Every single one of your friends has probably already told you it’s a mistake to quit your job without a new one lined up, especially in this economy.
But sometimes you just don’t have a choice—especially if it’s the job that quit you, or you were pushed to the point where you had no option but to quit.
If you find yourself without a job and a new one isn’t exactly forthcoming, here’s what to do until you land a new gig.
1. Make sure you have a source of income
Whether you think you’ll be able to find a new job fairly easily or are prepared for a long period of unemployment, one thing’s for sure—you need a source of income right now that can cover your basic expenses.
Lots of people make the mistake of thinking they’ll be employed again soon. Before they know it, months have passed and they’ve depleted their savings.
Now, making sure you have an income source doesn’t necessarily mean becoming an Uber driver or getting a job at your local NTUC. So long as you can keep your spending low enough, you might be able to stay afloat living off share dividends or income from renting out a room in your home, or doing part-time gigs or freelance work.
Whatever it is, try your best to make enough money to pay your bills and feed yourself.
2. Avoid dipping into your emergency fund or start spending your savings
The trouble with being unemployed against your will, is that you really can’t say for sure when you’ll find a new job. It could be tomorrow, but it could also be in a years’ time or longer.
Since there is no way to know how long you’ll be unemployed, you won’t know how much this period of employment is going to cost you.
So whatever you do, don’t be tempted to dip into your savings, or to start spending the money in your emergency fund—at least not when you have two hands and are able to work.
In the interim, try to at least cover your basic expenses by finding alternative sources of income, taking up part-time work or selling unwanted belongings on Carousell.
You’ll also want to lower your expenses as much as possible until you find a new job. That means no more lavish restaurant meals or overseas holidays.
You might not be facing an emergency now, but once you’ve depleted your savings you will be.
3. Set up a job hunting roster
Job hunting is pretty much a job in its own right. Or at least, you should be approaching it with that attitude if you don’t want to be jobless for the rest of your life.
When you approach your job search in haphazard manner, applying for jobs only when the fancy strikes you (this often means applying for 50 jobs in a panic the day you leave your previous job, and then spending the next three months playing DOTA), you end up not getting results.
If you want to get results quickly, you’ll need to schedule job hunting tasks like they’re part of an actual job.
A former colleague of mine managed to find a new job within a month or two by creating a spreadsheet, tracking every job he applied to and sending out a predetermined number of applications every single day. He received a job offer after 72 applications.
That’s the kind of dedication it takes to land a job quickly.
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