Many have lost jobs to the Covid-19 pandemic, while some others have been asked to go on indefinite leave without pay. For those who got a pay cut, uncertainty looms over the future of their jobs.
If you have recently lost your job, take the following steps:
1. Play your card well
One of my friend who worked as a photographer was recently asked to resign. Surprisingly, there was no written communication asking him to terminate his services. If the company had fired him, it would have had to fork-out a compensation equivalent of three months of his salary. By asking him to resign, he was packed-off in a month’s salary.
So, check your employment contract and be aware of financial compensation in cases where employees are fired. You can even sue the company if it is in violation of contract.
However, play your cards well, as you would also want to keep your options open. Try leaving the company on a good note as far as possible.
2. Get your finances in shape
Check with the employer as regards the total financial compensation in various forms – salary, bonus, gratuity or EPF. Add to it the emergency fund balances to get a fair idea of the number of months of household expenditure you have in your pocket.
Immediately, get into the conserve mode. Delay any big purchases like those on smartphones or cars, while cutting back on discretionary and unwanted expenses.
If you are unable to repay your loan EMIs, inform the lender. RBI has recently extended the moratorium on loan EMIs by three more months i.e. till August 31, 2020.
Put your long-term goals temporarily on hold. Bridge the financial gaps to stay afloat for as long as possible.
Being laid off can be a stressful experience leading to anxiety or depression. That’s why it’s important to meditate, relax and chill. Only a calm mind can help you reflect deeply on your career.
Perhaps, you had always wanted to start something on your own. Or switch job or sectors where your existing skill-sets and talents are recognized. This is the time to pull out those spreadsheets and get into the self-introspection mode.
4. Time is money
Use the available time to learn a new skill or sharpen existing talent that will enhance your career prospects. Pick up a suitable online course that suits your career the best.
Or maybe you want to volunteer for a cause that’s close to your heart. Figure out what skills and talent of yours could come handy. Also, use the opportunity to simplify your finances by automating your investments and using digital platforms to pay all your bills.
5. Side hustle
You can supplement your income by freelancing or teaching. Freelancing options are opening up in areas of IT, content, advertising, e-commerce as well as financial services. You might not earn enough, but then you can pick more projects.
6. Brace up
Be fully updated about the news flowing about the economy and industries relevant to you. Increase your knowledge by attending online seminar talks or podcasts.
Sectors of tourism, airlines and real estate have taken a beating, while sectors like IT, e-commerce and health care are doing relatively well. Be flexible about the job selection. Explore opportunities even if they are of short-term nature in start-ups and small and medium enterprises.
Update your CV and be active on the LinkedIn as well as school and college alumni networks to sniff any job opportunities. Be in constant touch with recruiters as well as ex-colleagues.
Economy and consumer demand will eventually bounce back and businesses will start recruiting again. Till then, don’t let your fears consume your self-confidence. As they say, tough times don’t last, but tough people do.