So, we are hearing discussions about whether Obama’s stimulus plan truly helped keep unemployment rate low or not.The answer to this question is more complicated than any statistical data would suggest. Because, now, citizens are questioning the statements made by the president regarding his plan to save or create certain amount of jobs. So did we save or create? Does it matter? Could saving be equated with creating since it balances out in the end?
Let’s leave this much heated discussion for the politicians.
However,what we cannot ignore is how close unemployment is hitting home. If we don’t already know of someone who lost their jobs within the past year, it is unfortunately almost certain that we will in the near future. This is because small and medium businesses can see their bottom line hurting earlier than huge organizations and will start to take actions early on. There were big corporations that did major reorganization and downsizing to respond to the current economic climate.However, more of it is happening now following declining sales and profit of many major companies. It was the hope of the majority that within a year or so the economy will balance again and the unemployed will once again be employed.Unfortunately, the record high profit loss experienced by many major companies has left a longer lasting impression that resulted in further downsizing and needless to say, there is a lot more efficiency and productivity expected from those who remain employed.
It’s Strictly Business
No one who has lost their job or is worried about the security of their job is going to like this, but here it goes: it is a business decision. When companies start downsizing and restructuring, they are revisiting what is really the backbone of their company and what department can be done without. This may not seem like a fair statement. However,companies have to stay profitable to ensure their existence. It is much like a family being on a strict budget when times are tough. The luxuries and wants are done away with and the needs are protected.
Take the Initiative and be in Control
In the current environment, since leaders are looking for efficient and productive employees,workers should perform tasks that highlight this trait. Examples would be to do tasks outside of the job description to show commitment to the company and not just the individual’s role, to ask if your expertise can be used to help facilitate productivity in other areas of the business – this is also great for networking. If the company you work for offers optional courses, then take them. This can help you be a more rounded and valuable employee to your organization. When changes are channeled down to your level, try to understand them and accept instead of pushing back as this is the last thing managers need in the current environment. And finally, though this may be easier said than done, do not let the thought of job loss consume your day and your productivity. Put your best foot forward each day and control what you can control; the rest is destined to happen.
Preparing for layoff
Though the idea is to do your best each day, sometimes companies make tough decisions to eliminate positions where work ethic or loyalty are not part of the calculation. I will share with you a practical article I found from the Wall Street Journal giving advice on preparation for a possible loss of job.
While still working
It is recommended that you double your emergency fund by paying the minimum on your credit cards, if any. Also, reassess your recurring monthly bills and determine which can be downsized. Maybe you don’t need the 500 channel lineup cable service you hardly watch, or all the features on the house phone you don’t even remember you have since you are dependent on your mobile phone. Another key practical advise is to open a line of credit while you can still show proof of employment. This is not to be used while still employed or even after immediately loosing a job unless you are truly short for cash.
When the dreaded words are communicated to you
Don’t take it personal. It is a business decision. Just like you downsized your cable bill above, your company is also downsizing. As long as you were the best employee you can be, the lay off does not reflect on you. It’s an unfortunate casualty in today’s economy. But you have been beefing up your savings and already reassessed your bills, so you are more prepared than most. Now immediately file for unemployment. If your company offers severance package, depending on if it is a lump some or not, when you can start filing for unemployment may differ.You should be given this information with your several package or you can call your local unemployment government agency for clarification. Call your creditors and alert them of your new financial situation, these may be landlords, car note loaners, credit cards and even utility companies. Examine what kind of extended health coverage you may be entitled to and whether you have an option of choosing different deductibles to lower the premium.
First few months as jobless
Have a clear understanding of your bare minimum needs versus wants. Since the job market is highly volatile and uncertain, you will want to avoid most of your wants and stick to your needs. Make sure you pay your dwelling, utilities and transportation means first before others. Try to live on your unemployment or severance income before touching the credit cards. Start networking and explore your career,whether this means going back to school and retraining or considering a different field.
Month six and on
If still jobless continue to network. By now, you should have a clear idea of your bare-bone budget and what you can do without. Many workers who entered the workforce after a long period of unemployment seem to have the same message-be open minded. Be open to new fields, new positions, and be humble if you have to accept a lower paying position or title. This type of hardship has happened to Americans before and the economy is bound to get back up. WSJ’s article suggests that if still no job and running out of cash, then consider using the line of credit you established while you were still employed. If you have RothIRA you may want to consider looking at the rules for withdrawing money from your account.
Last but not least, remember that every triumph and trial is an opportunity in disguise.So look for what your opportunity is if you are in this situation.
Author’sNote: reader’s tips and advices are welcome as to how one can overcome andcapitalize on unemployment.
For fullWSJ article, visit http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123525642125841099.html?KEYWORDS=laid+off