What Doomsday Films and Shows do for Preppers

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The World's End

There have been a variety of doomsday movies recently:  World War Z, This is the End and The World’s End just to name a few.  Some are action-adventure, suspense or even comedy, but the theme is the same:  the end of the world as we know it (TEOTWAWKI).  In addition, there are a number of reality shows such as Doomsday Preppers,  Doomsday Castle and others that deal with people trying to prepare for disasters.

These type of shows are so prevalent, but what do they do for the average prepper?  Do you watch these shows?

As with everything else, I see the Pros and Cons:

Pros:

  • They get people to imagine what they would do in such as situation.
  • Once people start thinking about various scenarios, they start talking about it, and a dialogue is always a good thing.  I’ve mentioned in a past article how watching The Walking Dead was a good conversation starter about preparing for actual disasters
  • The idea of prepping becomes more acceptable.

Cons:

  • The more outlandish characters featured may cast preppers in the “nutty” category, and not to be taken seriously.
  • If the story is too far-fetched, it can make people more detached and consider disasters as being “only in the movies”
  • Fear of being labeled

I’ve personally seen several of these type of movies, watch episodes of Doomsday Preppers, as well as survival shows such as Survivorman’s Survival Secrets.   At the very least, I think these shows get people who may never have considered it, thinking about the need to prepare.  Some people may appear more extreme than others, and thus may be labeled as a “fringe” element, while others will fear being associated as one.

All in all, the way I see it, we’re all better off if everyone became more prepared for emergencies.  I’m not even talking about doomsday, or anything collapsing; natural disasters and financial disasters can and do happen.  If survival and prepping shows get people to start preparing for any emergencies then that is a good thing.

An upcoming new show that I will watch

2073779_blackouts-a-history_wpqcl4sp5hrctsdllz4ccbpndxncurxrbvj6lwuht2ya6mzmafma_610x343I just heard about a new show that I am interested in seeing and here is a brief description:

AMERICAN BLACKOUT:  a two hour special is coming up on Nat Geo about what can happen during a catastrophic blackout across the United States.  No cell phone service, no ATM withdrawals, no working street lights, no available gasoline … no escape.   From what the Nat Geo rep told me, American Blackout combines user-generated footage from recent real blackouts and disasters like Hurricane Sandy intercut with the feature film.   It will follow the struggles of ordinary Americans wrangling through the chaos, and witness one prepper family who prepared for the worst.

The show will air on On Sunday, October 27, at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

 Here’s a trailer to American Blackout

What would you do if power was gone?

 

Water is one of the biggest needs when it comes to survival.  Whether bugging out or sheltering in place, you can never have enough clean water for survival: For your water purifier needs, please visit:

 For beginning preppers

Good ideas for building a food storage plan can be found here:

DebtProof Living

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Monday Musings: 10/14/2013

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Welcome to another Monday Musings, where we share blog updates and interesting links.

Who won the copy of Expatriates?  Mary M. is the lucky winner.  She said:

 Develop a skill. Never to late to learn something that might be useful in a barter situation such as my daughter is learning to cook with our cast iron pans over open flame, we both have tried our hand at hand washing laundry, what soap to use, tools we would need such as a mop wringer and scrub board. My sons have made some neat little sling bows We have studied on how to bring health back after illness using natural methods. Also at garage sales, dollar/bargain stores, clearance racks we will pick up cheap little items that others might use to barter. The book I pull from, a series by Terri Blackstock – Last Light series. I might add for our family that we see a need for a strong foundation, ours is in Christ. Build on that now, to be strong in the times it will be called on.

Conversation with Dr. Prepper.  I recently had a nice chat with James Talmage Stevens, also known as Dr. Prepper.  He hosts the Doctor Prepper podcasts.  Dr Prepper was a bit under the weather during our talk but graciously proceeded and we had a great conversation.  I plan to try a few projects from his book, Making the Best of Basics a comprehensive guide to preparedness and self-sufficiency.

Here’s the link to our interview:

 http://preparednessradionetwork.com/listenepisode.aspx?id=474f84ac43f24879857add87d96dde4d

You can listen to the broadcast while reading this article or while searching the internet.

Another podcast interview is coming up soon with PrepperRecon:    The show will go live on the 17th, I will post the link as soon as it’s available.

