Fighting the Recession By Any Means Necessary
Fighting the good fight
The recession has made downsizing a bigger fact of life than ever before, or least as big of an issue as it has been since the Great Depression. Decreased consumer business, a lack of credit available and the increasing costs of things like health care make the waters extremely rough for business. Unfortunately, cost cutting is passed on to employees in the form of layoffs. It damages their confidence and makes them ineligible for installment loans (you must be employed to be eligible).
You need a road map
While it may be a given that layoffs are occurring, who employees should handle being laid off is far from a given. There are the tried and true routes of putting together your resume and references so you can pound the pavement (real and online), but there are certainly no guarantees during these difficult times, particularly for workers who aren’t entirely sure what exit on the career highway they should take.
Making a plan
Matt Villano writes for Monster.com that there are people out there like you and me, people who have been laid off and left afloat in a sea of uncertainty. However, in the case of people like Erik Moser, we see that a little improvisation keeps the water out of your little dinghy. Moser was laid off from a public relations job, and he immediately took action.
What did he do? It wasn’t exactly an amazing rags to riches story, but it was effective. He stopped eating out, picked up odd jobs whenever he could (including babysitting for his sister and walking dogs for friends) and managed to convince his landlord to let him out of his lease. The next step was moving back in with his parents.
Sound boring? It’s reality
And it’s the kind of creativity that is available to most anyone, however conventional it may seem. But there are more “out of the box” ways to approach having been laid off. For instance, Villano suggests teaching. I’m not talking having an advanced degree or teaching certificate necessarily, although that certainly helps. Leveraging your professional experience into a teaching platform through a community center or similar adult education position.
That’s exactly what Matt Klan did. Villano writes that the former technical director for a small theater company found a way to teach classes in stage technique. He advertised them on Facebook, Craigslist and other social networking sites and finds deals on locations to teach ranging from $10 to $25 per hour.
“The classes don’t generate a ton of money, but it’s enough to travel a couple times a year,” says Klan. “I also get the chance to hone my craft [and] introduce people to new things.” Not only is the practice good for keeping his skills sharp, but the chance to network is also valuable.
Can’t Make Rent? It’s Party Time
If your unemployment is not enough to pay the rent, try throwing a rent party. Whatever happened to that, by the way? It used to be that you’d have musicians come in and play until the wee hours. Pass the hat and see how much money appears. The concept changed to DJ parties, house parties… whatever. The purpose is the same.
Entertainment (beyond a stereo) isn’t necessarily required, but a certain caliber of liquid refreshment helps draw crowds. That’s what Zandile Blay had in supply, writes Villano, and she invited as many people as she could to attend her party so she could make one month of $2,400 rent for her New Jersey apartment. The former market editor for Paper magazine didn’t have a minimum cover charge; she simply asked people to contribute what they could.
It was a multi-night affair
Although perhaps one night would have been best in hindsight. This is because after the first night of successful returns, the energy was mostly gone. Yet that one successful night enabled Blay to get close to the amount she needed for one month of rent. Close, however, didn’t get the rent paid. In Blay’s case, she was lucky: a former mentor cut her a check for what she needed.
So am I saying that it pays to be lucky, or that it pays to know people? Sure. The first you have no control over, but the latter you do. Networking is key!
Making the Best of It
Making the best of a bad situation is perhaps the main thing that I take away from Villano’s article. Hardly a groundbreaking idea, but it’s definitely an important one. Taking on odd jobs help with the bills, but big expenses like rent require some more basic moves like moving back in with family. For most, that is not an ideal situation, but you have to do what you can when you’re looking for work.
When you do manage to pick up steady work again, keep in mind that you become eligible for products like installment loans again. They aren’t a cure-all, but they can be incredibly valuable if the next paycheck is far away but surely on the way. Apply here and see just how much help they can provide.
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