A Practical Guide For What To Do If You Lost Your Job During COVID-19

Personal Finance

During the coronavirus outbreak, many companies decided to lay off a significant percentage of their employees because of the pandemic. This way, they avoided spreading the virus. According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the unemployment rate is currently at 4.5 percent. 

Being jobless in a regular time is one thing, but being unemployed during quarantine is entirely different. There’s too much uncertainty going on to have this type of situation. We understand it might be a very stressful time, but you can do a couple of things to stay afloat. 

Take Care of Your Mental Health

When you’re going through such a stressful time, you may neglect your mental health, which will not help you overcome this situation. If you notice you’re ignoring your health, it’s time to change your habits. Try to go for a walk and do a couple of things you enjoy doing and motivate yourself. If you ever feel that you can’t handle the pressure, try to speak to your therapist, but don’t let stress defeat you. 

Apply for Unemployment Benefits

Applying for unemployment benefits tends to be very challenging in a normal situation. Not everybody is eligible to receive this type of help. If you were fired, there is no way for you to apply for unemployment benefits. However, due to the coronavirus situation, the government decided to be very flexible with requirements. Almost anybody can use this program. Here are some of the reasons you could qualify:

  • Your employer decided to lay you off. Regardless of whether it is temporary or permanent, you can qualify.
  • Another reason could be that you’re working on reduced hours.
  • One of the most common reasons to apply for unemployment benefits is if you are putting your health at risk in your current work. COVID-19 is rapidly spreading. If you’re working at a physical location in manufacturing, you’re putting your health at risk. 
  • What if you’re taking care of someone who caught the virus? This also qualifies you for unemployment benefits.
  • If you worked as an independent worker and lost your income because of COVID-19, you can also apply for this help.

Reconsider Your Expenses 

Since you’re going through a lot of uncertainty, it’s essential to organize your finances. Try to cut back on expenses. This way, you can save money and use it only for the necessary things. There are a couple of things you can do to simplify your finances:

  • Try to cancel any streaming subscription you no longer use, or rarely use. 
  • Your bills should be less expensive as well, so try to switch to lower plans that allow you to save money. 
  • During quarantine, you’ll probably become a fast-food addict. It’s as easy as ordering food from the comfort of your home, and you don’t even have to cook, right? But this isn’t necessarily good for your finances or for your health. So, it would be better for you only to eat homemade food. 
  • Think twice when making a significant investment. Due to the uncertainty of the situation, it’s better not to make a big purchase. 

If you want to secure your money, it would also be a good idea to transfer your money from your account to a savings account. This way, you’ll avoid spending too much money. Besides, it’s also essential not to overdraft your accounts while you are unemployed. 

Negotiate Your Loans

The last thing you need to do is continue paying your loans when you’re unemployed, right? The good news is that most loan companies are offering some flexibility to unemployed people. What it means is that they provide loan forbearance, which shouldn’t be confused with loan forgiveness. You’ll still have to pay your loans, but there will be a different methodology.

Some loan companies will ask you to pay those unpaid months at the end of the last payment. Others will require you to make a balloon payment. This flexibility is applied to loan mortgage and car loans so, if you’re interested in getting loan forbearance, ask your lender company to see if they’re opened to that possibility. 

Try Freelancing

While it’s true that many companies closed their doors during quarantine, remote working never stopped. So if you’re trying to generate some income while in quarantine, why don’t you try some gigs online? Regardless of your current skills, there indeed is something you can do. There are many platforms where you can create a freelancer profile, such as Upwork or Workana.

You could also take advantage of your spare time and optimize your online visibility. Update your LinkedIn with your current skills and experience. Many companies are still hiring regardless of the quarantine. Amazon is one of those companies that is currently hiring many remote workers.

Remote Learning Is Possible

These days you need to constantly update your skills due to the rapid evolution of technology. Regardless of your niche, learning a new skill is something that will add value to your resume. Online learning is possible during quarantine, so if you’re unemployed, many online courses offer remote training.

Some of the schools that are currently working regardless of the coronavirus situation are Thinkful, Flatiron School, and Galvanize. Most of these schools teach tech skills like software development, digital marketing, or web development. However, there are other subjects like project management if you’re into leadership skills.

Spend Time With Your Family

Now that you have all this free time try to invest in reinventing yourself. This will ensure you stay afloat regardless of the situation; you’ll become resilient. Besides, it’s also essential to think about the people in your home. 

Try to spend time with your family and show them that you care about them. This way, not only you’ll feel more relaxed, but you’ll also take care of your mental health. After you’ve created a roadmap of the next steps to take, it’ll be a lot easier to think about a solution.

Article by Artur MeysterFounder and CTO at CareerKarma

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