Now for the links…

A sign that the system if fragile.  Problems with Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards over the weekend caused some riots at Walmart.  See Black Friday comes early as computer glitches cause welfare benefits frenzy.   This was only a temporary glitch yet shelves emptied out within minutes – imagine if it were a real disaster.

What happened to “being aware of your surroundings”  San Francisco rail commuters on phones didn’t notice gun before killing, police say

Farewell to one of my favorite authors  I was saddened to hear about the recent passing of Tom Clancy.   I really enjoyed his work, as did one of my favorite presidents.  See http://articles.latimes.com/2013/oct/02/local/la-me-tom-clancy-20131003

Keeping up your energy when you’re not eating much  Interesting article that I have not seen much discussion about.  See Physical Activity When You Don’t Have Enough Food.  Now I need to add some powdered Gatorade to my preps.

Strengthen your locks.  Good set of articles about hardening your doors, but you’ll need to check your lease if you live in an apartment:

Home Hardening Revisited & A Rant About Criminals

Home Hardening Part 2 (Bump Resistant Locks)

Homemade hand sanitizer   I’ve not tried this, Cold and Flu Prevention :: DIY All Natural, Non-Toxic Hand Sanitizer

but let me know if you’ve made your own hand sanitizer and how it turned out.

Before I finish up, a word about my preps…  I feel I need to make a renewed effort to add to my food storage.   There is a story behind why I am feeling this new urgency which I will tell you about later.  I am on a tight budget but resolved to pick up at least one to two items a week for long term storage.  I am starting to collect free 5-gallon buckets again.  This past weekend we bought several pounds of salt and sugar that I will be repackaging into mylar bags.   For next paycheck I’m considering buying another set of Berkey elements as a backup since I use mine year round.

Take care and have a great week everyone!

 

 

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Self-Sufficient Saturdays: How to Make Banana Muffins without an Electric Mixer

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Banana muffin1

Welcome to the latest Self-Sufficient Saturdays feature, where we try out projects that can easily be done in an apartment.

Breakfast muffins are a staple at our house for busy weekday breakfasts.  I used to buy them at the store until I found out how easy it is to make muffins yourself.  There are no special ingredients, and you can rescue overripe, black bananas from getting thrown out.

Just one problem:  my cheap hand mixer that I’ve had for six years finally gave up.

My original recipe required an electric mixer to blend all the ingredients.  Creaming butter and sugar just does not work well without one.   I’ve tried it, and the results were not great.  Through trial and error, I finally found a muffin recipe that works well with hand mixing.  Here is the recipe.

Mushy bananas1

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 ripe bananas
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 3 tbsp sour cream or plain yogurt (I used the homemade kind)
  • Optional:  paper muffin cups to line the muffin tin, OR use cooking oil to grease the muffin tin

Directions:

1.  Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Line the muffin tin with paper cups if you are using them; otherwise, grease the muffin tin with cooking oil.

2.  Mash the bananas with a fork in a large mixing bowl.

3.  With a spatula or large spoon, mix the melted butter with the mashed bananas.

4.  Mix in the sugar, egg, and vanilla.

5.  Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the mixture and mix in. Add the flour last and keeping mixing.  You can tell it is well mixed when you no longer see any dry powdery lumps.

Scooping muffin mix1

6.  Pour the mixture into the muffin tin. Tip:  The easiest way to do it is by using an ice cream scoop to pour the muffin mix into the muffin cups.

7.  Bake for 30 to 45 minutes.  My oven gets very hot so it only takes about 35 minutes so check often.  You can tell the muffins are done when you poke with a fork and the fork comes out clean.   I plan to buy a solar oven one of these days, (as soon as the budget allows) and this will be one of the first recipes I plan to make in a solar oven.

These muffins will stay fresh in the fridge from one to two weeks.  But they may get eaten way before then!

 

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The Walking Dead Season 4 Premier

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Walking Dead season 4Just a quick post to remind everyone who watches – The Walking Dead Season 4 premiers this Sunday, October 13th.

The Walking Dead is one of the shows I watch regularly, I’ve posted about it before.

Last season was quite intense, but I won’t include any spoilers for anyone who is trying to watch the previous seasons.  I can’t wait to see what’s in store.   I’ve got the popcorn all ready!

