The fight against the Coronavirus has shut down most economic activity around the world and forced thousands of businesses to close their doors, causing massive layoffs and disruption in income with many workers having to take 25-50% pay cut.
If your job has yet to be impacted by the economic crisis and your fortunate to still be employed right now, it’s a good idea to brace yourself for the very real possibility of losing your job, preparing now is the best form of defence just in case the worse happens.
No one wants this. Not your employer, not your spouse and DEFINITELY not you.
The first thing on many business owners minds big or small is: survival - the thing on top of yours: staying employed so I can pay my bills. In the last few weeks, the US Department of Labour saw an unprecedented amount of people filing for unemployment insurance and food banks are rapidly running out. For the first time in their lives, many people are seeking aid, and this shows us the start of the financially-crippling effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. In China it is estimated a whopping 205 million people cannot find work it is truly an unprecedented time for the global economy.
Despite the gloom, there are a couple of things we can do in times like these to prepare ourselves for uncertain outcomes.
#1 Reality Check
Nobody knows exactly how long this crisis will last, and there's no telling how many people will lose their jobs before this is all over. The best you can do, is face the reality of the situation head on and prepare for the possibility you might lose your job or face significant job disruption for a few weeks or months.
Job loss and unemployment involves a lot of change all at once. Beyond the loss of income, losing a job also comes with other major losses, some of which may be even more difficult to face: self-esteem- self-confidence, a loss of routine and a loss sense of security. Now is the time to build your mental resilience and face the possibility head on..
#2 - Use the extra time wisely.
Activity levels have dropped significantly, so muster the extra time to reinvent yourself (we mean: strategizing) in the midst of the craziness. Don’t waste any minute.
Firstly, re-look at your career goals: If you were thinking about jumping to a new job, maybe it’s best to put it on hold for the next few months. Also, now’s the perfect time to start developing your career strategy; ask yourself this: Do you have the right skills to keep you gainfully employed in the emerging new economy? If the answer is “No” or just a “Maybe” - then it’s time to up-skill yourself
Secondly, honestly assess your personal goals. Financially, some plans like the year-end family getaway may be postponed; you may need to limit the splurges on high end fashion items over the next few months and stash away more cash for a rainy day. You should use the extra time now to do some much-needed reflecting and re-planning.
If there’s anything this pandemic is teaching us, it’s that we have to reprioritise what matters to us as individuals and society. Start learning how to spend less and cut costs, right now.
#3 - Get job search ready.
We all hope for the best - but in times of crisis, it’s probably best to prepare for the worst and in this case it’s the dreaded ‘pink slip’. How? Revisit and work on your resume. Don’t have a LinkedIn page? Set one up and update your professional profile, now. Look at other organisations that are hiring, and strive to be visible in the marketplace.
The key is to be prepared for the worst, so that when or if it hits, you might already have job offers lined up. Have a side hustle that you’ve not really been focusing on? Well, now may be the BEST time to revisit and see what you can do with it.
Be optimistic and grab opportunities as they come. Adapt, you heard it before - change is the only constant. What do people need most in this situation and how can you fulfil that need? Think out of the box.
#4 - Always communicate. Talk things out.
Take things one day at a time. As you plan out the next few weeks, communicate openly with your spouse and other family members; particularly on how everyone should play their role. Talk about the important things: health, career, finances and discuss what should be done, together. This is super important. Your loved ones should be in the know about your plans moving forward; for everyone to work towards the goal as a unit. In order to do that, everyone needs to be on the same frequency.
You’re not alone in this. Reach out to your support network, always. Before you make a decision, talk about it. Get all the advice you are able to, compare and review your options.
We hope these steps will help prepare you mentally for the unknown. What you can certainly do is to get yourself into the right headspace; half the battle is won when you’re fully prepared.
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About half the sky
half the sky (HTS) is a career platform for women in Asia. We connect women to career opportunities at companies that care. We also want to equip you with information, tips and strategies to navigate the workplace today and the future.
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