Pink Slipped: A Guide to Surviving Job Loss

By Deborah Gantos

The mission we have at BugOut Mag! is to provide our readers with information they will find helpful in being prepared in many areas of their lives. One critical aspect of preparedness is coping with job loss and unemployment. I hope you will find this information helpful.

FACTS ABOUT JOB LOSS

How many jobs do Americans hold in a lifetime?
The number of jobs Americans hold in a lifetime is dependent on the age of the worker. Statistics vary considerably about what constitutes different age groups. Older workers changed jobs less frequently than younger workers do. Baby boomers are people born approximately between the years 1946 and 1964 (census.gov). The Labor Department states: “the average person born in the later years of the baby boom held 10.5 jobs from age 18 to 40.” According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the youngest Boomers held an average of 11.7 jobs from ages 18 to 48, with nearly half of these jobs held before age 25. In this news release, a job is defined as “an uninterrupted period of work with a particular employer.”

“Millennials, or America’s youth, born between 1982 and 2000, number 83.1 million and represent more than one quarter of the nation’s population” (census.gov). Millennials may have 15-20 jobs over the course of their lifetime, according to forbes.com.

Average Job Tenure
The Department of Labor says U.S. workers had an average job tenure of 4.6 years in 2012, the last year for which figures are available. This is apparently a long time to hold a single job, according to marketwatch.com. Older workers are staying in jobs longer, with less churn. Churn, they claim, is good because it means the job market is more robust.
Amount of savings needed to prepare for job loss
According to bankrate.com, more than 5.5 million Americans are unemployed for 27 weeks or longer. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the previous rule of thumb of three to six months’ worth of expenses due to job loss may no longer apply.

“A lot of experts now recommend that everyone keep nine months to one year of income in an emergency account in case of job loss,” says Gail Cunningham, spokeswoman for the National Foundation for Credit Counseling in Washington, D.C. “People are often out of work now for as long as nine months, and if they don’t have savings, they live on credit. So when they replace their job, they are behind because now they have debt to repay.”

TIPS ON SAVING MONEY

We all know how hard it is to save money. What is even harder is when you really need it and you don’t have any. Being a self-sufficient prepper, it seems unadvisable to rely on the government to help you out. Therefore, you need to start taking steps today to provide food and shelter for you and your family in case of job loss. Use this magazine and other information to learn how to preserve food by freezing, canning or smoking. Learn what other foods can be foraged by locating places wild vegetables and herbs grow. Look for recipes and practice making them with these home produced ingredients.

Set a goal of having nine months of all your essential necessities such as food and supplies (like toilet paper!) put aside. Cut coupons and look for bargains and sales. Buy store brands instead of name brands. Often the taste is just the same. This also applies to other items such as clothing. Secondhand clothing shops or charitable organizations such as the Salvation Army are good sources to find inexpensive apparel. Make it a fun outing with friends or family to visit garage and estate sales.

Another critical part of saving money is actually saving it. See if you can arrange for your employer to automatically deduct a certain amount from your paycheck, which would be deposited in a savings account. If you are leery about using banks, you need to discipline yourself to put the money aside right as you are cashing your check. How about having family members put all their change in a large jar? You will be amazed at how much money you will save just doing this one thing.

KEEP YOUR RESUME UP TO DATE

Writing a resume is right up there with doing your income tax. The difference is doing your resume will bring in income instead of giving it out! My recommendation is to have a professional resume writer develop your resume. As you put aside some emergency money to cope with unemployment, add a bit extra to have an expert write your resume.
I like to use a real life story to illustrate this idea.

A friend of mine was an elementary school teacher. He excelled at his job, his students adored him and he enjoyed the work he did. One Saturday, Jim decided to fix a leaking faucet in his bathroom. Jim did not know much about plumbing, but he figured, how hard could it be? So, Jim vigorously applied his wrench to the offending drip. Immediately, a giant geyser of water shot into the air, with a force so strong it damaged the ceiling above the sink. Jim was not so sure how to turn the water off, so the fountain kept gushing. Finally, he called a plumber, who was happy to come on a weekend to charge him time and a half. The good news was the plumber was good at his job; he fixed the leak and replaced faulty pipes. The plumber left cleaning up the water and mess to Jim.

As the plumber was preparing to leave, upon presenting his bill, which was quite large, he asked Jim this question: “Hey buddy, what do you do for a living?” Jim told him. The plumbers then remarked, “Well, next time leave the plumbing to me and the teaching to you.” The moral of this story is: leave the resume writing to an expert.

When choosing a professional, you need to do your homework. The best choice is to get a recommendation from someone who has successfully used the professional. You also should find sources on the Internet, because a true resume expert should be savvy about online methods to find potential jobs. Next, start making calls.

Some questions to ask:

  1. How long have you been in business?
  2. What training and background do you have?
  3. Can you show me some samples of resumes you have done?

Another thing you should do is take a look at different resume websites. Is it well done and easy to navigate? If it is poorly done, this is indicative of what your resume will look like. Although you can go online to find a good resume writer, if possible I recommend using a local practitioner. You can meet with the person face to face and have more input in the process of developing your personal, targeted resume. The cost may be higher than the tons of resume “services” selling their products for $59.99, but chances are, the resume will be a template that is ”one size fits all.” Besides, the whole idea of having a good resume is to get you an interview. If the resume is poor, even though you have fabulous work experience and knowledge, you will never get the opportunity to present them to a potential employer.
Some of you might think that your job does not really require a resume. FALSE! Even fast food restaurants require some sort of paperwork. If what you submit is a mess, that will go against you getting the job. So be prepared.

The topic of job loss has many components. In our next issue, more suggestions and ideas will be presented to help you do all you can to prepare for job loss.

Deborah Gantos is the Editor-In-Chief of BugOut Magazine, and is also an experienced Career Counselor.

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