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What do do when you become unemployed unexpectedly

We are living in a very uncertain time with our industry facing one of it's biggest challenges to date. The CONVID-19 Virus is spreading rapidly with global panic following. For the event, entertainment and sports industries we are in unchartered territory. Governments around the world are restricting large gatherings and events which in turn is limiting our ability to deliver our core business. Many of our best people are facing the prospect of unemployment until the industry can operate again. What if this is you? How can you prepare for unemployment and what can you do when it eventuates?


1. Don't panic, you are more prepared for this than most

Our work is often delivered contract by contract, year to year and so event people are better prepared than most for the eventuality of unemployment. You have a phycological advantage over many facing the same prospect because chances are you have done it before. While you might have referred to it as 'waiting for the next opportunity' or 'between contracts' the fact is that you have faced a gap in employment previously and you know what to do. Never before has the corporate world looked on over our broken CVs, short contracts and multiple roles with such envy.


2. Get your house in order

You know the drill here. Your resume needs to be brought up to date, your LinkedIn presence accurate and your personal email made ready for business.


3. Know your financial rights

Seek advice to understand what financial entitlements you can access. If you were made redundant your employer will need to pay a redundancy or severance amount. The Fair Work Australia website is a good place to begin for information.


If you have been asked to take leave be sure to seek information from your employer on the exact date you can return to work and what the salary entitlements will be.


Finally check in with Centrelink as soon as you can to let them know that your financial situation has changed. You can find more information here.


4. Contacts, contacts, contacts

Our industry has a popular catch phrase; it's not what you know but who you know'. It is time to let your contacts know that your employment conditions have changed. Be open with everyone and tell them you are now looking for new opportunities. Be active on LinkedIn so you have an appreciation for what is happening in your circle of influence, post regularly by sharing valuable content and become aware of the work that currently interests your connections.


5. Set a schedule

When you first face unemployment one of the first reality checks can be the drastic change in your schedule and the pace you can now operate at. My advice in the early days is to use the momentum you have from the fast paced environment you just left by setting yourself a fast pace schedule of catch ups with people in your network. 'Fire while the iron is hot' is an old expression that comes to mind. You are currently highly employable so you have a high chance of landing on your feet again in a new role in those first few weeks.


As time goes by our schedule can slow as our mind and body starts to wind down from the hectic former role. This is perfectly normal and in fact, very healthy. Let your adrenal glands enjoy the rest and implement a new schedule for yourself. Involve exercise, reading and contact with people to make up your new routine. Think about what part of the day you achieve your best work and use that time to continue to employment hunt, to understand what role or organisation might best suit your skill sets.


6. Be adaptable

I don't even need to spell this out for people who have worked in the event, sport and entertainment industries. It is what we do day in, day out. We adapt, we're flexible, we have contingency plans. When it comes to unemployment consider how adaptable you can be for a new role. You have been gifted an opportunity to think about which direction you would like your career to take. It may be that now is the perfect time to seek out a coach, to consider going back to study or for volunteering for a differently style of organisation to see if the fit is right for you.


7. Stay positive

I appreciate that staying positive can be a hard thing to practice when you are faced with unemployment and uncertainty. There are certain things you can do to stay in a positive mindset; keep physically active, mentally active and connect with those around you on a daily basis. Set goals for yourself for the coming weeks and use this time as best as you can as leverage for the next opportunity.


While this is a strange time for our industry I have faith that we will bounce back when the time is right and continue to provide opportunities, spaces and environments for our communities to celebrate, meet, learn, share and participate together. Until that time I wish all of you impacted by this period of uncertainty the very best. If you need any further information or tips please reach out at amandajacobs@iinet.net.au


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