What to do if you’ve lost your job

Unfortunately, not many jobs are safe and many of us will experience losing our job for one reason or another. I was made redundant five years ago for the first time in my life so I can understand how scary it can be. But fear not, it may seem like the end of the world but it may also end up working out to be a fantastic opportunity!

Step 1 – Don’t panic!

Easier said than done, especially for anyone living payday to payday, no savings, debt, and a lot of bills to pay. Your situation may seem dire but getting worked up about it isn’t going to help you think clearly and resolve anything. Take a deep breath and move on to step 2.

Step 2 – look into benefits

You may be entitled to claim benefits to help you while you look for another job. Don’t hesitate to sign on as soon as you are able.

Step 3 – Take stock

If you don’t keep tracking of your incoming and outgoings or have a budget, now is the time to start. Take stock of all your expenses and work out whether you can cut down on outgoings.

This is the time to be brutal-do you really need that expensive gym membership or can you live without it until you get back on your feet? Do you really need to be paying for a super-duper smartphone when a cheaper one will do just as well? Do you really need to eat takeaways? You get the gist.

Remember that all the nice things you pay for won’t mean anything when you find yourself living on the streets – cut it out now and you could be saving yourself that fate.

Step 4 – Re-evaluate your career choices

If you’ve always dreamed of a different career but never had the guts to leave your job to pursue it, then now could be the moment you’ve been waiting for. Or perhaps you’ve always dreamed of starting your own business – is this something you can do now?

If you’re happy with your career and want to continue on that path, then that is also fine. It’s great that you have found a career that keeps you happy. Have you considered going freelance in your career rather than working for someone else? You might find that freelancing is a better option for you, just be aware of the pros and cons.

Step 5 – take action

Now you (hopefully) have your budget sorted and you’ve cut down on expenses, and you are clear on what your next step will be, now is the time to take action.

Update your LinkedIn profile or create one if you don’t have one. Get your CV up to date. Work on a business plan. Look into training options. Whatever your plans for the next steps are, then now is the time to put them into action.

Step 7 – spread the word

Let everyone know that you are job hunting, or starting freelancing or starting a new business. You never know who might know someone who will give you the opportunity you are looking for.

Grow your network. This is fairly easy to do on LinkedIn as that is what it is meant for. Don’t be shy, get networking. Opportunity rarely comes knocking on your door, you need to open the doors to find it.

Step 8 – work on some side hustles

If you’re in the fortunate position of receiving a large redundancy payout or having enough money in the bank to tide you over, then you probably won’t need to do this. But if you’re panicking about how you’ll pay your bills, then this is for you.

Side hustles are a great way of bringing in some extra cash. Some earn you small amounts of money, such as filling in surveys, while some can earn you potentially loads of money, such as matched betting.

While you’re updating your CV and sending your applications out, or working on building your business or opting to retrain, you can also be working on some side hustles. Anything that can earn you passive income is even better as you can be making money while you sleep.

Step 9 – prepare yourself

If you’re continuing on the employed route, then make sure you are prepared for potential interviews by having appropriate clothing and by practising your interview technique.

If you’re choosing a new path, then make sure you have done all the initial preparations. That could be anything from putting together a business plan to getting your website up and running. Prepare and plan!

Step 10 – good luck, you’ve got this

You may strike gold with your first interview or it may take you ten, but keep going. It can be a very hard journey so ensure you have good support around you.

If you’re starting your own business or freelancing, remember that it can be hard to get going. Always keep looking out for opportunities and learn as much as you can – you can never learn enough about anything.

If you’re embarking on a new career, it can be incredibly daunting and not to mention humbling to be starting over again. You’ve done it once, you can do it again. Just remember, you’re now on your way to your dream career.

Final thoughts

Many of us will have lost our jobs at some point. Some have found a new job while others have turned it into a new opportunity.

When I lost my job, I was working as a web developer. I had notice of my impending redundancy and despite this, I was unable to find another job. Time for plan B – freelancing. What I earned freelancing when I first started was more than I could have got from the dole but far less than I needed to be earning. The potential to earn, however, was only limited by how much work I could bring in and do and what I could charge for it.

I’m not going to lie, my first day as a freelancer was incredibly scary. I have blogged about my freelance journey in the hope that it inspires someone else.

It has been a very hard journey to get to where I am now (I went from employed web developer to freelance web developer to freelance writer), but it is possible. I managed not to go bankrupt or end up homeless though at times it has been by the seat of my pants! I wish I had known about some of the side hustles I know about now as they could have made the world of difference.

Never give up and always follow your dreams.

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