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What Would You Do If You Lost Your Job?

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Mapgirl wrote about what she’d do if she lost her job and I thought it was a great idea for a post and tagged along. So, what would I do if I lost my job?

If I lost my job, my first move would be to tap the network of individuals I know in the area to see if their companies were hiring. The majority of those folks, at least the ones working for companies that would be looking for a software engineer, all work at my former employer, who would likely not be averse to hiring me back because I left on very amicable terms. Beyond that, there are a few other folks in the area that work for similar employers and since software engineers are usually in relatively strong demand, my best bets would be with one of them.

However, beyond that, I think I would start considering pursuing a career in another field, perhaps into something in the business management arena and less in engineering. If I were to go in this direction, I’d probably tap into the employment services department over at Johns Hopkins, where I’m pursuing an MBA, and see if they could put me in contact with folks looking to hire. I knew a lot of people out of school with engineering degrees that scored finance jobs because of the analytical skills they acquired in school, even though it was a different field.

I don’t think I would consider going the self-employment route and work on websites or anything like that. While it is certainly fun, it’s fun because I put in a limited amount of time on my own schedule. If the blog thing were elevated to my main source of income, I think that would ruin the allure and entertainment of it all. To write because I enjoy it and because I’m trying to share the things that I learn is fun, to write because it’s my job… I think that would ruin it. In addition to the enjoyment aspect of it, the unpredictability of it would also be a problem for me. Whatever it makes this month, there’s no guarantee they would make the same next month, or the next month. There are just too many unpredictable aspects involved for me to rely on it full time… plus it doesn’t come with health benefits. :)

Fortunately for me, my fiancée is employed and I have no dependents, so the pressure to immediately find income is not as high; but if my fiancée didn’t have a job or I had children, I’m sure I wouldn’t have the latitude to be casual about finding a new job. Either way, I don’t like being a bum so I suppose that’s enough self-pressure to find some gainful employment.

So, what would you do if you lost your job? Find another one in the same field? Different field? Or would you use it as an opportunity to do something completely different?

{ 12 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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12 Responses to “What Would You Do If You Lost Your Job?”

  1. mapgirl says:

    Thanks for the link repost. I have an addendum to my strategy… If I lose my condo, I’ll be moving into your place with your fiancee and rent out the basement. :-D

    What’s the PF blogging community for if we can’t give each other a hand? LOL!

  2. jim says:

    Come on over, we have plenty of room!

  3. tinyhands says:

    I used (past tense) it as an opportunity to go back to school and do something different. Staying out of the “traditional” workforce, either going back to school fulltime or doing “non-traditional” work such as websites, is in my opinion a risky proposition. Thus, I would suggest minimizing any downtime by having your escape route planned at all times. Keep that network of contacts working at all times.

  4. Mama Money says:

    My husband recently lost his job and he’s taking the opportunity to pursue a job in a field that he has always wanted to pursue, but never been able to. Now that we have the financial freedom we need to wait, he doesn’t have to take the first job he’s offered–he can hold out for his dream job. Being financially prepared is a big part of thinking about what you’d do if you lost your job.

    Financially, here’s what we’re doing:

    Because we have 2 kids, I was working 75% time, or 30 hours a week. I upped that to 100%, 40 hours. We took our son out of daycare. My husband stays home with both kids. We stopped contributing to our 529 plans, and to our emergency savings. I stopped contributing to my 401k.

    My husband was netting $4655 per month; our belt-tightening measures, plus my extra income, means we only need to come up with $1,100 a monthto replace his income (I earn way less, which is why my income doesn’t fully replace his). We get $1,360 per month from unemployment insurance, so we will be okay until unemployment insurance runs out, at which point we’d have to tap our emergency savings, and then I guess we’d sell a car.

    BTW, my husband is graduating tomorrow from JHU with an MA, and he’s definitely using his professors to network–they’ve been very helpful. I think that’s one of the major benefits of that degree (expensive though it was)–the networking that he was able to do.

  5. I’d probably walk next door and get another job. It seems there’s so much call for software engineers in Silicon Valley, that it’s crazy.

    My fiancee has a gov’t job with the equivalent of tenure (they can’t really “fire” her). That position earns enough that we could get by on that income alone without any adjustments to our lifestyle.

  6. Vanessa Klinger says:

    I have lost so many jobs it not funny. What I did was put my best foot forward and targeted jobs that I knew that I would enjoy doing. I think too many people put too much faith in one job. We as humans have to understand that this is all a game(life) and that we were placed on this planet to win. In spite of obstacles, we always win.

    I started this month with 3 jobs now I’m down to one. So If I were to lose my job I would simply get another one simple as that.

    Thanks

  7. landlady says:

    I did lose my job a couple of years ago; it was a small company, and everyone was let go on a week’s notice. The first thing I did was panic, of course, and worry about how I was going to make my mortgage payments…. I soon realized, however, that I was eligible to collect unemployment insurance, which softened the blow considerably.

    I used the time that I collected unemployment to set up my own business. It’s something I had thought about doing in the past, but never really “gotten around to.” It’s kind of daunting to quit your job and go off on your own…. losing your job makes it a bit easier :-)

    Running a business of your own has its own set of special challenges and risks, but looking back now, getting laid off is probably the best thing that could have happened to me.

  8. If I lose my job (software engineering), I’d rearrange our portfolio to tilt it toward income generating securities like income trusts and dividend paying stocks. Then, I’ll work toward becoming a certified financial planner. I love personal finance. :)

  9. bk2nocal says:

    I have never been too concerned about losing my job. I used to work for a temp agency before going back to school and was able to obtain permanent full-time work two different times through them. So, I would probably do that and just start sending out/dropping off resumes like crazy. Our biggest problem right now would be insurance, as my husband is working all independent contractor now and we are dependent on my insurance. That would be rough…

    But, I always have faith that I’m smart and employable…

    One thing this does spark in me is the need to have the 4-6 months of expenses saved up (which we do not). I need to start working on that right away, and I need to include cobra insurance costs in that figure!

    Great question!

  10. MissGoldBug says:

    Currently, my job is up on the chopping block as we speak. Luckily, I was told about this possibility 6 months ago and began beefing up the emergency nest egg immediately.

    If I am let go, the plan executes accordingly:

    1.) Panic and Freak for a few moments.
    2.) Collect myself again.
    3.) Call the Unemployment Office and apply for Unemployment.
    4.) Pick up some extra shifts at the restaurant for extra cash.
    5.) Put the Resume up on Monster.com and CareerBuilder.com
    6.) Call friends, family and associates to tell them I am looking.
    7.) Start to liquidate Emergency Funds as needed.
    8.) Hope job hunt doesn’t outlast savings….

  11. Mama Money says:

    @MissGoldBug: Be careful–you can’t earn any money while you’re on unemployment, at least in my state. (see #4 and #3)

  12. MissGoldBug says:

    Intially, I thought that too. Luckily, my bf is an employment attorney and he said that in Wisconsin, you can use unemployment even if you’re working at a second job. If an employer has paid in, and they fire you, why wouldn’t they pay out? My second job isn’t even a close replacement $$$ wise of what I make through the first, either. I think they also take into consideration the fact that you had the second job along with the first… not a job you picked up after the fact… I should ask for more details from the bf… Definitely so if I am let go, as that changes the survival plan a bit.


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