One of the most disruptive and fearful situations that we will face in our lives is the sudden loss of a job. Perhaps you think you are immune to that because of long tenure or experience. Don’t get too comfortable, especially in this difficult economic environment.
The wise thing to do is prepare now! Following are a few steps you can take even while employed to prepare for the future.
By following a few wise steps now, we can all be better prepared if the worst should happen.
Work like you are a new employee. The single most important task for nearly everyone in this job market is to keep your current job. Say yes, when challenged with a new project, and tackle it with an open mind and enthusiasm. Don’t think that your current skills or position will be enough. Go above and beyond to be the employee that the company can’t do without.
Evaluate your strengths and weaknesses against the current skills needed in today’s modern work force. Update needed skills through continuing education.
Network. Don’t neglect meetings with trade or industry associates. This type of networking helps maintain relevant job skills and contact with friends and associates who often are in a position to provide valuable leads and/or recommendations to available jobs if an unexpected job loss occurs. Job-hunting with friends is much more productive and less daunting than cold calls or resumes sent to people you don’t know.
Maintain a sharp resume. Keep your resume up to date both in terms of your experience and skills and with relevant language for today’s working environment. Periodically have trusted friends and professionals who specialize in crafting effective resumes review and improve it. Be sure it is in a format that can be electronically circulated. A word of caution: Don’t work on your resume in places where your supervisor or others might get the impression that you are looking for other work. Remember, the most important job in this environment is keeping your current job.
Maintain an emergency fund. Keep an accessible emergency fund that you can rely on for three to six months. It might take you this long or longer to find a job in a difficult job market. Keep in mind the story of Joseph (Genesis 41–45) who helped himself, his family and Egypt by planning ahead for the lean years.
Live within your means. Avoid credit-card debt or other consumer debt. If you have this type of debt, work hard to pay it off so that it won’t be a ball and chain during a jobless period, or now, for that matter!
Sometimes, despite all our best efforts, we find ourselves without a job or in some other difficult circumstance. Maybe it is a result of our poor decisions or just bad circumstances. If this is where we find ourselves, we can rest assured that we are not alone. Jesus reminds us that our Father knows our needs, and he will take care of them (Matthew 6:25-34).
We can always find hope and peace in the depth of God’s love even though we make mistakes. He never changes, and he knows who we are, where we are and what we need.