What to Do If You’ve Just Lost Your Job
It’s fair to say that no one truly expected the events of recent weeks. Outbreaks are always plausible, of course, but the scale and severity of this pandemic—and the dominoes that have quickly toppled—have left people across the globe in a state of disbelief. It isn’t just about being stuck indoors for a while, or keeping contact to a minimum, or even the direct health implications: it’s about the economic shockwave that has upended entire industries.
Organisations face months of complete inactivity if they’re able to survive at all. Those that can continue might still struggle in the long term, not just from moving to a remote-only model but from seeing their sales pipelines dry up due to their prospective customers being unable or unwilling to make new financial commitments.
The result of this? Job losses occurring at a distressing pace. Many companies that were stable and successful before this crisis are having to tell responsible and productive employees that they can no longer afford to pay their salaries. No blame, nothing to learn; just a lose-lose.
Let’s say, then, that you—the reader—have been on the receiving end of that notification. You’re stuck at home with no job to give you daily structure and no idea what you’re going to do next. It’s an unenviable position, but not without hope
In this post, we’re going to set out some advice for what you should do in the days, weeks and months to come.
If you’ve been furloughed
You may have lost your job in what is ostensibly a temporary manner. This is called furloughing, and it works through a government scheme set up to support businesses during this difficult time. When people can’t work because they can’t reach their workplaces or their workplaces simply aren’t functioning, or because their employers can’t afford to pay them, the companies they work for can choose to furlough them for an indefinite period.
The result of this is that you stay on the payroll for that time but can’t do any work for the employer (though you can pursue training schemes, volunteer and attend virtual social events). Your former—and somewhat current—employer can manage this through an 80% reimbursement that’s capped at £2,500 per month before tax.
So what should you do if this has happened to you? Here are some suggestions:
- Work on personal projects for your portfolio. You can do this solely for the enjoyment and to stay sane in lockdown conditions, but you might as well create some projects that can fit into your professional portfolio (even if your job ultimately resumes, it might be useful in the future). Or, if your contract permits it, try a side hustle to make some money during this mess: e-commerce is pretty inexpensive, and it’s an industry that’s thriving right now.
- Pursue training to develop your skills. Many employers that are furloughing their workers are looking for ways to help them keep progressing, and one great option is providing training materials for them to follow. And if you haven’t been given any, sites like Udemy and LinkedIn Learning are a great place to start.
- Volunteer to help with the pandemic response. This is a good idea both personally and professionally. It might get you outside (for a good reason, of course) and help you feel better about the situation, and it’ll be a huge help for your community.
- Closely observe what your employer is doing. Your employer might be optimistic about bringing you back into the fold when the situation starts to get better, but you need to be cautious about that prospect. By paying close attention to what’s happening with the company, you might be able to get some advance warning that you’ll need to look for a new job.
If you’ve been fired
Not all employees can be furloughed. If you were hired after the 28th of February then you weren’t eligible, so if you’ve been fired outright then that’s possibly why. Alternatively, the company may have shut down in such conclusive fashion that it’s almost certain to never resume operation.
Regardless, in the event that you’ve been fired altogether, it’s even more important that you take action.
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Here are some things you should consider doing:
- Apply to new remote positions. Some businesses that used to work in offices have now moved permanently to a remote model, while many more have been operating remotely for a long time. The demand is so much greater at the moment, but you still have a shot at finding something. You can even look to see which charities are hiring remotely.
- Network with similar professionals. Almost everyone is in the same boat at the moment, and communities form in times of challenge. Look around on sites like CharityConnect and your social media channels of choice to find people who hold (or have also been fired from) similar positions. You can share advice, and generally build connections that might help you get some interviews and opportunities down the line.
- Think about your future prospects. This might be a good time to just think about where you ultimately want your career to go. Is there something else you’ve always dreamed about doing? Some plan that you always discarded as impractical? You have a chance to calmly consider it with no job in the way and no great pressure to get out there and shake hands (the opposite, in fact).
Whether you’ve been furloughed or outright fired, don’t just sit around and dwell on the negatives. Make the most of your downtime and give yourself a great chance of moving on to bigger and better things. Curious about which charities are currently hiring? Take a look at the jobs available today.
For more information on managing redundancy and debt in the current climate, check out StepChange’s free advice.
Rodney Laws is an ecommerce expert with over a decade of experience in building online businesses. Check out his reviews on EcommercePlatforms.io and you’ll find practical tips that you can use to build the best online store for your business. Connect with him on Twitter @EcomPlatformsior.