Can you afford to take a full day off from work?

the day off taking medicinePAYING THE BILLS TAKES MONEY


In order to take a full day off from work for most people that means an entire day’s loss of income.

That can be tough for any budget but there are times when it must be done.

Unless your employer has provided you with stellar benefits or a contract that states your days off are paid sick days you might be shaking your head, no you can’t afford to take a full day off.

You may say, yes you can afford to take a full day off because you have money saved up in the event that you need to take a day off and it won’t affect your budget too much. That’s great.

Some employees are lucky they can carry over their sick days, bank them or get paid out for them but you must read the provisions of your contract with your employer to know what is covered.

If you are not sure contact your human resources department or your benefits company for a more in-depth explanation. It’s better to know rather than to guess.


Full day off


Not everyone can afford to take a full day off from work especially if they are single income earners. It might not be as crushing to lose a full day’s pay if you have two income earners in the house but when you are the only person bringing home the bacon it’s tough to pick up that phone and dial the numbers to say, I can’t make it in today.

Personally I have never called in sick or taken a full day off from work that wasn’t a vacation day or my employer told me to take a day off.

To be honest, I’m not sure if I could make that call unless I knew beyond a doubt that I would not be able to work that day. Some people are born workaholics and although I’m only a partial workaholic (does that exist lol) I’ve just never had the need to take a full day off that wasn’t a vacation day, lucky maybe.

There are many other acceptable reasons why someone would call in to take the full day off such as a death in the family, no babysitter, illness, injury or an urgent matter that needs dealing with.

Many people cringe when other employees come to work sick but when you have mouths to feed they may not have the options that others do. Then again some employees cringe when their co-workers take the fullday off and they are stuck to pick up the work load. You can never win.

Of course there are some employees who are allergic to coming in to work every other Friday but if they get that doctor’s note there’s not much you can do until after the 10 days of unpaid leave are used up.

We can’t judge someone because we don’t know what happens when they leave work and it’s really none of our business. If the illness is one that spreads and is contagious then it becomes a health matter that needs to be dealt with promptly.

The common cold although it can spread many people still rise and shine and make their way into work because staying home won’t pay the bills.

How many times have you went to work sick or blowing your nose but didn’t want to call in because you knew that if you took the full day off it wouldn’t make a lick of difference?

A friend of ours had posted on Facebook how ill she was and of course the comments came pouring in. It’s the winter season and so many of us are prone to getting ill at some point unless you are super lucky.

What to do on your day off?

Well, her friends had some great ideas for her but nothing she could accept.

“Take the full day off, put your feet up and rest”, said one friend. “Make sure you drink lots of fluids and take care of yourself”, “Don’t go in to work, stay home”, said many of the comments.

Sure she was basking in the thought of staying home and taking the day off but there was no way she could because she is a single mother and she is already in debt up to her eyeballs.

Losing a full day of income might mean she can’t pay a bill that month or would have to cut back on groceries.

Debt is nothing to be proud of but for some people the credit card is their life saver and for a variety of reasons. Although I would never suggest using a credit card to get by on a daily basis that is reality for many people because they simply have nowhere to turn to.

They get locked into that debt system and for many they never get out and for others it takes them years upon years to break free.

Try not to look back at how much you actually paid out-of-pocket for that time in your life when it was rough but for those trying to get by, that might not cross their minds too often.

Putting food on the table and a roof over their heads is the priority while keeping the bills paid. That life must be tough so telling someone to take the full day off or getting upset with someone because they don’t take the full day off for one reason or another is not right. We don’t know what they are going through.

I know if someone were to come in sick to work at my employer and asked if there was a role they could do that was away from other employees for the day they would certainly accommodate them although not all employers can or have to do this.

We have a great team where I am so we work together when one of us has to take the full day off for one reason or another. Questioning them is none of our business. Our business is making sure we do what we are paid to do and that’s to work.

Getting nasty with your co-workers doesn’t solve problems either. Just because you can afford to stay home doesn’t mean everyone can and should follow the way you can live your life.

Trust me if someone had a personal emergency and could afford to stay home, they would pick up the phone and make the call.


