Well this is a fine pickle, isn’t it? Between the coronavirus, the annual tick migration, and the march of murder hornets, we’re facing the possibility or the experience of a job loss. Being out of work is hard. It’s hard on your state of mind. It’s hard on your ego. And, it’s especially hard on your finances. Fortunately, with so many people in the same jobless boat, government support is available to many. Perhaps this is the golden opportunity to take that career pivot you’ve imagined but never had the chance to create.

First things first – stay solvent. The government is handing out billions of dollars in emergency aid, with unprecedented speed and relative lack of bureaucracy. So, if you need support, here are a few places to get started:

  • The Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).
  • CBC has compiled an interactive hub to determine which government benefits are available to you, both federally and provincially.

Next, protect your mental and emotional health. Extra teams and resources are in place to help people maintain their health and wellness during this time.

  • The Kids Help Phone, Hope for Wellness Help Line and Crisis Services Canada are a few examples.
  • Mind Your Mind (ca) provides a round-up of excellent support services for people of all ages and situations.

Third, know your rights. In some cases, businesses are shifting their business models to adapt and survive in this new economy and employees are being asked to change their roles in order to keep their jobs. In the short term, this can work well for both employers and employees. However, if your job has been changed permanently, this might be a case of constructive dismissal, pushing you to quit without the benefits of severance pay. In other cases, unethical employers may make unreasonable demands or not provide proper health and safety measures.

Howard Levitt, a Toronto employment lawyer, is addressing some of the many issues surrounding wrongful dismissal during these perilous times in his weekly Financial Post column.

Finally, look forward. Being unemployed, or even under-employed, is a time to reevaluate your priorities and manifest a better future.

While the federal government is fast-tracking its plans for career retraining support, resources such as Job Bank are already in place, with career planning quizzes and advice. Quartz.com takes you behind their paywall to “help navigate our community through these uncertain times”. With a free trial membership, you can check out the site’s “most helpful advice for career-building in quarantine”, including a workshop with tactical advice for navigating a career at any stage, and an article on “How you should actually write your résumé and cover letter,” by writer Holly Ojalvo.

Use the time to your advantage. Consider these words from The Daily Stoic:

“Maybe right now you’re stuck at home, maybe you’re not working… There is not a lot of good that can come out of a global pandemic, but one positive can be that we use it as an opportunity to get our act together, to adjust and fine tune our habits while we have the time.”

If you know someone who can use some of these resources, please forward this article to them. They need this support more than you do.