off or take a break to have a baby, you’ll appreciate having a little more set aside. You’d be surprised how a regular standing order into a fund will pretty much go unnoticed each month. And it’ll soon build up.
A life-changing event such as this, and no one who’s lost their job will deny it’s life-changing, puts considerable strain on you and those around you. You have to work doubly hard — using all your energy to get a new job while still ensuring you have enough to live on while you’re out of work.
All of this can put a considerable strain on your relationship. Supportive as they are your partner will not appreciate it if you descend into a pit of self pity and loathing for too long. Yes, grieve. After all you’ve been hard done by. Just get real as soon as you can. And get back to being you.
So come on, are you prepared for the worst? After all, what have you got to lose?