Personal emergency leave


In Ontario if you work for an employer who regularly employs more than 50 employees you have the right to 10 unpaid job-protected days off each year no matter when you start with an employer.

Although, there are some jobs that are not covered even though there are more than 50 employees rather they are covered under special rules. To see the full career list visit the link below.

The 10 days is what is called personal emergency leave under the Ontario Ministry of Labour which has provisions for the employer and employee.

The employer for one must not fire or threaten any employee for taking a personal emergency leave or plans to take one.

The employer is allowed to ask you for a doctor’s note if you do call in so be prepared to make that appointment if need be.

You may also have to think about paying for that doctor’s note about $10 from most doctors’ offices. Some works benefits may cover that doctor’s note as well so don’t be shy to ask.

If you work for an employer that is covered under a contract or collective agreement and the provisions are less than the Employment Standards Act you still get the 10 days of un-paid personal emergency leave days.

I’m sure before personal emergency leave came into effect many of you were scared to call in to take the ful day off too many times because you didn’t know how your employer would react.

Even today you don’t know what they can or will do if they don’t want you around even though you are protected. It’s become much easier though for people who are stuck such as the babysitter can’t make it and now you have no one to watch your kids.

That would count as a personal emergency where you could call in to take the full day off although maybe having a second back-up babysitter would be a cheaper option rather than losing a full days income.

My wife’s friend seemed a bit hesitant to respond to the call of taking the full day off and relaxing as you could tell in her response but she opened up and said, “I can’t afford to take the day off”.

No more responses came in after that because it was clear that no matter what anyone said unless she was getting wheeled off to the hospital she had to go in.

The hard part is she has been through so many rough times with her jobs and education that has gotten her nowhere. Like many who get a higher education they are forced to work minimum wage jobs because they struggle to find work in their career right away, if ever.

Even though minimum wage is slated to go up to $11 that is far from enough to keep someone afloat especially if they are a single parent with no child support.


Plan in advance


Are there ways to prepare so you can take the day off?

If I had an opportunity to sit with her I would love to go over her budget with her, if she has one at all. If not I’d certainly work with her if she allowed me to so we could see where all of her money goes to help her get back on track.

So my first tip is to have some form of a budget so you know exactly where all of your money is going.

I know for a fact that she smokes over a pack of cigarettes every day. We all know what smoking does to our health and finances but sometimes we just need a bit of motivation to quit. I know I’ve been smoke free for over 2 years and smoked for many years.

I also know that you can’t force or manipulate someone into quitting. Although once they do and they look back they will wonder what took them so long to do it.

The smoking habit costs and it costs smokers big time. That would be her personal choice but it would certainly free up money for her.

She eats out regularly and is a well-known customer at Tim Hortons where she doesn’t hesitate to scrape up enough change every day to buy a few coffees.

You can easily see where some of the money is draining without even really knowing much about her income and debt. If someone complains of being broke all of the time by simply by watching someone’s habits you will know where the money goes.

My second tip is to combat all the small expenses in your budget.

If you could find all those little expenses that you blow every day and find a cheaper alternative like making your own coffee and bringing a lunch you could use that money for a rainy day.

Just because you might have lots of debt or on a low-income doesn’t mean you still can’t have an emergency savings fund. Of course it’s possible.

The hard part for many is waiting to see the emergency money pot grow or they spend it because of some excuse or another which is not an emergency.

Paying down your debt and not incurring any more debt is another way to lessen the burden of wondering if you can afford to take day off from work.

Although living pay to pay is tough you don’t have to continue down that route if you just find some ways to cut back and put that money saved to work for you. The worst thing you could do is cut back and blow that extra money. You will never get ahead.

Think before you spend your hard-earned money. Think about all the reasons why you would rather have money in the bank that grows rather than eating out or buying stuff you don’t need.

Some people don’t have any options especially if they are a contractor and or run their own business inside or outside of the home.

Finding a work life balance might be tough especially if you are the only captain of your ship. If you don’t show up to work the job will not get done.

Most people on contract have no works benefits nor do they have vacation days so taking the day off is a tough call to make. We all have to make ends meet so deciding whether you can afford to take a full day off for whatever reason may be stressful.

