What to do if you lose your job – 6 steps from a recently unemployed FIRE enthusiast.

Losing your job can be a very traumatic and challenging time. From the blow to your finances to the dent in your self-confidence, its impact is felt in every facet of your life. This event occurring now, in the midst of a potentially massive recession makes it all the more troubling.

What can you do about it? Firstly, do not bury your head in the sand. There are things you can do that will make things easier in the long run. I’m going to have a look at what these are and how you can help yourself in these circumstances.

1. Assess your emergency funds

If you do have an emergency fund then well done, you will probably be ok for a while. However, if you do not have an emergency fund, you must look at your finances as a priority. If you don’t have a budget, then make one right away. Look critically at it and decide what you can cut out. Where can you make savings? Can you start shopping at Aldi or Lidl? If you are ordering takeaway food, can you cut this out and cook at home? Do you need to subscribe to magazines and TV services? All these things add up. You will save money on commuting, but drastic cuts will be required.

In these times it shouldn’t be hard to cut back on eating out and drinking at the pub (due to nowhere being open!), but these also eat into your budget.

2. Examine your debt

Depending on the size of your savings, you should think about arranging to take a break on your loan payments. In the UK, you should be able to arrange a payment holiday with your car loan provider as the FCA has required PCP and finance companies to do this. Mortgage companies will also be open to giving you a break on the mortgage payments for a time.

Credit card – you need to first stop adding the debt, and then revert temporarily to minimum payments. If you are struggling to make even the minimum payments contact the card provider and they may be able to help.

If things are looking particularly bleak, then contact Citizen’s Advice or the debt charity Step Change.

3. Start job hunting ASAP

It may seem hopeless to be looking for a job in this climate, but you will be surprised how many companies are looking. Update your CV/resume and LinkedIn. If you’ve been your job for a while, your CV may not be up to date. You need to ensure all the relevant experience you have is included. I recommend personalising it to the job you are applying for. Your CV will likely be binned if it is not!

Think about putting out the news you are looking on LinkedIn. You will be surprised how many leads come through. Recruiters will be desperate for good candidates which includes you! I got over 350 profile views, and 6500+ people saw my post after it was shared on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn, Indeed, Glassdoor are all good sources of jobs. You can trawl their jobs board and see what is available. You can also go directly to companies as some roles may not be online or are advertised on their websites. You might find that many are not recruiting at this time so it would be wise to make a record of who you applied to and follow up with them at a later date.

Although you may be embarrassed about your situation, it really isn’t the time to be. You need to get the word out to friends and family. People will be more than happy to help and recommend places you can look.

4. Seek benefits

Sign on – can you get benefits? Contact the DWP and claim Jobseekers allowance. https://www.gov.uk/jobseekers-allowance. You can get £74.35/week, which isn’t a great deal, but it’s better than nothing.

5. Free time? Then upskill and side hustle

This is a time you can upskill and learn something you’ve always wanted to but didn’t have the time. Harvard University has a range of free courses for you to do in your downtime. https://online-learning.harvard.edu/catalog/free

Do you have a side hustle that you can grow and expand? Then perhaps this is a good time to do that. You have the time to do it, so why not?

6. Keep the faith and practice patience

Even in good times, it can take time to find a job. I would estimate it could take between 1-3 months, so be realistic about this time frame. Take up a hobby, do a jigsaw, go for a run. It’s your opportunity to redirect yourself to something better.

Most importantly, don’t despair. We are more than our jobs, and it doesn’t reflect on you as a person or your skill. Try to believe in yourself, and you’ll be fine.

10 thoughts on “What to do if you lose your job – 6 steps from a recently unemployed FIRE enthusiast.

  1. Great positivity there and all the best with the job hunting.

    Another reason to apply for jobseekers allowance is that it means your NI continues to be paid so you don’t end up getting any gaps in your record, which all goes towards building up your state pension entitlement.

  2. I admire the practical thinking and positive attitude. I think your final point is the most important – job hunting is usually a long, laborious process, so people shouldn’t worry if they don’t hear anything immediately. Good luck!

  3. Asking all friends/family if they know of any jobs that you could be doing- as well as asking your wider network on linkedin, and other places too. I think accepting that you may have to end up with a role that isn’t so well suited is something difficult for some people as well- though, if there is no emergency fund, there isn’t much choice in the matter!
    Good luck to you 🙂

  4. Hi Playing with FIRE,

    I hope you are doing well. Nice suggestions on the post. Would you consider focus your job hunting into another area than the one that you have been working? I’m asking because you mention into the ABOUT that you have aspiration on changing the carrier.

    All the best.

    Cheers!

  5. I have a feeling that I will be out of work soon.
    I changed job back in March and if I hadn’t I would be out if work now.

    What you don’t say is that you might want to carefully assess what you want to do (with your life) before rushing into another job.

    Easier said than done though.

    Good luck!

    1. Yes very true and that is something I’m looking at too! Sorry to hear about your situation and hope it works out ok.

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