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November 21, 2018 | 03:49 AM
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14.08.2018Dealing with job loss: A guide

Here are some tips on how to make sure a period of unemployment can be managed in a way that not only covers the costs of living but also raises the chances of finding a sustainable, rewarding and well-paid replacement.


Losing a job is a hardship that many people dread. Not only does it create a tangible household cash flow problem when it comes to paying the mortgage or rent, it can also place a person in a psychological rut and cause real damage to their confidence. With 5.5% or so of Australians out of work, it’s sadly not an uncommon eventuality – so it pays to have a plan in place. Here are some tips on how to make sure a period of unemployment can be managed in a way that not only covers the costs of living but also raises the chances of finding a sustainable, rewarding and well-paid replacement.

Be prepared

Building up a financial buffer to keep the household going in the event of a sudden job loss is a good idea. Usually, it’s recommended that people have around six months’ worth of basic expenses in an accessible savings account for this eventuality – which requires a bit of saving up while the person is still in work. While this may not be good advice for someone who has recently lost their job, it’s handy advice as a for everyone else to follow.

Lower those standards

When it comes to working, everyone has standards – and everyone has their own idea of what constitutes a good job. A CEO of a big company, for example, probably wouldn’t consider applying for a cleaning role! But in the event of a job loss, it’s important for job seekers to look for the best paid role for which they are qualified – and to nab it as soon as they can.

Being snobbish or assuming it’s beneath them won’t get them far, and they should aim to be out of work for as short a time as possible. While it’s certainly true that they will need time to apply for jobs more like their old one, paying the bills takes priority – and they may need to look for a long-term replacement while working in a stopgap role. Otherwise, their savings fund will very quickly become depleted. This is likely to cause anguish and anxiety, which can then lead to a vicious cycle of feeling under-confident when applying for new jobs. In short, a new job – however temporary – is essential. 

Top up skill sets

As a job seeker, maximising the range of skills on offer to a potential employer is essential for bagging that next big role. In some professions, the path to improved skills may involve taking a course or two. A lorry driver, for example, might take the short Medium Rigid or Heavy Rigid course to diversify the number of heavy goods vehicles they can safely drive.

But for others, the path to getting more skills is longer. An accountant, for example, may want to take an Advanced Diploma of Accounting, which could take up to two years to finish. This may seem like a time and resource drain, but in the long run it may be what ends up setting a job seeker apart from others in the queue. And in the increasingly competitive race for jobs, all options should be considered.

For working Australians, job security is something that’s becoming increasingly unusual in a precarious working world. Unfortunately, many people have either lost a job themselves or are close to someone who has – and there’s no sign that the trend is reversing. As a result, it’s always a good idea to think carefully about how to respond in the event that work dries up. From taking courses and gaining new qualifications to accepting a stopgap job to keep the bills paid and food on the table, there are many ways a person can make the best of a bad situation and get themselves back on the road to re-employment as soon as possible. 



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