“Historically, when you have high inflation, and the Fed is jacking up interest rates to quell inflation, that results in a downturn or recession,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics. Every TV reporter and many CEOs are talking about the recession. Social media is flooded with posts of layoffs. The mood on the streets is grim with the possibility of job losses.
The thought that your name could be next on the list is terrifying. Back in 2014 - 15, when NBFCs and Banks were laying off employees en masse we would hope against hope that the dreaded call doesn't come this week. Somehow we survived that and have some lessons worth sharing.
The prospects of a job loss has become common across industries. We initially thought only new age startups who have run out of funding were laying off employees. Well established firms like Google and Meta terminating long standing employees overnight, has shaken many families. Given that no job is secure, it is better to be prepared for the worst rather than being dumbstruck when the pink slip arrives.
Here are 5 ways you can be better prepared for a possible job loss
Maintain 6 months' of living expenses
If you have some cash to manage household expenses for 3 - 6 months, it will come as a big relief when you have to deal with sudden income loss. It will give you some breathing time to assess the situation, gauge opportunities, and take the next steps. It will also ward off some pressure from the family. If you don’t have enough in your bank account, you can convert some long-term deposits, bonds, stocks or properties into easily encashable assets like money in the savings bank account or liquid funds.
Renew all insurance for 2 years
A job loss situation calls for cutting expenses and living on the bare minimum until you find another equally lucrative job. One of the most common expenses most people who are short of cash cut, is the insurance premium expense. Not having sufficient insurance would expose your finances to grave danger in case there is a health setback at the same time. Remember, Murphy’s law? Ensure you renew all your insurance for 2 years. Hopefully, that should give you the extra rope to tide over a career setback and a health setback, god forbid if it should happen together.
Upskill, cross skill and update the resume
Now may be a good time to update your resume. Just simply enrolling in an upskilling course even if you have not completed it, will give your resume more strength. Having relevant skills makes you less susceptible to the axe. Sometimes skills useful in other roles, such as the ones not directly becoming redundant may also be useful. Staying alert to the developments in your industry and in your organisation will help you make the right choices.
You are as good as the people you know. It is time to up your networking skills, turn up at networking events and actively connect with others in your industry. Use LinkedIn to create connections and establish a relationship with friends, ex-colleagues, seniors, industry influencers, etc. Do not look at doing this transactionally with the sole objective of landing a job, in case you lose yours. Consider this an investment for the long term and build deeper meaningful relationships.
Stay active in the organisation
Move with high achievers in the organisation. Volunteer and contribute to all projects. Keep a positive mindset. This can give you some immunity from being singled out. Even if you have to get the pink slip, this will ensure that you would get a good reference from your colleagues and seniors. A go-getter mindset and a supportive environment will help you deal with the disappointment that follows a job loss.
It is not your organisation or the employers that pay you. It is only your own abilities and skills and the value that you bring to the table that pays you. Your employer is just one client for your skills. If you lose this client, you can always get another one. Chin up and good luck.
Bhuvanaa Shreeram is the Co-Founder & Head of Financial Planning, House of Alpha.