It's been three years since the Covid-19 pandemic began and we tried to adapt in order to survive. By now, everyone is aware that this crisis has affected the world in many aspects such as trying to maintain good health and struggling to earn enough money to cover expenses and debt. And most importantly, we've tried our best not to lose our jobs. Yet, who knows when it will be our turn?
Sadly, over the past few years, it has been too common to see the news of so many business closures and acquisitions, including company downsizings and layoffs. At the end of the first quarter of 2020, news of layoffs and wage reductions were plenty. For example, Thai Airways laid off 508 employees and paid them only minimum wage according to labour law, while AirAsia planned to lay off 350 of 5,000 employees amid reduced fleet size, even though the country's lockdown had been lifted. Then there was e-commerce giant Shopee Thailand, which announced a layoff of more than 300 employees, effective July 1.
Many terminations like this are partly a result of the economic crisis caused by the pandemic. Many entrepreneurs were unable to continue their businesses. Others used Covid as an opportunity to enact layoffs. This is quite a scary and frustrating situation, particularly for us worker bees. Because in reality, the dual employee-employer loyal relationship doesn't really exist anymore. If you are laid off, or when your job is eliminated because of a business decision or restructuring, you should know that it has nothing to do with you or your job performance.
But if it happens, then what could you have done to prepare for unemployment? And how can you prepare or put yourself in the best position in case this happens to you?
Perhaps the first thing is to think about how to manage your career and about what you are interested in doing in the future. Go through your computer and keep track of your accomplishments. You're going to have to have a list that you can use to update your resume, to talk about in an interview, so you won't have to go through that painful process of reconstructing that over a period of months.
Another thing you can do is build relationships with people outside the confines of your company. You want to build a strong network for yourself like people who are working in the same line or those who've been in your contacts. This kind of thing takes time. Over 70% of people find their next job and a job that's been really wanted through their network. So be sure to look at your computer for important documents and contacts, and back up anything you think you might need in the future, primarily email addresses and phone numbers. You better save for living expenses and do a financial wellness check too. It's good to take stock of your finances. How much do you have and where is it? Also, if you get laid off, you have to know how your health insurance is going to be paid.
Finding a new job can be tough during this time, especially if you're looking to find something you really love or a place you can stay for a long period of time. So don't panic if you don't find a job right away and take your time. I like to think of good things in people and hope that recruiters and hiring managers would understand the impact of the economy. Because at the end of the day, we're all in this together.
Tatat Bunnag is a feature writer for the Bangkok Post's Life section.