The good news is that for many the 10 unpaid days are available so if you need to use them and your day off falls under the acceptable provisions you don’t have to worry about losing your job, just your income for the full day.

What are some ways you prepare for unpaid days off financially?


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Summer Jobs For Students: Tips For Finding The Perfect Job

Hire Me Student Summer Job

By: Katrina

Now that school is over, at least for College and University students, it’s time once again to find those perfect summer job opportunities.  For the majority of students, the summer means 4 solid months of money-making time that should not be wasted. So, what can you do to make the most of those months to save up tuition money and expenses for the following school year or to start paying down OSAP loans or other school debts?

If you are University or College bound prepare your finances now rather than later because money can mount up fast when you don’t have a plan. It’s also a great way to plan ahead for your student budget before heading back to University or College if you know how much money you have earned over the summer months.

Below are some tips that I’ve learned over the years which worked for me or others that I know to find summer season jobs to make money. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there, after all most employers are looking for employees that are creative, go-getters and want to work hard for their organization.

Seasonal Jobs

Many landscaping, painting, and window washing companies as well as city works just to name a few, hire seasonal employees every summer. One popular company in Ontario being Student Works Painting which have employed students year after year since 1981. Being a student and only available for the summer months in most cases,  hiring students can be a costly move for a company.

Thankfully, the government has the ‘Canada Summer Jobs’ program and will provide some funding to these companies to help with the cost of paying summer students. These companies WANT to hire you as the government pays a significant portion of your wage….why wouldn’t they want to take advantage of this?

Stand Out In The Crowd

Summer time means lots of competition for these job opportunities. When applying for a job really take the time to create a résumé specific to that job position. If you have skills that qualify you for the job, make sure to highlight and concentrate on those more so than other irrelevant skills.

For example….I have many years of landscaping experience as well many years of retail and customer service experience. If I was applying to a landscape company I would focus a lot more on my landscaping experience and touch only slightly on my retail experience. Dealing with customers on a landscape job happens often so I would still mention that I do have customer service experience.

Job Research

Besides making sure your resume is in top-notch shape know the people you are applying to as well as the position applied for. Show some interest and they might just see how much you want the job and how you may be a perfect fit for the organization.

Do plenty of  research about the company and the name of the person you are applying too. Avoid writing a cover letter to ‘Whom ever it may concern’, take the time to find out their name. If possible find out their first and last name to avoid incorrectly using Mr or Mrs/Ms.  Showing that you took the time to look into the position shows how serious you are about wanting the job.  Give the company a call a few days or maybe a week after to see what the status of the position is. Don’t call everyday as you want to avoid annoying them, but calling to inquire will again show your interest and determination to get the job.

Job Network

Talk, talk, talk don’t be afraid to speak about what you are passionate about.

Something I have mentioned before in regards to making your own work is talking about what you do, talk about it a lot!! Just the other day I was approached by a couple who is leaving for the summer. They had heard that offer I landscape services and asked if I would be interested in maintaining their property for the summer. You bet I said YES!! Every job I do get, I always mention that they are more than welcome to pass my information onto others. I even managed to find a job simply by guest blogging here at Canadian Budget Binder from a fan who was interested in my skills and abilities.

If you can’t find job opportunities….make them!

If you have read some of my past posts you will know all about how I make extra money on the side from my full-time career. I offer to help people create, install and maintain their landscapes and gardens. Although I am no longer a student, a lot of what I’ve done could be applied to a student trying to find a summer job and having no luck. The idea of starting your own business can be terrifying! Believe me, I was scared even at the thought of it. But it doesn’t have to be, I’ve learned that running a business can be pretty simple.

Keep an eye out in your neighbourhood, many retirement aged people and seniors spend a lot of time away from their homes in the summer. In the spring you could pass out flyers offering to help maintain their gardens, cut their grass, water their plants etc. while they are gone. If you offer a reasonable price you would be surprised how many people will take you up on it! You could also put up signs on posts or billboards in offices or shopping centres that allow it advertising your service, what you do with a phone number tear-off at the bottom.

Business Ventures

Things to keep in mind while creating your own job opportunities…..

