Unemployment is a fact of life. It is normal to be angry at first, but anger will destroy you if you allow it to. Anger is pointless and gets in the way of starting again. The sooner you get a grip on your negative feelings the sooner you will find a replacement income.
Understanding Your Unemployment
Unemployment happens to the best of us and is part of the economic cycle. Nobody has a right to a job for life; even government jobs are less secure than they once were. Even presidents and prime ministers lose their jobs.
No company or employer wants to terminate an employee’s contract. Redundancy usually happens because the company is in financial difficulties and has to make cutbacks in outgoings to stay afloat. It is not a personal attack on you, you just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Making someone redundant is a big step and one that has a negative impact on the company and on the person who has the job of telling you. Of course the impact on your life is much bigger and you are not going to have much sympathy for the HR manager who tells you that your job is gone.
Understand Your Anger
Anger at unemployment comes from fear. Fear of losing your home, of having your car repossessed and of the unknown. I know because I have been there.
Fear is paralysing. It stops you from taking the actions you need to take. You need to learn to live with a greater degree of uncertainty than you had last week.
Getting Over the Fear and Anger
Your fear is mostly fear of the unknown, so make plans to remove the unknown.
You need to reduce your outgoings and you need to increase your income. Unemployment might be for a long time, even for ever, so you need to start planning the rest of your life today.
We all have expenses that we can reduce; it’s a sad but necessary fact of being newly unemployed.
- Contact the company that provides your satellite or cable TV. Ask about reducing or terminating the contract – Free to Air channels will have to do for a while.
- Terminate gym membership – Start walking and jogging instead
- Get rid of one car – You are going to be at home for a long time, so you can probably share one car
- Walk instead of driving – Make the kids walk to school as well
- Cut up your credit cards – Join the cash economy
- Use any redundancy payment to pay off any money you owe – the repayments will break you on your reduced income, so pay them off
- Cancel any trips or vacations, even if you only get a partial refund – The up-front cost is only about half of the total vacation cost, so you get to save the money you would have spent on eating out and entertainment
- Limit your grocery shopping to once a week – Live out of the freezer, too
- Stop buying newspapers and magazines – Join your local library and look for jobs in the newspapers there as well as borrowing books
Self-employment is your best option. You might be able to get financial help setting up your business because you are unemployed. Talk to people, take action and get a business plan in place.
The jobs you could do depend on your experience, but there are many real world and online jobs available to you that you can do on a self-employed basis. Gardening is something almost everyone can do; yard work needs to be done 52 weeks a year, not just in the summer. Other alternatives include doing odd jobs, writing articles for websites and taking a course to learn about being a chimney sweep.
Even if your long-term aim is to find another job, self-employment will provide you with an income in the interim. It looks good on your CV or resumé that you did not just wait for a job to land in your lap, that you created your own.
It took me two or three years to grow my writing business until it now provides a full-time income; it will probably take you a similar time with whatever business you set up. Nowadays if someone offered me the option of my old job back, I would have to think hard about it. I might be tempted by the thought of a regular income coming in, but my writing gives me that now anyway. I might be tempted by the 9 to 5, but I would still be writing all the other hours in the day, just in case.
Someone said to me when I was leaving my job that it might be the best thing that could happen to me. I laughed at the time, but I would never have set up my own writing business otherwise and my life would have been less complete than it is now.