I’m an early adopter – I got my recession nearly two years ago. I was made redundant, not due to the recession, but due to management stupidity and intransigence in the face of long-term and clear evidence that there were problems with the section I was in charge of. But that’s another story.
Now I still often only earn a half of what I used to earn, but we (my family and I) have managed to hold on. Best of all, I am much happier, as I always disliked working for a sexist, myopic fool. (Now I’m self-employed – the only fool I have to work for is me, and I’m much easier to put up with.)
I may not be the best advisor in the world, but here’s what really helped me:
1/ Get fit. Many jobs preclude you from keeping yourself in shape. Now you may not have much, but you do have time. Getting fit and keeping fit keeps you positive and flexible, both mentally and physically.
As a sports coach in my spare time, I’ve noticed it’s the fitter players who can take the knocks. It’s the same for you. Get fit – even walking a circuit of your neighbourhood will lift your spirits and may remind you what a great place we live in. And don’t slow down for the hills – get your lung and heart rates up a bit. And make it a routine, rain or shine. And smile at people – smiling lifts your spirits.
2/ Go through your grocery bill with a highlighter, swiping everything that costs, say, over $10. Think about how much you need those things. Cut out those that you don’t need or are obviously bad for your health (but don’t omit all treats).
3/ Hang on to what land you have, if you can. Its value will come back – and it may be all you have.
4/ Don’t burn your bridges. New Zealand is tiny. It doesn’t matter where you end up, someone will know someone who knows you. If you did bad things, they will catch up, so either put them right or stop doing them. You need all the support you can get.
5/ Rebuild your networks – in your family, in your neighbourhood and with former colleagues and classmates (for example, complete the free sign-up to www.oldfriends.co.nz).
6/ Stop moaning. People are more inclined to assist positive people.
7/ Get some work. Regular low-paid work is much better than no high-paid work, and you can eat.
8/ Become ‘virtually visible’: that means people need to be able to find you online. That means joining, for example, Plaxo (www.plaxo.com)and/or LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com), business-oriented networking sites people use to locate and contact people for work and work related things. They’re both totally free to join and they can both lead to better connections and opportunity.
You can write your profile once; you don’t need to visit and update every day (it’s not FaceBook or Bebo). Make sure you’re clear about what you can do and what you’d like to do.
9/ Cut down or discard your weekly debts.
10/ Hey, at least we live in New Zealand. Plant some seeds in your garden or some pots. You can even get these free from friends and neighbours. There’s nothing like some fresh basil, at the very least, to top that budget meal.
Next post, I will tell New Zealand how to prosper through this recession. I’ve worked it all out and it’s actually easy and very doable, and it’s not even unprecedented.