I like to tell people I’ve been laid off more times than most and always land on my feet. My secret: I plan well, save a lot, and never assume that this job is my last. Most of all I think I am lucky.
This recession was hard. Plenty of folks lost their jobs. It is particularly hard on people who hoped they would stay at their jobs for the rest of their lives. They built their lives around job and salary expectations that turned out to be flimsier than they hoped. They floundered when faced with foreign job search methods. Always too busy to step away for lunch they had no contacts and were unprepared to network. The money only lasts so long.
What is a person supposed to do when the money runs out between a rock and a hard place?
Here are some tips based on what I have done and what I have seen other people do, not in any particular order:
- Find temporary work to pay the essential bills (food, housing and utilities). Deliver pizza at night if you have to.
- Explore consulting. I know people who write grants or perform portions of big projects outsourced by large companies. Project work can lead to more project work, more contacts, and leads for full time positions.
- Contact temporary agencies. There are temporary agencies that specialize in professionals too. These firms are no longer only for clerical or production workers.
- Set aggressive networking goals to stay active and visible in the marketplace. If you previously had a goal to have two meetings a week, increase your goal to five meetings a week then start digging to find people willing to meet with you.
- Be sure you have a job search marketing plan and update it regularly.
- Become an expert on the new way of networking. Have something to offer or something to talk about to get the other person talking. Don’t just ask if the other person knows about a job. That is a sure conversation-killer. Read about your field then ask new contacts questions to provide a reason to meet.
- Utilize LinkedIn more thoroughly. Make more connections. Set goals to double your connections then start posting interesting articles and commenting in LinkedIn Groups to increase your credibility and visibility.
- Start your own blog. Write about your experiences and opinions. Turn your layoff into an adventure. You can help other people.
- Simplify your life. Sell off extra “stuff” to lighten your load and bring in some cash. All that extra stuff lying around just weighs you down and makes you feel bad.
- Significantly reduce your expenditures. Bake bread instead of buying it. It is easy and tasty. Grow a vegetable garden for extra food. Clean your own house, do your own gardening and wash your own windows. Cancel cable tv and stop downloading books to your Kindle / Nook and go to the library instead.
- If you have kids at home and the money ran out take advantage of what remains of the social safety net.
- Volunteer. This makes you feel better and gets you out in the community. See what help they need at the local food bank or the local school. Volunteer for a committee in your professional association. You have to be at the meetings anyway to network so why not volunteer to increase your visibility and connections?
The recession is over, technically, but we all know people still having trouble. What other ideas do you have for our friends between a rock and a hard place? Share your thoughts with a comment or in our LinkedIn Group, Job Search Check-up.