 

 

Emergency Essentials/BePrepared

Emergency Essentials/BePrepared

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Fridge Items that are Salvageable after a Power Outage

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Perishables2After a power outage that lasts for a few hours, many people toss out everything that was in the refrigerator.  Actually, not everything in the fridge spoils right away and there are several items that stay shelf stable.  (Caution:  Your results may vary according to food freshness and length of power outage – use your best judgement when you check your fridge contents – when in doubt, throw it out.)

Here is a list of items that do not spoil right away if you have a power outage:

  1. Eggs – Most people store eggs in the fridge especially in the U.S.   In England, grocery stores keep eggs on the shelves and not in the refrigerated section.   So if you have a power outage that lasts for eight hours or even more, the eggs should still be safe to eat.  Before an expected emergency such as a hurricane, be proactive and preserve eggs by coating them in mineral oil – I tried this and the eggs lasted on the shelf for several months.
  2. Salted Butter – I’ve kept a bar of salted butter in a covered dish outside the refrigerator overnight so it can soften for use with toast the next day, and it has never spoiled.   The salt content in the butter gives it a longer shelf life, but unsalted butter will definitely spoil.
  3. Yogurt – I already make my own yogurt in a crockpot and part of the process is to let is sit for several hours.  So if you were to lose power for a few hours, the yogurt will taste warm but it should still be safe.  However, I personally would throw it out if it was a long power outage (eight hours or more)
  4. Condiments with vinegar – Hot sauce, ketchup and mustard contain vinegar and will stay useable after several hours being unrefrigerated.  In fact, many people keep these items in the shelf, with no ill effects.
  5. Soy sauce – I have a friendly argument with one of my in-law about this:  she keeps her soy sauce in the fridge, because “the label says so.”  I have never kept mine refrigerated, and it has never gone bad on me.
  6. Hard cheeses – Cheeses with a hard consistency like cheddar or swiss cheese will not spoil right away.  Also, Velveeta and other processed cheeses should be fine.  Soft cheeses like cream cheese, cottage cheese should be tossed.
  7. Fruits and vegetables – Some fruits, like strawberries, peaches, watermelon will get moldy very quickly without refrigeration.  But fruits like apples, oranges, lemons and limes will  keep well even if left out.  Tomatoes are also better left out of the fridge.  Tip:  celery, green onions and herbs can be set in a jar of water to lengthen their freshness.

PerishablesWhat fridge items have you found to last longer than expected?

 

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Mike the Gardener’s Seeds of the Month Club

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Seeds of the Month Club

I am excited to welcome our newest sponsor, Seeds of the Month Club.

Y’all know I am fanatical about my little apartment garden and encourage everyone to try growing herbs or vegetables no matter how much or how little space you might have.  I also recommend using non genetically modified seeds in your garden.   Saving seeds would be a prudent thing to do — they are easy to store, and don’t take up a lot of room even if you are short on space.

I visited the Seeds of the Month Club website to see if it’s a good value for our readers. I can say that they do offer great prices for their heirloom, open pollinated seed varieties:

    • As low as $3.11 per month when you sign up for a 6 month membership
    • You get 8 packets of seeds on your first month
    • Then you’ll get 4 packs of seeds every month thereafter

Plus they offer a 30 day money back guarantee.

I’ve purchased non GMO seeds from other seed sites myself, and I spent over $2 for just one packet of seeds.   So at $3.11 per month, and getting 8 packets on the 1st month then 4 packs thereafter is a deal.

The seeds they send you are based on your own “hardiness zone” so you can easily grow them.

Their goal is to make home vegetable gardening fun, easy and affordable for everybody and to make sure you have all of the information and tools at your fingertips so that you can enjoy the most benefits from a bountiful harvest.

Please visit Seeds of the Month Club.  Tell them Apartment Prepper sent you!

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Monday Musings: 10/7/2013

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Welcome to the latest edition of Monday Musings, where we share blog updates and interesting links.

First, the updates:

There is still time to sign up to win Expatriates Don’t miss your chance to win the hardcover version of James Wesley Rawles’ latest book, Expatriates.  A quick comment below the Q & A and Giveaway post is all you need to enter.

A new feature here at Apartment Prepper.  This past Saturday we started a new feature, “Self Sufficient Saturdays” where I will test out easy projects with the goal of being a bit more self-sufficient:  articles on making things yourself, reusing, repurposing, recycling, and more.

