What a crazy world we live in currently! Does anyone remember the 1990’s TV show called Sliders? I feel like we’re in the episode where they go to a parallel universe undergoing a plague. I don’t remember how that show ended, but let’s hope it’s ends with everyone being able to finally leave their homes in May, unemployment rates dropping, and small businesses thriving! Until we get our happy ending, I would like to share an update to a blog post that I wrote over a year ago. “How to Make Ends Meet When You’ve Lost Your Job” is the title of a blog post that I wrote a year after Aaron was laid off from a job at the end of 2018.
Unfortunately, like many people in the United States right now, Aaron was laid off from his job last week. Receiving news like that suddenly feels like someone ripped the rug right out from under you, especially when everything was completely fine and secure a month prior. So many companies that were succeeding just last month are now struggling to make ends meet. It only takes a couple bad sales weeks to decide the fate for some of these businesses and it seems as though all industries have been impacted. We don’t know how long this is going to last or what the true long-term impact might be, so in the meantime all we can do is keep ourselves healthy, strengthen our brains, and make good decisions.
I recommend brushing up on my last blog post, “How to Make Ends Meet When You’ve Lost Your Job”, to review suggestions on what to do immediately, bill consolidation, penny pinching, and creative thinking. Rather than reiterating those topics, I want to focus on the key things that have changed in the past year since writing that blog post and what are some specific tools that can help you during these Coronavirus times.
- Feel your emotions: Allow yourself to go through that rollercoaster. Process the thoughts and feelings that are running through your mind. It’s okay to feel sad, hurt, betrayed, scared, etc. The tough part is if you’re quarantined by yourself it can feel like there’s no escaping those emotions. I promise the feelings will pass. It might take a day or a weekend. Allow yourself the time to heal.
- Connect with your community: Being quarantined can be so lonely, but there are millions of people around the world going through the same thing that you are. This is the time to reconnect with old friends. Make new friends by joining community groups. Follow your favorite performers on social media and take advantage of their free online shows. On a more personal note: I had been feeling super alone and left out when quarantine started, but as soon as my friends and I realized that we’ll be here for a while we started scheduling virtual happy hour dates pretty regularly, which was a huge help to feeling a human connection other than to my husband. When Aaron lost his job, I sent a text to the group and was surprised by the response I received. Each person had a similar story that I wasn’t aware of. Flight attendants hours were cut in half, agency clients could no longer pay their bills, friends working in hospitality were being furloughed, and the list continues. The same thing happened when I posted the news to Instagram. However, the most incredible thing followed. No matter who else was also going through this hardship, they each took the time to send us words of encouragement. A lot of people sent job postings, news articles, and some even offered their resume writing skills! Even if you’re not going through a job loss at this time, but you are feeling along through all of this, I encourage you to reach out to a friend a day. I promise it will help alter your mood. Plus, you never know what kind of knowledge your friend has at their fingertips that they can share with you.
- Take control: There’s not a lot in this moment that we can control. We don’t know how long we’ll be quarantined or how long we’ll be with out work, however there are so many things that you can control! For example, if you can’t stop feeling your emotions and you feel that it is time to move on, take advantage of free online workshops. Gabby Bernstein offers spiritual tools to relieve anxiety about the Coronavirus. Or maybe you want to start with controlling the meals you’re going to have each night. Get organized with a calendar, a shopping list and meal prep. Sometimes having your refrigerator in order can give you a feeling of relief. No matter what your goal is, focus on it and take small steps to achieve it within a reasonable amount of time. I was extremely impressed by my husband’s LinkedIn post that he shared the Monday after being laid off. He took the weekend to feel all the things, think about what he wants to accomplish during this downtime and how those accomplishments might set him a part from other job candidates. Now he has focus, friends to hold him accountable, and if someone connects to his interests they might remember him when they’re looking to fill their next position.
Budgeting Spreadsheets – Free Templates!
