12 May 20
Dealing with job loss – or even just the possibility of it – is one of life’s most stressful things. Whether it’s redundancy, your role being disestablished or a contract cut short, there’s so much uncertainty to handle. Even more so when we’re coming out of a pandemic!
If you are one of the tens of thousands whose work life has been interrupted, or you’re concerned about what the future holds, it may feel like you’re surfing without a wave in sight.
Now you may need a bit of time here, and that’s more than okay. No need to panic. And you can still make the best money choices to get through, and we can help as you take your next steps. It all comes down to three priorities:
As you head into a period of transition workwise, it becomes all about your cashflow. Start by making sure you’re getting any money you’re due – it will come in handy.
Missing any money? In many work situations, when you’re made redundant, you have certain rights and entitlements coming to you. In your final pay, it’s important to check that it includes any severance or holiday payments you’ve earned, for example.
Support systems. Then you want to get ready to use any support systems you can rely on, such as any safety nets or emergency funds, family and community, and of course government support.
Government help. Here’s where to find out what you’re entitled to from government while you’re looking for work.
KiwiSaver? If you’re eyeing your KiwiSaver money to use as your emergency fund, it’s important that this be a last resort. That’s a decision you can’t undo and will affect your future wellbeing.
But in cases where you can’t cover everyday expenses and put food on the table, applying to withdraw some of your KiwiSaver funds may be the right thing to do for your circumstances. It’s certainly better than taking on more debt to get by – a credit card is no emergency fund, either.
Remember, it’s all about cashflow and making sure as much money as possible is coming in at first.
Secondly, it’s about cashflow again, but this time protecting it – limiting what’s going out as much as you can.
Your new plan. This is where Sorted’s budgeting tool (really more of a spending planner) can help you tally all your regular expenses and then save different versions to see what adjustments can be made.
To protect your cash flow, you’ll need to focus on the essentials: food, shelter, utilities and transport.
Loan repayments. You’ll also need to review your repayments for loans that once made sense for your situation, but are no longer sustainable. The key here is to talk to your lender first and make new arrangements, which you have the legal right to ask for.
Juggling bills. Other regular outgoings like utility bills, insurance premiums or subscriptions will also need dealing with. Remember, these companies are used to dealing with customers who are going through tough times, so there should be options for you to limit your outgoings, or at least to press pause as you look for your next gig.
By protecting your cashflow, you can conserve as much money as possible to get through for as long as it takes.
It may all feel incredibly challenging just now, but leaving one role can really open up opportunities for others to emerge. It helps to have an attitude of openness and flexibility as you search for your next job.
Or, instead, if you are absolutely set on targeting a specific industry or role, it’s perseverance and drive that will count most. The networks you have built through connections and relationships can make all the difference here, too.
“If you could work for any company or organisation and use your talents, which would it be?” Sometimes starting with some blue-sky thinking can focus your job-seeking energies.
Your next role doesn’t necessarily have to be your dream job or your ‘forever’ job either. It might just be a stopgap to get you through until you can get back into your profession when things pick up or find something that suits you better.
Some companies will offer a session with a recruiter or a “sharpen up your CV” session. It’s important to know that government support is available here as well, and to take advantage of what’s on offer.
Sometimes what’s most helpful is to get ideas for your next step. You may never have considered a career change or retraining, but with a bit of flexibility on your part, it may be the best thing that’s ever happened.
The shake-up of job loss is overwhelming at any time, but experiencing it in the midst of a pandemic makes it even more so. Yet you’ll find you are much more resilient than you perhaps realise, and you may eventually look back on it as a positive experience.
It just takes some time to catch another wave and get surfing again.