+- 2 min read (or warming up leftovers for lunch)
Since the start of lockdown in March, we’ve been bombarded with news of increasing job losses in the country. At the end of September, statistics showed that the number of employed people in SA decreased by 2.2 million from the first quarter of 2020. This was recorded as the largest quarter one to quarter two decline since the 2007/2008 financial crisis.
These numbers alone are enough reason to create feelings of uncertainty and anxiety around your own job security. What’s even more alarming about the numbers is the fact that the largest employment decreases were seen in the formal sector, with 1.2 million jobs lost since lockdown. The good news, though, is that you can manage your fears by having a strategic plan in place for a worst-case scenario.
Increasing your job security
Although times may be tough, there are steps you can take to ensure that you continue working in your current job for the foreseeable future. In addition to the steps below, try to minimise distractions in order to be present in your current role and to remain focused on your work.
By adapting the following skills, you can attain more than just job security, you can thrive even in the midst of a global pandemic:
- Proactiveness: Circumstances in your current environment might be changing, and so you’ll also need to evolve. You will need to put your hand up and take on additional responsibilities to keep up with the new reality.
- Flexibility: Become comfortable with being uncomfortable and out of your depth. The ability to fulfil responsibilities that are outside of your original job description is invaluable.
- Consideration: Always respect your colleagues and be helpful where you can. Practice regular and effective communication. It’s important to get this right, particularly in our new remote-work environments.
- Resilience: Instead of seeing the unknown as an obstacle, see it as an opportunity to apply innovative thinking. Resilience is about bouncing back and staying focused and positive in tough times.
Job loss is inevitable – what now?
The other side of the coin is the fact that you might be part of an entire team being laid off, regardless of your individual performance. There are steps you can follow to create a financial plan to cope better with the transition until you find new employment.
The first step is to understand your survival expenses i.e. your shelter, utilities, food and transport costs. You can review your 22seven budget to calculate your average rent/bond, home utility & service, groceries, transport & fuel expenses. Second, while you are still employed, it is important to increase your savings. Ideally, you should aim to have a minimum of three months’ survival expenses in an easily accessible savings account. Third, take the time to update your resume, other online job seeking profiles and prepare for interviews. Remember that it’s better to be overprepared and underwhelmed than underprepared and overwhelmed. Lastly, be familiar with your eligibility requirements for unemployment benefits and how to file for them. TERS benefits applications can be submitted via the Covid-19 TERS portal, whereas normal benefit claim applications are submitted at labour centres and via the uFiling portal.
In the midst of economic uncertainty, a little preparation can go a long way in ensuring that you don’t get caught off guard.