If you read my previous blog post, “How to Make Ends Meet When You’ve Lost Your Job”, then you already have the information you need on bill consolidation. Prior to that, I recommend creating a budget that is easy to use and understand. This will allow you to know where you should dive in immediately on bill consolidation, and which bills are the most important and realistic to reduce. If you’re budgeting with a significant other, make sure you go through the budget together to ensure that you’re both on the same page with spending. Aaron and I went through our budget together the night before he was laid off, I know very ironic! This made it much easier to update after receiving the news the next day.
There are so many free budgets online (via NerdWallet, and The Balance), but sometimes it’s helpful to create one yourself. We created a budget that breaks out our Monthly Bills (these are non-negotiable and usually the same cost each month), Monthly Expenses (the cost on these vary, but it gives us a limit to stay within), and our savings (this is what we’re currently contributing). All numbers in my template are arbitrary and made-up, but you can create a secure copy and enter your own numbers by clicking here for the TFK Budgeting Spreadsheet – free template.
I have two tabs in the TFK Budgeting Spreadsheet template. The first tab is perfect for someone who just wants a budget and is curious what they can save on if they need to reduce their bills to create a larger savings. This tab also works if your household income has reduced, but you do not want to dip into your savings to pay your bills. The second tab is for anyone whose household income has dipped lower than their monthly bills & expenses or if their income is currently zero. The second tab is perfect for someone who needs to dip into their savings and wants to know how many months their savings will cover them.
*Side note: After doing this budget and reviewing all charges, I realized I was being charged $10/month through Apple for an app that I didn’t know I signed up for. I was able to get a $120 refund by talking to Apple and my bank. If you’re curious what subscriptions you have through Apple, go to your Settings, click on your name, click on Subscriptions and all active subscriptions will populate below.
Coronavirus Updates: Current Grants, Deferments & Employers Who Are Hiring
The government has passed stimulus packages / grants or are in the process of passing grants specifically due to the Coronavirus. I’ve linked a few below, but it makes sense to stay up to date through your favorite news source as changes are happening by the hour it seems like. If you’ve noticed that there is a grant that isn’t listed here, feel free to add it in the comments section. Plus, unemployment received a $600 federal boost and taxes can be deferred till July 15th!
- The New York Times – F.A.Q. on Stimulus Checks, Unemployment and the Coronavirus Plan
- CNBC Make It – New relief bill boosts unemployment insurance by $600 a week for gig workers, freelancers and more
We have been following closely to the news on any deferments for mortgages or students loans. We found information on both. It sounds like federal student loans are now offering a 0% interest rate if you call in and speak to a loan advisor about changing your account. Also, we found information from our home mortgage that allows us to defer for up to two months and those two payments get tacked on to the end of our mortgage term, without negatively impacting our interest rate.
As for employers who are hiring, there are posts with links and information on employers around the nation. A few friends also shared these employers with us too, many are Arizona-based jobs:
- Allstate and other insurance companies
- Arizona Office of Tourism
- Hello Fresh and similar companies
- National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM)
- Vet Logistics
- Zoom and their competitors
Other job resources for the Arizona workforce are at Visit Arizona, Arizona At Work, and Pipeline AZ for job searching. AZ Family published an article listing 71 Arizona businesses that are hiring right now and Candor has a LIVE article stating Who’s freezing hiring from coronavirus (and who’s not.)
Also, with many kids at home and parents working from home, there is a need for children’s tutors which can be done virtually or safely during quarantine. Jolly Learning includes tools to help children with phonics, grammar and music.
Is there anyone who currently owns their own business who needs help. Even if you’re not compensated fully it could provide experience and help to a business that needs it.
Lastly, if you have a friend who is familiar with your work experience, do not be afraid to reach out and ask them to refer you. Right now companies who are hiring are sifting through hundreds of resumes, so if someone who already does a great job at the company can bring forward a candidate they recommend the employer will seek for those referrals first.