Don’t be afraid to jump into a new business venture if you feel you have an idea coupled with the skills needed to earn some extra money this summer.

In Ontario, as long as you operate your business as your own name, nothing fancy added, you are not required to register yourself as a business. Also if you operate as your name you do not require a business banking account, you can avoid the fees for registration and business bank fees. It’s a great way to save a little while starting up. You can always register and change your business name later if desired.

You are not required to pay GST/HST in Canada until after a revenue of $30,000 (before expenses) in one year, calendar year or any 12 consecutive months. This allows you to advertise your services as tax-free, if you are not paying it to the government you cannot charge for it.  Remember you still have to pay your income tax.

Training and Leadership 

Training and leadership based job opportunities are a great way to build confidence and skills in anyone wanting to take charge in their future. As a student, thinking about your post-education career can be terrifying. Are you going to be able to find a job in your field? Are you going to have enough experience? Do you have the skills and confidence to really win over an employer?

There are companies out there whose main goal is to teach you the necessary skills that you need to succeed. An example of this is a company called Student Works Painting as I mentioned above. They help College and University students run their own summer painting business.

Painting may not be what you plan to do with the rest of your life but this is a great way to learn how to run a successful business that you can apply to whatever field you choose. They will teach you leadership, management and business skills while supporting you every step of way to ensure you have a successful business. Not only are you left with some great knowledge and training, but also some excellent experience to add to your résumé.

Focus Groups

A focus group refers to an organization or institution looking for people to contribute their knowledge and or experiences to a research study. Most often I see focus group studies offered by Colleges and Universities or even organizations that help businesses with new product lines or potential product lines and want input from potential consumers in certain demographics. This is a great way for a business to see what improvements they need to make for a product or to find out if the product might even do well before they spend any more money moving forward.

Last summer I stumbled across an ad on Kijiji I (search jobs or under community category) looking for young females who endure physical labour on a regular basis. The study was regarding females and what was a suitable weight for lifting repetitively throughout a work shift.The study offered a rate of $15/hr, it took 4 hours and I made $60! I’m not going to lie and say that it was easy because I worked up a pretty good sweat doing this one, but it was an easy opportunity to make some money.

It was pretty cool too, I was hooked up to a bionic machine and being able to see on a computer every move I made was neat.  Schools will quite often have posting boards where they will regularly list paid current studies in which they are looking for participants.

Although participating in a focus group or online study that pays you money is not on-going income for the summer don’t pass up easy ways to make money when they fall in your lap. Money is money after all whether it’s  $5 or $5000 especially if you are not yet working, so make time to make money when you can.

Smile and Be Confident

Don’t get yourself down if you don’t get that phone call for that perfect summer job you were waiting for, think about what you can you do….and what job opportunities you can make for yourself! There is a lot of  summer work out there for students, just keep looking. It’s a great way to understand what you may face once you are finished your education so you can plan moving forward.

What other tips can you offer to students looking to find the perfect job this summer?

katrina cbb

Post Contribution By: 

Katrina is regular contributor for Canadian Budget Binder and is as passionate about personal finance as she is gardening. Katrina is a horticulture graduate with over 10 years experience with landscaping and greenhouse production.

Her goal is to share her knowledge and experiences blogging about gardening and her continued passion for personal finance in hopes of motivating others. While being a single mom of two and an in-store marketing representative  for major retail shops she also runs her own Landscaping Services in Southwestern Ontario.

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Get Out Of Bed And Make That Change

Picture the lazy weekend morning: The sun is bright, the day is young, and you’re in bed. For many of us, myself included, the temptation to stay in bed and enjoy the comforts of sleep and warm blankets is easy to do. It’s simple to enjoy the moment, to be still and content. I’m pretty sure that even those with uncomfortable beds or lumpy pillows enjoy these lazy moments and would rather stay in bed than confront the inertia of the day.

Similarly, for many people, it’s easy and comforting to go to the same job every day, to know what to expect, and to go with the flow. Even when they are not happy with their career or their co-workers, it’s easier to stick with what is familiar. Change is scary.

