6 Things You Need To Know If You Get Retrenched Or Laid Off

6 Things You Need To Know If You Get Retrenched Or Laid Off

Getting retrenched can be demotivating, and not least due to the loss of your main source of income. Your professional identity, daily schedule, self-esteem and sense of purpose may be disrupted.

If you’ve found yourself in this position, don’t lose hope. Here’s a step-by-step plan to get on your feet again.

1. Leave on a good note

Getting retrenched can leave you with a sense of righteous indignation. In your final days, you may be tempted to act on your basest impulses in retaliation, such as withholding important information during your handover, deleting client data, or stealing all the good office pens.

Don’t do it. Just because you’re leaving doesn’t mean you have to burn bridges.

Instead, concentrate on tying up any loose ends, and making the transition period as smooth as possible for your colleagues. Remember: if you’re planning on searching for your next job in the same industry, having references or referrals from your colleagues can be helpful, so make sure to leave on a good note.

2. Review your finances

A sudden loss of income can throw your finances askew. Here are a few ways you can cope:

  • Review your monthly spending and debt commitments. Doing so can help you work out how much you’ll need to cover during your period of unemployment. If you are encumbered by high-interest debts that you have trouble repaying, contact your bank to see if they can provide a debt management solution, such as a debt consolidation plan which combines your debts at a possibly lower interest rate.
  • Look at your emergency fund. How long can your emergency fund last? Planning out a timeline can help ease the anxiety that arises from having to cover living expenses when you don’t have a source of income. It can also help you identify when to take your next steps when savings fall too low – you don’t want to liquidate your assets or take out a loan prematurely.
  • Consider cutting spending. Eating out less, cancelling unused subscriptions or holding back on non-essential purchases – consider where you can cut costs so you can stretch out your emergency fund.
  • Liquidate your assets. If your emergency fund has dipped below a certain level (say, 30%), you may need to liquidate some of your assets to cover living expenses. However, do so systematically. Don’t liquidate everything at once, as you may be withdrawing them before they mature – and possibly paying unnecessary fees to do so.
  • Don’t let your insurance policies lapse. Now that you don’t have a source of income, it’s more important than ever to have the right insurance coverage in place. If you’re having trouble affording your premiums, talk to your provider and see if you can switch to a cheaper plan.

3. Set an action plan for your job search

The job search process can become an all-consuming demon that haunts you at every hour – you may find yourself constantly under pressure to be searching for your next job.

You can mitigate the stress of job searching by setting a schedule and relegating it to a few hours every day. For example, set aside some time each day to update your resume, research potential employees and submit job applications. Record the specifics of each application by listing down the company details, position title, as well as how and when you applied for the role. This helps you keep track of when you’d need to follow up on your applications.

Breaking down the job search into daily, weekly and monthly tasks can also help if you are having trouble coping with the sudden loss of the fixed routine that was provided by your 9 to 5 job. Here’s an example of how you can break down your tasks:

review new listings on job search portals

submit a minimum number of applications
follow up on submitted applications
attend a networking event

reach out to old contacts

attend a class

4. Explore something you’ve always wanted to do

How many times have you been stuck in the office, wishing you were spending time on a passion project instead?

If you’ve ever wanted to explore a new hobby, develop a skill, take an extended holiday in a destination on your bucket list, or even spend more time with friends and family, now’s your chance.

5. Improve your employability

As you search for your next job (and take time off for much-needed rest and recreation), take advantage of your available time to increase your employability. Here are a few things you can do:

  • volunteer for a cause you’re interested in
  • attend networking events
  • take up a learning course (use your SkillsFuture credit or enrol in a free online learning course)
  • learn a new language
  • develop a new skill related to your desired job
  • work on a side project that can help you develop skills you’ll use in your full-time job

6. Take advantage of government assistance programmes

Finally, you can take advantage of government initiatives designed to help jobseekers and individuals who have been retrenched.

This could mean finally using your SkillsFuture Credit. While your credits may not be sufficient if you’re planning on transitioning to a completely new role (from accounting to web programming, for example), it can be helpful for progressing with your existing skill set or picking up introductory knowledge in a new area of interest.

Additionally, through the Workforce Singapore platform, you’ll be able to access a range of services, including career advisory, job search workshops and interactive career resources.

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