View this post on Instagram
Actually good news: tons of virtual companies are still hiring! Here are 20 of our faves hiring for remote jobs, of all kinds. Link in bio to learn more about FlexJobs, a company that vets all the jobs to make sure they are remote and legit before the post! https://bit.ly/2UnNwFT
View this post on Instagram
🚫 MYTH: When a recession hits, nobody’s hiring. ✅ FACT: Even if the all-time unemployment high during the 2008 recession is reached at 12%, 88% are still employed. It’s never a bad time to job search. While some industries are suffering greatly, others are exploding with growth at a rate they can’t keep up with… And that’s where you come in! 👊🏼 Imagine the overwhelm of the hiring managers tasked with onboarding thousands of new hires. They need talented, passionate candidates like you to quickly fill their newly created positions. You are helping them as much as they are helping you! With this in mind, I encourage you to approach your job search with confidence. We’ll tackle more on this topic in the Recession-Proof Plan, my 7-week live training program kicking off early next month. I decided to create this program and offer it at a highly discounted rate for job seekers who can’t afford my signature program. Enrollment ends March 27 - we’re kicking off soon!! I encourage you to enroll with the link in my bio before the spots fill up and put the future of your career in your own hands.
Resume / Cover Letter Tips:
- Professional Resume Graphic Design: Build your own resume by watching YouTube tutorials in order to set yourself a part from the other candidates. Aaron created his on a free Apple program called Pages. If you have the budget, you can always purchase templates from Etsy.
- Create Multiple Resumes: So many companies are using software to scan your resume and cover letter to find key words that match their job posting. It is wise to create a unique resume and cover letter for each job posting in order to speak to your unique attributes that directly relate to the position. Jobscan is a software that scans job postings and helps to highlight key words to use.
- Connect with Recent Applicants: Reach out to friends who have recently been hired into a new job for any resume and cover letter tips.
- Ask For Feedback: Ask a friend to review your resume and give feedback. What catches their eye in the first 10 seconds of reviewing? Was it easy to read and understand? How long did it take them to review?
Keep Your Routine + Stay Busy:
- Keep your routine: If you normally wake up at 7am, go for a run, and leave for work by 8:30am, then don’t change those habits. Now you don’t have a commute, so you can save on gas money! Without a commute it allows you some extra time in the morning for meditation if that is something you’ve always wanted to do with your time.
- Make a to-do list: If you were usually at your desk by 9am, then make sure by 9am you have a to-do list created. If you only have one thing on your to-do list and that is to find a job, think about the steps it takes to find that job. Your to-do list could be, 1 hour of networking on LinkedIn and saving job posts, 1 hour of researching jobs on job search websites and saving job posts, 1 hour researching jobs on your new list of companies that are hiring, 1 hour of creating unique cover letters for each job posting found, 1 hour of submitting each job posting, etc. Don’t forget to take a break for a walk or play with your pups to clear your mind if you finish a task. Also, this is the perfect time to start making your own meals at home.
- No FOMO: No one else can leave their house right now, so if you’re worried about not having any spending money for happy hours and seeing friends don’t worry – there is no where to go! Instead, schedule virtual happy hours with friends after work hours. This will give you something to look forward to while your job searching all day.
- Create New Habits: If you’ve always wanted to work out before work and make your own meals, add that into your schedule. Don’t take away from all of your time that you could be job searching, but create new healthy habits that you can continue when you start working again.
- Accomplish Long-Term Goals: If you’ve always wanted to learn coding or go to Real Estate school and you have enough savings that you feel comfortable doing it now, then do it! Don’t forget to factor that into your to-do list between searching for jobs. Having additional goals besides getting a job will help prevent job search burn out and will give you something to look forward to each day. Plus it will allow you to show hiring managers that you took this time to better yourself and continue your education.
- Share Your Skills: What skills do you currently have that you can share to help others. Increasing your karma game is not a bad thing to do right about now! I have a friend, @rieldealmarketing, who is offer free one-hour one-on-one marketing meetings with small businesses to help them during this tough time.