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How to cope with job loss in the age of COVID-19

By Jana Angeles

Over the last few weeks, Australia has taken a rocky turn, with NSW and Victoria struggling to manage the community transmissions of COVID-19 and state governments doing everything they can to keep everything under control for the health and safety of their citizens. 

As Australia struggles to deal with the effects of the pandemic once again, many individuals are now facing job losses as we speak. Bauer Media axed eight magazine titles, with creatives facing the reality of unemployment. There have also been outbreaks across some of NSW's restaurants, causing a bit of uncertainty on how businesses in the hospitality scene will survive.

It's hard to tell what life will look like in the next three months but job loss has become a common occurrence in the age of COVID-19 and it's hard to ignore this. With many Australians finding themselves out of work, it can be difficult to consider looking for a job, especially if their industry has been impacted the most since the pandemic. 

If you've lost your job due to COVID-19, SkillsTalk provide tips on how you can cope with job loss and what you can do to help improve your employment situation.

1. Find what government assistance you may be eligible for.

Government assistance is available for Australians who have lost their job due to the pandemic. The following schemes may be able to assist you:
  • JobSeeker: JobSeeker provides financial assistance if you're between 22 and Age pension age and are looking for work. Individuals may also be eligible to receive this payment if they're temporarily sick or injured. So far, people who are receiving JobSeeker get an additional payment known as the Coronavirus Supplement. This is a top up of $550 per fortnight. If you're single with no children, you could receive a maximum fortnightly payment of $1115.70. 
  • JobTrainer: JobTrainer is a new government initiative that aims to boost the economy and assist individuals who have lost their job due to COVID-19. It will help support Australians by providing those who are unemployed the opportunity to upskill and retrain. Courses offered through the initiative will be free or of low cost in areas where there is an identified need to upskill. JobTrainer will also support those undertaking an apprenticeship as the Australian government will be subsidising wages to ensure that apprentices are kept employed and receiving the training they need. While eligibility requirements remain unclear, this initiative aims to support school leavers, job seekers or individuals impacted by the pandemic.
  • Government Funding: Individuals who are keen to upskill but worried about their coin may be able to take advantage of the government funding options available through Upskilled. Depending on what state you live in, you may benefit from studying a course where the course fees are either fully or partially-funded by the government. Upskilling can be advantageous as employers who see applicants with relevant qualifications are seen as favourable. 

2. Be open to do 'odd jobs' for now.

virtual assistant concept

It's always encouraged to diversify your income, especially when side hustles are common for the millennial generation. You may have considered working as a virtual assistant or a freelance social media marketer but never got the opportunity to because you were on a full-time work schedule. 

One of the key upsides of taking an odd job during the pandemic is that you can still earn income on a casual basis, which can be enough money to spend on the essentials you need to survive. You may also be able to work from home, which can provide greater flexibility to your schedule and save time commuting.

3. Look after your mental health.

It can be challenging to remain positive about your job prospects during a pandemic, so looking after your mental health should be prioritised. Set some healthy boundaries when it comes to your screen time and consume news sparingly. 

Disconnect from social media, check in with your family and friends and continue working on things that make you happy. Working on a new skill also has some mental health benefits such as boosting your confidence and improving your brain health and memory.

4. Check in with your former colleagues for any available opportunities.

sending email concept

The saying, "it's who you know" when it comes to looking for a new job is usually the case, especially if you're in an industry where maintaining professional connections is a must.

Tapping into your existing network can help you find work so if you're still in touch with your former colleagues, they could have connections with other people on the lookout for new hires. So, sending that email or text message to your former colleague may be worth your time where you can rekindle an old friendship but also improve your chance of securing work..

5. Assess your financial situation.

COVID-19 has driven Young Australians to move back with their parents while families have asked to delay mortgage payments due to financial hardship or job loss. It can be a stressful time to lose a job, especially when your livelihood depends on it. By assessing your financial situation, it can help you make contingencies on what you can survive on for now. Here are some things you should consider when it comes to your finances:
  • Emergency fund: using your emergency fund is a smart move, especially if you've saved up to 3-6 months of income to cover your essential expenses. This should cover food, living costs and bills. While you're looking for work, it's important that you use these funds sparingly and not to be reckless when it comes to your spending. 
  • Cutting expenses: unfortunately, you may need to part ways with your Netflix and Spotify account if you're out of a job. As job security is up in the air during these times, cutting expenses is recommended when going into survival mode. Discretionary expenses like entertainment, takeaway food and shopping for leisure should be placed on hold until you secure your next job. 

Improve your employment prospects through online learning

If you've experienced a job loss recently but have the desire to learn new skills and knowledge, explore the course options Upskilled has on offer in business, community services and IT. You may be eligible for government funding, which can be of great assistance to you financially. Get in touch with the Upskilled team on 1300 009 924 and enquire about a course today. 

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Start your next course with Upskilled. Enter your details in the form below.

*By providing your information, you agree to our Privacy Policy and to receiving email and other forms of communication from Upskilled. You are able to opt-out at any time.