No one can really be totally self-sufficient, especially when living in an apartment in the city, but even small steps will help you do things on your own, increase skills and ultimately save money.

Now for the links…

Now that the new healthcare law is taken effect, the jury is still out on the implications… Freedom Slides As Health Care Balloons Big Government (And Obamacare Will Make Things Worse)

Obamacare Silver Lining: More Jobs?

Default worries   With government shutdown still going on, there are mounting concerns about default.

What would a U.S. default look like?

Treasury warns default could be worse than Great Recession

 Is it 2008 all over again? Whatever the cause, whether it’s the threat of default or some other threat, the economy is still in a precarious position.

Jobless claims rise, and hiring remains slow

Why in the world do they need all this?  Do Local Police Forces Really Need Mine Resistant Combat Vehicles?

Good news for coin buyers in Texas  For purchases under $1,000 Texas eliminates sales tax on precious metals coins  

File this under “Yet another reason to prep”  A Yellowstone eruption would be disastrous even for those who don’t live nearby.  See

 Yellowstone Supervolcano Alert: The Most Dangerous Volcano in America is Roaring to Life

Don’t raise them to become super consumers  It’s natural to want presents and toys but perhaps learning to manage those desires at an early age will help them avoid debt problems later on.  See Managing and Minimizing a Child’s Wants

Take care and have a great week everyone!
Emergency Essentials/BePrepared

Emergency Essentials/BePrepared

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Self-Sufficient Saturdays: How to Brew Coffee without Electricity

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This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

Today I am trying out a new feature, “Self-Sufficient Saturdays” where we take small, practical steps to becoming more self-sufficient.  I used to have a Starbucks habit, but managed to kick it, not by giving up a tasty cup of coffee (I know it’s an acquired taste), but by learning to brew a great cup of coffee at home.  And, at the same time, I have backup plans for my coffee, in case of an emergency.

A coffee drinker who is missing his or her daily coffee knows a caffeine withdrawal headache is coming.   You have a few choices to avoid that pain:

  • Instant coffee – the “just add a heaping teaspoon to hot water” kind that comes in a jar (not my preferred choice)
  • Individual packets of Starbucks or a similar brand (Not bad, even after it expired)
  • Single cup bags of coffee – also just needs hot water (this is good too)
  • tea
  • Give it up (I’m not ready to do this right now)
  • Brew it yourself

I have a few backup plans, including all of the above, but will only give it up if I have to.  This time I am brewing it myself.

You will need:

–campfire popcorn popper (or small covered skillet)

–green coffee beans

–manual grinder

–French press

–measuring cup

–wire mesh colander (optional)

How to Roast Green Coffee Beans

  1. Since I am trying to have a backup plan in the event of an emergency and we are off-grid, I used our propane camp stoveWarning: I do not recommend using a camp stove in your kitchen:  this would be unsafe and can cause carbon monoxide build-up.  Camp stoves should be used outside.  Also, I read from various articles that roasting green coffee beans may cause a lot of smoke.  Our apartment has a very sensitive fire alarm which gets set off very quickly, so we did this outside,  so the fire alarm does not go off.  We don’t want a visit from the fire department from having the fire alarm go off while we are roasting our beans!  If you are roasting on a stove indoors, turn on the exhaust fan or open a window to make sure your area is well-ventilated.
  2. Assemble all your materials in advance:  green coffee beans (I used Kona coffee), campfire popcorn popper, measuring cup, wire mesh colander
  3. To start small,  I measured about a quarter of cup of green coffee beans.
  4. Turn on the fire to low setting.  Preheat the popper on low flame.
  5. Pour the green coffee beans into the skillet/popper, cover and shake.
  6. Keep the popper moving around and start listening for a popping sound.
  7. Check under the lid and look at the beans.  They started to turn brown after about 5 to 7 minutes.
  8. The popping is not constant like popcorn, but happens every few seconds as the beans crack.  This  is about the time the beans start to smoke a bit.
  9. After about 10 minutes, I checked again and it looked like the beans were brown so I turned off the fire.
  10. You will notice some bits of chaff:  pour into a wire colander or just blow on the beans and the bits  fly off.  Now you are ready to grind the beans.
Coffee beans

Roasted coffee beans and green coffee beans

These photos show the difference between the green beans and the roasted beans.  The smell is also quite different: the green beans do not smell like coffee at all, they have a pungent, plantlike smell, while the roasted ones indeed smell like the strong coffee smell we all know.  The aroma does linger long after you have finished roasting them.

