This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com
Recently, a large grocery chain closed its store in our area. I spoke with some of the employees and expressed my dismay that they were closing. Although some of the workers managed to transfer to another branch, many were let go. During the same week I found out that My Fit Foods a popular prepared food chain, abruptly closed all their stores nationwide, leaving many employees jobless. I felt bad hearing about people losing their jobs. Unfortunately, this can happen to anyone.
I have been laid off from work a few times in my career; a couple of those times happened within a year of each other. Because of that unfortunate string of events, I have learned never to feel permanent in any job, even though I like to stay at my jobs for several years. My co-workers wonder why my office space is so spartan. I do not post personal photos or keep plants and knick-knacks on my desk, and that is because I never want to grow roots and feel complacent. I learned to be observant and aware of the signs that things are not so stable.
Pay attention to job-related economic news, especially in your industry. Keep your eyes and ears open. By the time you hear the word “restructuring” it may be too late.
Know the Signs
Many people who lost their jobs feel blind-sided, and say comments like, “It came out of nowhere.” “I thought my job was safe.” Yet there are always clues. Knowing the signs to watch for can help you prepare accordingly. Here are a few tell-tale signs:
- Your company is cutting back on expenses, and your boss has announced “no more ordering new supplies.” This is one of the early signs; it might mean the company is losing money, but it could also be more serious than that.
- Managers are constantly getting called to mysterious closed door meetings and are gone for long periods of the day, and they come back subdued.
- Many senior leaders have quietly left the company, with no retirement parties or goodbyes.
- Business travel plans, even those that were scheduled months ago, are being cancelled. Perks, even for salespeople are being cut out.
- You have been asked to submit a description of your job duties. Even worse, you are suddenly being asked to train another employee to do your functions.
- It is nearing the end of the fiscal year or end of the calendar year. I observed that lay-offs at least in many industry are common during these periods.
- Projects that were top priority are now placed in the back burner, or, projects that were your responsibility are being shifted to others.
- You are being left out of important meetings.
- Your boss, who used to be friendly and caring, starts avoiding you.
- Annual reviews that used to happen the same time every year, have been postponed indefinitely.
If you suspect cut-backs may be happening soon, now is the time to take steps to prepare yourself and your family:
Steps You can Take
- Obtain a copy of your position description from your boss or Human Resources. This is something that can be done at any time, but it may be too late to obtain once you are already being called to the boss’s office and told to clean out your desk.
- Update your resume. This may be a “no brainer” for many experienced career oriented folks, but I have talked to many newer employees who do not maintain their resumes at all.
- Review your LinkedIn profile and keep it maintained.
- While you are still in contact with respected and trusted colleagues, line up references. But be discreet about this. If word gets out to the boss you are taking steps, you may be called out for spreading rumors and being a disgruntled employee which may hasten your departure.
- Start networking with contacts within your industry, but outside your own company.
- Use your health insurance benefits: get your doctors’ and dentist appointments done, fill prescriptions for eyeglasses and medicines.
- Postpone major purchases such as home, car, and avoid incurring new debt.
- If you are a renter and your lease is up, search for a cheaper place, if possible.
- Hone your frugal living skills. This book, Your Playbook for Tough Times is one of the best I’ve read recently.
- Pay off debt.
- Lower your living expenses: cut back now now and get used to living on less. Save the money that you would have spent.
- Review your bills and see if you can negotiate a lower rate.
- Save as much money as you can.
- Find ways to supplement your income by starting a micro-business.
- Prep! Boost your preparedness level by stocking up on food and everyday supplies. Your stockpile will see you through a period of unemployment.
- Come up with your own worse case scenario personal economic disaster plan.
- Acquire self-sufficiency skills now; skills that allow you to repair things or make things yourself will save you money even if you don’t lose your job.
- While the holidays are months away, start thinking about making homemade gifts.
Stay vigilant but keep a positive attitude. Taking a pro-active attitude can only benefit you. If you are fortunate and nothing happens, be grateful that you have been blessed.
Being prepared is not just for natural emergencies or disasters. Losing your job, while not usually considered an earth-shaking event by everyone else, could be an “end of the world as we know it” for the person who is losing his or her job. Job closures involve “mass casualties” even though it does not involve physical pain, does involve mental and emotional anguish for those that are affected. Because it can be devastating and can significantly affect your lifestyle, it should be included in the list of events worth preparing for.
© Apartment Prepper 2017