Retrenchment is a horrible experience that leaves you questioning your future. Losing your main source of income and realizing you now have to carefully monitor your expenditures is stressful and disorienting, especially when you have existing financial commitments. You are now forced to “downgrade” your life and it becomes a matter of survival. There’s no saying how long it’ll take for you to get out of the retrenchment ditch. In some cases, those struggling to bounce back eventually develop unhealthy coping habits, depression, substance use, and even suicidal thoughts. The stakes are higher for people who are breadwinners in their family, as they are expected to bear the brunt of financial losses.
Globally, there have been massive layoffs across many sectors (especially in the technology industry). Inflation, global economic slowdown, coupled with geopolitical tensions, and the aftermath of the pandemic are pointing to a poor economic outlook. These are incredibly tough times that we’re living in. Nonetheless, it is vital that we learn to care for ourselves even as we’re coping with the loss of jobs. The sooner you can get back on your feet, the sooner life will return to normal for you.
Accepting the circumstances
Coming to terms with your retrenchment is key to managing the loss. It is important for you to abstain from being self-critical as there is no point in dwelling on the furlough. Instead, learn to be comfortable with your current circumstances. Use the free time that you have on-hand to reassess your life directions. Spend time reflecting on the years that have gone by and how they may have aided in your personal growth. Retrenchment reminds us that we should never be too complacent in our career, and to be thankful for the knowledge and skills we have acquired along the way in our lifetime.
Reach out for support
Governments are offering various financial aids to people who are struggling. There is no shame in acknowledging that you have lost your source of income and need help. In terms of job hunting, the retrenchment period is a good time for you to start networking and connecting with people within your industry to seek job opportunities. LinkedIn has also recently started this trend where people are encouraged to seek help if they have been retrenched. The power of (professional) social media has allowed many people to come together and form communities targeted at helping the jobless and unemployed. In fact, recruitment agencies are constantly offering pro bono services to the retrenched.
Explore new hobbies and interests
Many people have discovered their calling through newfound hobbies during their retrenchment and these hobbies eventually become their lifeline during these periods of uncertainty. People who are great at cooking have somehow found themselves pivoting into food and beverage for a living, and they have enjoyed doing it so much that they decided to make it a full-time job. Others have ventured into other industries and stayed there due to the lucrative income that it provides.
While others found their financial lifeline through hobbies, some choose to dedicate their time to upskilling in hopes that they can stand out in the job market. These days, many people are taking up classes and crash courses in IT & Coding as many businesses are going digital and IT skills are incredibly high in demand. Others may opt to go back to school to pursue higher education to expand and branch out their skill set. Upskilling yourself is a great way to demonstrate to your future employers that you have put your time to good use and that you have gained something valuable, which increases your appeal as a job seeker.
Give back to the community
Volunteering is a great way to remind yourself to be grateful for the things that you still have in life. If anything, it gives us a sense of purpose in life and reminds us that we all have a part to play in society, that is to help and uplift the people around us who may be struggling as well. The important thing to realize about volunteering is that it gives you something to look forward to, which creates this sense of hope and positivity that is crucial in keeping us strong and going.
Make time to socialize
We should take caution to ensure that we are not actively isolating ourselves in a period of retrenchment, as doing so will deprive us of the social support that we need to maintain and protect our mental health. A strong, robust social support system reminds us that we should make time to connect and catch up with our loved ones. It also teaches us that we are not alone. Make use of the time to reconnect with estranged friends and family members, talk to them about your problems and vice versa, your loved ones may even have some sound advice for you that may prove useful in dealing with retrenchment.
Live on a furlough budget
While it can be upsetting to acknowledge your spending power has taken a cut, budgeting your spendings and money ahead of time will do wonders for your mental health. Make time to speak to financial consultants to learn how you can hedge yourself against long-term unemployment and financial changes. Prudent management of your finances allows you to maximize your money in the long run, and ensure you have some stashed for rainier days.
A blessing in disguise…
Retrenchment is never the end of the world. Life might seem bleak and uncertain at the moment, but we assure you that just like any other moments in life, these bad times will come to pass. As people say, when the going gets tough, the tough gets going.