Grinding the Beans

  1. I used the Danesco Manual Coffee Grinder.  Adjust the grinder for maximum coarseness, if you will be using a french press.  To do this, take off the handle and adjust the cog wheel up and tighten it back up.
  2. The grinder does not have any cushioning under the bottom, so you will need to stabilize it on the counter by placing a towel or pad underneath.
  3. Remove the cork stopper from under the grinding mechanism.
    Coffee off grid1

    Coffee grinder

  4. Pour the beans and start grinding.  Hold the grinder stable with the left hand and grind with your right hand (vice versa if you are left-handed).
    Coffee grinder

    Grinding roasted coffee beans

ground coffee

Ground coffee beans

I have to say this was the hardest part!  It took a bit of muscle power to continuously grind the beans and hold it down.  All in all, it took about seven minutes to grind the quarter cup of beans.

Brewing with the French Press

  1. I used the Bodum Shatterproof 8 cup French Press Coffeemaker.  Eight cups sound like a lot of coffee, but actually, the “cup” is actually a 4-ounce cup, not an 8-ounce mug that most of us are used to.
  2. The quarter cup of whole beans made about 2 level scoops (measuring scoop came with the french press) of ground coffee.  The rule of thumb is to use one scoop per cup of coffee.
  3. Boil water in a separate pan.  I boiled about 2.5 cups of water.  Turn off fire once the water boils.  Because this is a plastic press, the instructions indicate the water must be hot but not boiling.  I would think a glass french press would work with boiling water.
  4. Remove the cover/plunger of the french press.
  5. Pour the ground coffee into the bottom of the press.
  6. Pour the hot water.
    French press coffee

    Brewing in a French press

  7. Slowly insert the cover/plunger.   Turn the lid so the opening/pour spout is sealed and away from you.  and press the water/coffee gently until plunger cannot go any further.   Do not apply too much pressure or this may cause the water to splatter up.
  8. Once the coffee is pressed, it is ready to drink!

I have to say this was a fine cup of coffee.  It seemed like a lot of work for two cups, but it was worth it.  The result was a very fresh tasting, strong cup of coffee.  Roasting the green coffee beans was not hard at all;  I can roast a larger batch next time.

In a disaster situation, you can’t beat a nice comforting cup of fresh brewed coffee.

Even if we never need to make coffee off grid, knowing how to roast green coffee beans saves money in the long run.

© Apartment Prepper 2013

 For low-cost ways to prep:

 

For easy ways to become more prepared, read my book:

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Q and A with James Wesley Rawles on his latest novel EXPATRIATES, plus a Giveaway

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EXPATRIATES

1.  EXPATRIATES is the fourth novel in your Coming Collapse series. What inspired you to write about survivalism?   Do you believe a real-life collapse is in our near future?

I believe that global economic instability is rising substantially, so the risk of economic collapse is greater than ever before. Along with instability comes the risk of civil wars, regional wars, and perhaps even a Third World War. It is indeed time for people to stock up, team up, and batten down the hatches.

2.  EXPATRIATES is different from your other novels in that it mainly takes place outside the United States, in Australia. What drew you to writing about characters away from their native country?

There are now more than 5.25 million American citizens living overseas. I recognized that the stress that they would go through in the event of a global collapse would be tremendous. There is nothing quite like being stranded in a foreign country. And to be simultaneously cut off from any information about the well-being of your relatives would be devastating. So I saw this as both an opportunity to avoid any trodden ground from my previous novels, and as way to describe some times of truly deep drama.
But it is notable that one of the storylines in EXPATRIATES takes place in Central Florida, where there is also plenty of excitement.

3.  Both survivalism and religion play a large role in EXPATRIATES. How do you see those two aspects balancing in the novel?

I consider them complimentary. Being well-stocked allows survivalists to dispense Christian charity. The deeper your larder, the more generous you can be.

4.  Tell me a little bit about your writing process. How do you begin to formulate your plots and characters?

The plots of my novels are essentially extrapolations of current trends. The characters portray people from all walks of life. By showing both prepared and unprepared individuals, it allows me to show the breadth and depth of what is really required to pull through traumatic times of starvation, infrastructure, disruption, and severe shortages.

