How to Downgrade Your Category 5 Financial Storm

Aug 31, 09 How to Downgrade Your Category 5 Financial Storm
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What's your financial weather forecast? It's up to you...

Refugee, evacuee…potato, potata, huh?  In the past four years, New Orleanians have been labeled many things.  The conversation buzzing amongst friends is the looming anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.  Sure, there are many painful emotions associated with the devastation of our fair city; however, I would be remiss in my testimony to not acknowledge the ever-thickening skin of its people to date.  If at four years, New Orleanians have yet to realize that they can survive and succeed after any hardship, then the most valuable learning experience of a lifetime has, sadly and irrevocably, been lost.  In my personal list, this was the second event in my existence that has rocked my very foundation.  Carefully placing things into perspective, my being downsized four months ago does not even deserve an honorable mention.

However, due to the namesake of this website, it is certainly worth blasting that after those four months and several verbal dances around corporate conference room tables, I have finally crawled out of the quagmire of unemployment.  I can’t say that my faith has always kept me in high spirits, because I am also composed of flesh.  We all salivate over security, but again, through this ordeal I am reminded that my security comes from God and the belief that He will never give me more than I can handle.  At times, I begged Him to not nominate me for yet another character-building exercise and prayed for relief.  At other times, I fed upon my fantasies of better days to come as if I were some ravenous animal within an inch of her life.  Overall, I was aware of the fact that it could’ve been and has been worse.  Much worse.

Dismissing all other labels, I have worn the term “survivor” as if it were sewn onto my breast pockets with scarlet-colored thread.  If I can survive a natural disaster, then it serves to reason that unemployment is a downgrade to my impending financial storm.  This how I kept my head about water:

Show Me The Money

Perhaps detrimental to the economy, saving was very instrumental to maintaining my household.  As soon as you hear so much as a whisper of a potential layoff, tighten up your savings game.  There is ALWAYS room for improvement.  In my case, it took two and a half months before I received my first unemployment check because of a few glitches in the system.  My severance package, although generous, was not sizable.  Never budget on money that is not already in your bank.  Financial assistance is not always guaranteed or within your expected timeframe.  So when it comes to money, be proactive.

Got Faith?

No more explanation necessary.  Whatever your beliefs, faith is universal.  A strong spiritual foundation can support anything built upon it.

Can You Hear Me Now?

Yes, rely on your NETWORK and put those “feelers” out there.  Almost every interview that I scored was before a potential position was advertised.  My contacts opened the door.  All I had to do was walk through it.  Comments have ranged from “I was just thinking that I needed someone to do A & B, when So & So forwarded me your resume” to “I just talked to So & So about needing someone to do A & B and you came highly recommended.”  Do not underestimate the benefits of professional organizations, the power of networking on and offline, and the kindness of friends and colleagues.  The offer that I accepted was with a company that was in an indefinite holding pattern.  Once this opportunity presented itself, my connections were the icing to my qualifications.

Never Let Them See You Sweat!

As tempting as it may be to spazz out, give your former employer a hefty piece of your mind, or express your displeasure by flipping both a table and a finger, understand the difference between an elimination and a termination.  Positions are eliminated during a strategically-planned reduction in force, based on a number of things.  Terminations result after some noted incompatibility i.e. your work ethic and/or personality, to put it nicely.  With regard to the latter, a glowing recommendation is highly unlikely.  A misstep with the former can not only cost you references, but in worse cases can tarnish your reputation within a tightly-knit industry.  A business is a business and compassion is not a line item and has no place near the bottom line.  You will find that it’ll behoove you MOST to not take being downsized personally.  Hard to do, but it is a small price to pay for your peace.

Lean On Me

Sometimes my pride is my worst enemy.  I never want to be a bother.  I rarely ask for help and if someone dares to offer it, I refuse it before taking my next breath.  A healthy support system will get you through almost anything.  Needing help is not a sign of weakness.  Being afraid to ask for it; however, is.  At different times in my life, I have sought the counsel of a professional, have placed my head on the shoulders of friends, and have confessed all to a prominent member of my church.   Nurturing your emotional health is just as important as nourishing your body.  Without balance, you’ll surely fall.

Whether it’s been four months or four years, these guidelines can close the gap between adversity and your testimony.  The interesting thing is that I was more stressed while worrying about POSSIBLY losing my job than I was after ACTUALLY losing it.

Perhaps those trips that I took to New Orleans, this summer, helped in ways that I hadn’t recognized until now.


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