What do I do now? Job Searching in a bad economy

Our objective is to share information so you can prepare for what will likely happen from an employment side and so you can position yourself as best as possible moving forward.

What do do

Our area of expertise is employment in the industry but we would also like to speak to an overall plan.

First up, know that you are not alone.  You are in the same boat as millions of people. No, that doesn't help pay the bills, but it sure makes a crappy situation much more bearable.  You will not be the only person that needs help financially and emotionally so there is no shame in asking for or needing assistance.

If you feel anxious or scared, it is 100% natural because uncertainty comes from the unknown and we are looking at a lot of question marks right now.  Everyone is going through this so you have people all around you that can relate.  Please check our resource guide for some emotional support suggestions.  As we all sit sequestered in our apartments or houses, we feel a loss of control that can be unnerving as a lot of this is our of our hands.  That said, a good way to soothe anxiety is action.  We cannot control how long this will last, we can only control how we respond, and there are actionable items that we can do to help our respective situations.

Background

While this is an unprecedented event, as a company, we have been through 4 major industry downturns including 2 worldwide economic crises, and we have seen similar patterns each time.  Nobody can predict the future but we have seen patterns from prior downturns that we are sharing with you to help in any way we can.

Near term

Whenever production shuts down, the round 1 layoffs typically come on the talent agency/management side - when clients are not getting paid, agents and managers do not get paid so they tend to be the first round of layoffs. (note: they also tend to be the first to hire back)

Anything surrounding advertising and/or media sales tends to be the next round.  Down economy means cutting marketing budgets, and so the ripple effect cuts into media sales and advertising.

Hopefully, we can get production back into gear by late April or early May, and use June to adjust to the new normal ramping back up over the rest of the summer.

If this is your first experience with a major downturn, know that this will get better, it will just take more time than anyone would like.  Economic recovery will be measured in months vs weeks.  The quartine will end, and we will stair-step out of this slowly.

The good news is that the industry has never been in a better position to keep up and running delivering the world entertainment to their living room and mobile devices; so as much as production has halted, the distribution pipeline is alive and well, and people are needed to keep everything running.

Finances 

Cut all non-essential expenses - Look up your last 2 or 3 bank statements on your debit and credit cards and cut any nonessentials.  Check any recurring charges and ask yourself if you really need it.

If you are unsure you can pay rent, reach out to your landlord ahead of time to see what can be done.  In many cases, some is better than none and the landlord may let you amortize the difference over a year starting in June.  Many states and municipalities have put a temporary ban on evictions, so don't think that your landlord will toss you out immediately and you will have no place to go. That said, keep in communication with your landlord to see what you can work out.  Millions of people have lost their job so you are not the first one to need to discuss an alternative.

Coronavirus: If I live in California, do I still have to pay my rent this month?

If you have lost your job, check out our financial resource guide.  In addition to state unemployment, you may qualify for other resources and benefits.  Several companies and organizations are setting up funds to help displaced workers in the industry.

While we want to support our local restaurants, buying groceries and cooking at home is a great way to save $.  If you are new to cooking for yourself, a lot of chefs are streaming cooking lessons on IG and you can also find a walkthrough of just about anything on YouTube.  If all else fails, get an instant pot and for very little $ you can create a week's worth of dinners.

In times like this, we do whatever we can to survive through the short term, and we take any opportunity that comes our way.  Cutting costs is a tangible way to alleviate some financial pressures.

Job Hunt

For the near term (next 30 days) we will see a dramatic reduction in jobs and new hiring.  We have companies still actively hiring but most are not equipped to onboard new employees remotely.  We would expect to hear about more layoffs in the coming weeks as employers are making assessments of what roles they need to prioritize in the near term.

The quarantine forces us to change our job hunt strategy; in the near term, there are more people going after fewer jobs, so we must adjust our strategy.

  • Focus on your value proposition - In times like this, you go for those jobs that you can get vs the reach or dream job.  With a saturated talent pool, employers can and will get the pick of the litter so however you are most employable, focus on that.
  • The overqualified rule changes - In good times, if you are overqualified for a job, it is almost worse than being under-qualified so we always discourage applying to jobs that you are clearly overqualified for.  In a down economy, that rule changes a bit as more employers will pick up someone that is more qualified than what the job requires.
  • Retool the resume - Take a second or third look at your resume as anything other than a great resume won't get the job done.  True always, even more so when more people will be applying.  We always recommend getting feedback from 3 people when making a resume change, and we would be happy to be one of them.
  • Peer-based networking - Keep in touch with your network in an authentic way. Understand that everyone that has a job will likely be hit up by their peers with the "Here is my resume, let me know if you hear of anything" - you can be counter-programming.  I was once on a panel with Bruce Richmond and he had a great phrase, "ask for a job and you will get advice, ask for advice and you will get a job." So in this time period, connect with people and learn about them, learn about their career.
  •  Be realistic about what the network will produce - Keeping in mind the above, your network will not likely yield job leads as much as it can lead to finding a champion on the inside, i.e. someone looking out for you.  When you find a job that you are a great fit for, apply, then reach out to find a friend or friend of a friend that can vouch for you.

On our end, we will continue to find any employers that are actively hiring and providing resources for you.  If we can help in any way, please let us know.

Personal

  • Do a personal video conference or video call with family or friends every day
  • Get outside
  • Get some exercise
  • Learn something new
  • Volunteer/Reach out to friends/neighbors to help
  • Practice asking for help - Like everything, you get better at it with practice

Remember, even if you are cooped up in your apartment by yourself that you are not alone.  I have found that doing video chats is a great way to start and end the day.  Take a look at our education resources to find a new skill or learn something just for fun.  Get exercise; go out for a walk or tap into one of the many live stream workouts that people are offering.  It is a great way to stay connected with people and get in shape.  Being outside and/or exercising is a great stress reliever; exercise is a great natural antianxiety/antidepressant.  In times like this, we can get very self-involved as we try to solve our own problems.  Reach out to a friend or a neighbor to see how you can help them.  Most of us are lousy at asking for help but we can always use some assistance with something.  It is a great way to get out of your world for a bit and help someone out.  It makes you feel good and it is a good reminder that you are useful and capable.  

On that note, we all need help and so practice asking for it.  If you are lonely, reach out to friends to request they do a check-in call (or better yet a video conference), if you are low on supplies (hope it is not TP) or need something, reach out.  That good feeling you got when you helped someone else, you will be able to give to another person by asking them for help with something.  

We will all get through this.  When we all work together, there is nothing we cannot overcome.  Even with business falling off in the short term, I remain optimistic about 95% of the time. I am optimistic because I know that the harder the circumstance, the more people step up.  I have seen it time and time again.  We will all get through this.  We are all here because our ancestors were survivors and figured it out, so we have generations of problem solvers that came before us, and we will be no different.  If you have an idea for a helpful resource, please let us know so we can help as many people as possible.

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