5.  Are the personalities of the characters in EXPATRIATES modeled after survivalists and friends you know?

Many of the characters in my earlier novels were drawn directly on the personalities and backgrounds of my close friends. But in EXPATRIATES, I have fictionalized the lives of a few of my blog readers who I’ve never met in person. A few of these characters combine the personas of several people.

6.  Some of the topics that arise in the novel, such as Islamic extremism and gun ownership could be construed as very controversial. Was this your intention?

My intent was not to stir up angst or animus, but I have never been one to shy away from speaking out on key societal issues. For instance, I have been very outspokenly pro-Christian, pro-Preparedness, pro-Gun Ownership, Anti-Racist, and Anti-Slavery. (Most Americans don’t realize that slavery is still being practiced in North Africa.) The rise of Radical Islam is quite troubling. And if observed from a multi-generational perspective, it is genuinely frightening. The right to keep and bear arms is the crucial cornerstone of the Bill of Rights. In effect, it is the right that insures all of our others. I believe that the current statist efforts to disarm the citizenry are not just misguided but inherently evil. It is as if they foolishly want to make us all victims. As I’ve been quoted before: The Second Amendment is about protecting your right to go deer hunting the same way that the First Amendment is about protecting your right to publish poetry.

7.  You have mentioned in the past that you hope readers will learn as much as possible about survivalism through reading your novels. You have also written non-fiction guides in the past, but do you believe that fiction is a better medium to get your message across?

We live in an age of information overload. We are bombarded with television, radio, magazines, billboards, web pages, blogs, and text messages. In this era, most people won’t take the time to sit down and read a survival manual. But there is something captivating about novels. By weaving a lot of practical and tactical tips into a fictional storyline, I can keep people’s attention. Many readers tell me that they read my novel twice: The first time through for fun, and the second time highlighting passages and taking notes.

Now for the giveaway:

A copy of EXPATRIATES is reserved for the winner.

 

I can say there are many survival tips that can be learned from reading this new book.  For a chance to win, just leave a comment below:

- What are some of your favorite survival/preparedness tips that you’ve most recently learned from a survival novel or book?

 

 

The winner* will be chosen at random on Wednesday,  Oct. 9th at 8 pm Central.

 

*Winner will be notified via email.  Winner must reply to email notification within 48 hours or another winner will be drawn.

 

 Visit ReadyMade Resources:

 

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How to Prepare for Job Loss

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Being prepared is not just for natural emergencies or disasters.  A job lay-off, while not usually considered an earth shaking event by most of the population, could be an “end of the world as we know it” for the person who is losing his or her job.  There are “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.

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 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, and keep your eyes open.  By the time you hear the word “reorganization” 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:

  1. 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.
  2. Managers are constantly getting called to mysterious closed door meetings and are gone for long periods of the day, and they come back subdued.
  3. Many senior leaders have quietly left the company, with no retirement parties or goodbyes.
  4. Business travel plans, even those that were scheduled months ago, are being cancelled.  Perks, even for salespeople are being cut out.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Projects that were top priority are now placed in the back burner, or, projects that were your responsibility are being shifted to others.
  8. You are being left out of important meetings.
  9. Your boss, who used to be friendly and caring, starts avoiding you.
  10. 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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Review your LinkedIn profile and keep it maintained.
  4. 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.
  5. Start networking with contacts within your industry, but outside your own company.
  6. Use your health insurance benefits:  get your doctors’ and dentist appointments done, fill prescriptions for eyeglasses and medicines.
  7. Postpone major purchases such as home, car, and avoid incurring new debt.
  8. If you are a renter and your lease is up, search for a cheaper place, if possible.
  9. Pay off debt.
  10. Lower your living expenses:  cut back now now and get used to living on less.  Save the money that you would have spent.
  11. Review your bills and see if you can negotiate a lower rate.
  12. Save as much money as you can.
  13. Find ways to supplement your income by starting a micro-business.
  14. Prep!  Boost your preparedness level by stocking up on food and everyday supplies.  Your stockpile will see you through a period of unemployment.
  15. Come up with your own worse case scenario personal economic disaster plan.
  16. 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.
  17. With the holidays coming, start thinking about lowering expectations for gift giving, and start making homemade gifts now.

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.

 

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