For me, the fluffy pillow was the four weeks of vacation I received each year. The warm, cozy bed was the defined benefit pension that I could expect to receive at the end of the road. The relaxing state of wakefulness that we experience in the morning was the comforting knowledge that each day, I would do similar tasks with the same people and collect my salary twice a month.

But what about the possibilities that lay at the start of a day? I had dreams of becoming a writer when I was younger. I loved the creativity of the arts. And here I was, making slides of solid tumours in the endless cycle of cancer research. This was my comfort zone and it was hard to leave.

Instead, I started small and began writing for a newsletter and a blog. Eventually, I got my first few freelance writing gigs that actually paid me money. I didn’t even have to make any huge changes! But it got me thinking – if these small changes already accomplished so much, what could a few big changes do? I was motivated and I had a feeling that it wasn’t too late for me. I asked myself, what good is the promise of a pension and weeks of vacation when every other week of your life is unfulfilling?

I took the momentum I had gained from my successful writing jobs and turned it into a two-year endeavour. It wasn’t easy, but like my previous attempt at stepping out of my comfort zone, it took only little steps. At each little step, I asked myself, “What’s the worst that could happen?” Usually, the worst wasn’t as bad or as insurmountable as it first appeared. First I took classes while still working, so that my employer would cover the cost. I realized that I had what it took to go back to school. Then I took classes while working in a job related to my new field and  I realized that I even enjoyed working again. Finally… I did math for the first time in seven years. Scary, multidimensional math! And I passed!

At the close of those two years, I emerged with a second degree, a new (and better paying!) job, and a good dose of pride. Despite the self-doubt, the sleepless nights, and the mountains of homework I never thought I’d have to do again, I’m in a much happier place.

Change is scary. We are creatures of habit and comfort and shaking up the natural order is not something we’re programmed to do. But in the end, while it’s nice to stay in bed, eventually you’re going to have to get out. Otherwise, you’ll miss the beautiful day that’s just starting to shine.

Guest Post By: The Outlier Model is a personal finance and lifestyle blog based on the pillars of “living life a little bit differently”. Focused on the belief that success follows those who choose to do something other than the normal, posts at The Outlier Model discuss topics such as budgeting, life hacking, and smart shopping. 

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Multi-tasking-Saving or Wasting Time and Money For Employers

You’ve heard it before or you even said in a job interview that one of your of your greatest strengths was your ability to multi-task. For most you would assume that this is what employers want to hear by saying you can think and do more than one thing at the same time. Do all employers want an employee that can multi-task or that is driven in this manner?

What is a multi-tasker?

Multitasking is the best performance by an individual of appearing to handle more than one task at the same time.

I believe that humans have different modes in the brain and they can turn them on/off depending on their mood. For the most part I believe that humans turn on a speed that they feel comfortable at to accomplish their goals. Not everyone is wired to be a multi-tasker and no they are not born that way they learn to be this way.

Somehow the brain seems to think like a computer program and is running different programs at the same time yet completing the tasks for each set of goals. You are partially aware of what is going on around you and what you are doing. Have you ever talked to someone who is right in front of you and you have to repeat yourself and they still say, pardon? Likely they were multi-tasking thinking or doing more than one job at the same time whilst zoning out on the non-important things in their surroundings.

The brain picks out all the relevant data and skims through processes enough so that they understand exactly what they need to do. I compare it to reading an article in a newspaper. You should be able to know what an article is about by skimming the first couple lines and the last two. If an article doesn’t provide enough information the process will be incomplete.

I’m not a big multi-tasker at all, in fact most times I can get the job done in a comparable speed as a multi-tasker and with fewer errors. How do I come up with all of this about multi-tasking? Well the lovely Mrs.CBB tells me about how she masters the art (so she thinks).  Mrs.CBB is a multi-tasker extraordinaire but at what cost? She has been rushed to the hospital with burns, cut herself, made critical errors, erased programs, let the kitchen sink over flow just last week etc. I could go on and on, trust me. You can bet that she WILL get the job done though at any cost.

