So you just lost your job. Take a breath, try to calm down, it is not the end of the world. Millions of people lose their jobs every year, through lay-offs, firings or quitting a bad job. They get through it and so can you.
Try not to panic and spiral. You’ve got this. As you take this next step in your life, here are some things to do to focus on that job hunt.
Adjust Your Budget
You no longer have your regular income, or maybe it is severely reduced. That’s ok, you just need to adjust and prepare for the next coming months.
Take stock of your budget and how much money you have in savings. If you’re prepared, you should have about three to six months saved up. Even if you don’t, we can work with what you have.
On average it takes at least three months to find a new job and you need to make it that long. Look over your budget and cut costs everywhere you can. Get rid of subscriptions, stop making luxury purchases, go inexpensive on groceries, and try not to spend money. The longer you can last, the better you are. Future employers want you to be desperate so they can low-ball your salary and you feel like you have to take it.
Pay Off Credit Cards If You Can
Let's say you have a decent amount of savings, but have a little bit of credit card debt when you lose your job. It might be tempting to keep putting it off till you get the job, and put the money towards surviving, but don’t. With that final paycheck, pay off your credit card debt in full if possible.
This way, you aren’t having to make payments while job hunting and aren’t getting hit with interest. Leaving credit card debt to grow will just make your life worse down the road, especially if you aren’t able to get a job quickly. Pay it off and then try not to use your credit card untill you get your next job.
Tell Lenders You Lost Your Job
You probably have some larger forms of debt like a mortgage or an auto loan. It might feel counterintuitive, but telling your lender you lost your job can sometimes really help you out.
By informing your lender about your new situation, they can find a program to help you out. Some lenders can pause your payments for a specific period of time (like Pioneer’s Skip-a-Pay), adjust how much you pay per month untill you get a new job, or provide financial aid resources.
Lenders want to get paid. They don’t want you to default on the loan because then they don’t get paid and it can cost them more money trying to get paid. Many lenders are willing to be flexible in hopes that when you are back on your feet, you will finish paying off the loan.
Look for Temporary Income
If the budget is looking too heavy and your savings too weak to lift, you need to find a source of temporary income to make the burden lighter. The options are wide and varied, though it will cut into your job hunting time.
Temporary income, like gig jobs, temp work, or being the neighborhood handyman, can be necessary to get you from no job to a job and still have a place to live and a car to drive.
In today’s world, there are tons of temporary income types, like driving Uber, Doordash, and other similar services. There are temporary work agencies that can get you a few days of work, especially if you have some expertise. You could even try and get a job back with an old employer and work there for a bit.
This income will help alleviate some of the stress and burden when looking for a new job, just don’t let it get in the way of job hunting. The job market moves quickly, so balance working your temp job and searching for your next career.
Get Job Hunting
Once you are established and have a plan, it’s time to get to work. Refresh your resume, update your Linkedin, set up your Indeed job alerts and start applying. Don’t be afraid to spread your job applications out a bit into similar or adjacent job fields rather than the same one you had before as you now have more experience. Don’t just look to replace the job you lost, seek advancement from it.
If you are interested in working in finance, take a look at Pioneer’s career page. We love hiring passionate people, especially people who are already members of our credit union.
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