People are hurting, cost of living is through the roof. But people are not the only ones hurting, businesses are also feeling the pinch. Many are facing increased overhead costs because of the high utility costs while experiencing reduced sales due to the economy and the disastrous road works.
In the midst of this, many of us are just happy to have a job. Reality Check, your job is not secure.
If you read the paper regularly you would have read the seemingly weekly stories of people losing their jobs. Not one or two, but by the dozens.
If you’re sitting down ignoring the signs and thinking your job is secure, you are sadly mistaken. Don’t be caught off guard, You need to prepare now for the possibilty of being unemployed tomorrow. I am under no illusions, I am writing this for me as much as you the reader. So here are 5 steps you can take to secure your lifestyle in this volatile environment;
Reduce Spending & Grow an Emergency Fund
Now I know most people don’t want to hear about saving or budgeting because they think its hard. But its easier than being unemployed with no money in the bank. Still, I’m not going to suggest you start a budget because I know you won’t and neither will I. Here are a couple of simple strategies to get you started;
- Automate your savings… have some money from your pay check automatically go to a savings account. Out of site out of mind, you will adjust to the difference.
- Pick the low hanging fruit… stop wasting money. Many of use waste money on BEC by running a/c unnecessary, leaving on lights etc, etc. Learn how you can save 70% on your light bill. Stop paying late fees to cable Bahamas. Pick one unnecessary spending habit and stop it. Take lunch once per week. etc etc
Determine the minimum you could live on per month and tighten your belt drastically until you have a 3 month living expense fund in the bank.
Update Your Resume
If you’ve been employed at the same company for years like I have then its likely that you haven’t updated your resume in a while. Now is the time to do it. It will allow you to take a good look at your job experience, see where you need to improve and will give you a jump-start if you need to send them out on short notice.
In fact, I have decided that early next year I will send out my resume, just to sample the market and see how employable I am. Doing it now also gives you time to work and refine it with no pressure.
Work on Your Marketable Skills
Many Bahamians become stagnant when they get a job. They stop growing or trying to learn. Don’t let this be you, continue to work on yourself and gain new skills as you move through life. Understand how your current activities in your day to day life translate into marketable skills.
Through this blog I’ve learned html, css, Photoshop, copy writing, and marketing. These are all marketable skills. Take a look at what you do on a daily basis, whether it’s in you personal or work life and make a list of skills you have. If you feel you don’t have any, that’s OK. It just mean you need to develop some.
Develop your Network
One of the best way to find out about and get jobs when you’re unemployed is through your contacts. No I don’t mean your MP. People you came in contact with over the years could be a great resource in your job search. How do you go about developing your network? Become active. Don’t just go to work and go home. Don’t just hang out with the same friends on the weekends.
- Join a charitable organization – you get to give back while growing your network
- Join a team sport – you get to exercise while socializing and meeting people
- Take a work shop/seminar – this can help with Step 3 above as you develop your skill set while meeting new people
Start A Side Business
It’s great to have a Job. But they call it Just Over Broke for a reason. For the most part it’s almost impossible to really achieve the freedom that most of us want by just depending on the one salary of our job. That’s why its important to pursue your own business.Your own business on the side is the ultimate in job security because it gives you an alternative if you lose your main place of employment. In the Bahamas today with the cost of living the way it is, it impossible to depend on just one salary to provide for your security.
Most people don’t know how to start a business or have an idea of what to start. The easiest way to figure out how to start a business is to see what problems people are having and provide a solution to that problem. There’s always a business in the solution to the problem.Figure out what you’re passionate about and make that into a business.You don’t even have to come up with a new idea… just find one that being poorly executed (there’s a lot to choose from in the Bahamas) and do it better.
I recently combined my knowledge of blogging, web design, Photoshop, marketing and an interest in social media/internet technology to launch Get Social Bahamas. I encourage you to leverage whatever skills you have to do the same.
Truth is that these are all things that you should be doing regardless, but now more than ever you need to start thinking about what would happen if you suddenly lost your job.
Are you prepared if you lose your job? Have you lost your job before, what did you do to recover?