It was January 2009; I was living the dream – great paying opportunity at a company which I believed I would retire with. At the time, I would often tell friends and family I loved my job! I had an apartment in NYC, I travelled often – and then I got a “Mandatory Discussion” thrown on my calendar from someone I barely interacted with. I can’t forget the day – because I was to told to be in the office; something I rarely did as I was a travelling consultant.
As I took the subway; I remember being sick, but I made it into the office. I sat in the office through the day; scared of what was ahead. I knew what was in store – I finally get on a call and was told the dreaded words “we have decided to let you go!” I was given 2 weeks, and was told I could go home and HR would be reaching out with next steps!
What would come after is now known as the Great Recession! I spent 6 months unemployed; and at the time it was the scariest experience of my life! Now fast forward 13 years – here are the tips 40 year old me would tell 27 year old me about getting laid off and dealing with a recession.
Keep in mind, I understand that when you get let go and deal with a recession in your stage of life makes a drastic difference. With that said, the tips are what set me up for where I am today as a family guy.
Lower your monthly bills
It sounds obvious, but we live in a subscription world. I personally have more monthly than I had in 2009. Start by finding monthly bills you really do not need. Streaming Services, Online Apps, Subscribe and Save, Coffer of the Month Memberships – Everything! Evaluate if you need them? The easiest tip is to cancel and see if you miss it. If you do just subscribe again.
For things you are unable to cancel, see if you can negotiate or find alternatives. Some of these are insurance premiums, internet access, cell phone plans, etc. Even your rent or real estate tax bill. There are always opportunities to negotiate these down.
The goal is to minimize your monthly expenses as when your income goes down it difficult to keep the monthly bills going. This is top of the list especially due to the inflation we have seen in the past year. A lot of the monthly have gone up and many folks do nothing about it.
Get your side hustle going
The most important part should you loose your job is keeping your motivation up to work. Getting a side hustle how ever small gives you that satisfaction. It could be a creator on social media; bartending, leveraging a skill like wood work, ETSY shop or driving for ride share services. Regardless; the point is to keep yourself busy so you do not focus on what you are not doing. Also this will peek the entrepreneurial side of you to think of what else you are capable off.
There are many podcasts and resources on the web about side hustles, I could share them but googling them is so much more fun.
Invest In yourself
We all say the following “I would do x if only I had the time.” Well, now is the time. Did you miss your new years resolution on going to the gym? Do you keep discussing an MBA? Have you been considering a career change? Perhaps you simply want to spend more time with the kids? Do it! There is no better time. You will not regret getting the time to yourself to do something that has always been on that todo list.
Being out of a job is NOT a bad thing. Sure not making money can be stressful, but a break is well deserved. It gives you an opportunity to relax and refocus. The key is to leverage the time as such instead of stressing about not having a job.
Looks for Deals
While money might be tight you want to continue living your life. Start looking for deals. You can google “recession special” and you will be surprise what you find! From the obvious restaurants to retails to gym memberships! Remember you are not alone in the limited spending camp. Business are struggling as well so they are going to give out deals. Especially in NYC you will find something on every corner.
It comes to an end!
Its so easy to say this, I did live through 9/11 and The Great Recession in NY! I can tell you there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Both times the job market was tough, but once things started to changed it was bright! Keep this in mind and that is what you will have to look forward too.
What this means is keep your head up and don’t give up on job hunting if that is your goal! While you will not forget the tough times; you will really enjoy the good times!