Life doesn’t stop once you are out of a job. You still have to pay rent and utility bills, eat healthy, finance your mortgage, fuel your car, pay your student loans, and repay outstanding debts among a myriad of other bills. Unemployment is a tough phase which you cannot just wish away. Neither can you fully count on the government to take away your troubles; you have to step up and fight it.
I used to work in a leading consultancy firm as a midlevel manager before I got laid off at the beginning of 2016. I was among over 200 employees to fall victims to the company’s restructuring. Being just 28 years old, I thought my career stars had finally aligned until life happened. Yes, together with other laid off staff, I was given a send-off package, but still, my financial charts weren’t as promising. With my then 3-year-old daughter, Denise under my care, a mortgage loan to pay, and a queue of other outstanding bills, the future looked bleak. Being a single mom didn’t make the situation any easier.
Necessity is the mother of invention. I had to adapt to my new normal or risk perishing and for the sake of Denise, that was not an option. Armed with a strong academic background and slight tact, I vowed to reverse the trajectory of my life for the better; the pressures of unemployment notwithstanding.
Having accepted the situation at hand, I put my frustrations aside and utilized the following productive methods to fight unemployment.
6 Ways to Fight Unemployment with Productivity
1. Reducing My Expenses
With the mentality that every penny is valuable, I made a list of all my expenses and identified the ones which could be reduced and those that could be eliminated.
Reduced my energy cost.
Considering cooling and heating made up a large proportion of my energy costs, I focused on them a lot. I set my thermostat to 68 degrees to ensure that my heating system used less energy. From studies, there is evidence that you can save almost 10% on cooling and heating by adjusting the thermostat by 7 to 10 degrees for 8 hours in a day from its routine setting. I discovered that I already had a programmable thermostat and just needed to start using it!
I reduced my water heating bill by using less hot water (and made sure my showerheads and faucets were high-efficiency products), insulating the water heater and turning down the water heater thermostat, and using cold water for washing clothes.
Additionally, I ensured the efficiency of my air filtration system. I replaced my furnace filters regularly because dirty ones reduce airflow. This leads to an overworked heating component hence increasing the energy costs.
Discontinuation of discretionary expenditure
I was paying for a lot of unnecessary services. I canceled my magazine subscriptions, non-functional credit cards which attracted an annual fee, and extra phone services. Though I couldn’t quite pull the plug on cable and internet, I did shop around for the best deals.
Reducing long distance calls
Before getting laid off, I used to make frequent calls to my friends and relatives in China and Africa. These fees really added up. I switched to using free apps like Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp, so I could talk to them as much as I liked over Wi-Fi.
Negotiating with my creditors