All these insufficient errors were made simply because she was rushing to get more than one job done at the same time. On the other hand she has been able to complete projects, talk on the phone and answer emails faster than a speeding bullet. She has all sorts of wacky ways to remember numbers, people and events that most would never think of. For example she remembers phone numbers but associating the last 4 digits with birth years of people she knows that are close to her. Oddly enough her mother is this way and we’re pretty sure the habit started young by watching her mother even if that was not the intentions of her mother.

I on the other hand like to assess the situation, read all the information, rules and instructions first then proceed with the job. I rarely if ever have any problems or concerns with my work because I am so thorough maybe a bit of a perfectionist (Ok, I am a perfectionist). I’m the type who would be upset because I missed something that I should have caught where she would simply fix it and move on. If that means it takes me more time than the multi-tasker who potentially has errors with their work then so be it. Sometimes Mrs.CBB and I clash when it comes to time frames with getting jobs done around the house. She wanted it done yesterday and I say Is it “time for tea yet”, simply meaning chill out the job will get done. My father is like me, he takes his time with his work so he does it right the first time and to prevent injury.

So time is money and working at the speed of a multi-tasker or a one-track mind I’ll call it can cost you money no matter how you look at it. The question is to the employer which employee can potentially cost you the most overall for the position you are hiring. What are the pro’s and con’s of hiring a multi-tasker as opposed to someone who takes their time but is thorough and makes minimal errors if any.



  • Can handle more than one task at the same time
  • Can get the job done fast
  • May not seem as bored as other employees
  • Can achieve progress on many tasks even if it is minimal
  • Ability to deal with hectic situations
  • Adaptable to new technologies and using them simultaneously


  • Prone to errors, injury
  • Can cost the company money to repair errors
  • Inattention to detail, skims the surface
  • Not concerned with in-depth learning
  • May leave many tasks incomplete or partially done
  • Does not do well with constant distractions which may cause him/her to become frustrated

It really depends on the company as multi-tasking can be perfect for the right type of tasks or job description. If you worked at Tim Horton’s being a multi-tasker would be ideal as you could pour a coffee with one hand and stir with the other, rather than pour the coffee, set the pot down then stir. That takes more time and the average customer doesn’t want to spend any longer than 20 seconds in line. A long line up might send customers to the next shop that is quicker and can get them in and out which equals lost revenue for the first company. Another great example for a mult-tasker might be a chef who is cooking multiple meals at the same time.

If you were a construction worker for example and your job was to build homes in a reasonable time frame would you really want your guy/girl thinking about building different aspects of the home all at the same time. Probably not, although others may say otherwise. If I owned a company and I realize time is money but quality work and great references is also money I would want my employees to focus on the job at hand.

If my employee is working on a bathroom but still has to finish the kitchen I don’t want him toggling back and forth to try and get them both done at the same time. What happens? Safety Issues, sloppy work, errors and ultimately a tear down if it is not done correctly. This will take more time and lots more money. If  the employee focused on completing the bathroom renovation first then moved on to the kitchen his/her mindset would be singular rather than running rampant with a million thoughts of what to get done first.

How many of your friends or even yourself have looked at homes or watched Holmes on Homes just to hear Mike talk about contractors that rush jobs especially in new builds. They rush the jobs doing a more than one job at the same time and making a mess of things for the new home-owner.

Another example is driving and talking on the cellphone. Although it is now illegal in Canada we have to stop and ask ourselves why? Safety, that’s why. It was killing people, injuring people, causing scads of insurance claims, why? The brain can’t focus on talking on the phone and pay attention to the road at the same time.

According to the Harvard Business Review in 2007 that featured Linda Stone’s idea on “continuous partial attention”  meaning people were continuously scanning for opportunities. Focusing on the road and a conversation uses the same part of the brain. Most people become more involved with their phone conversation potentially resulting in the above mishaps.

So, what I learned is that time is money and a multi-tasker might be suitable for one job and not another depending on the employer. Are women better multi-taskers than men, well that is sure to be a hot fire topic. I can tell you one thing that my wife can take me on any day and come out champion multi-tasker but I can come out as champion perfectionist.

At the end of the day happiness does not come from getting the job done fast or first. Happiness comes from getting the job done right. Mrs. CBB recognizes her weaknesses with-in her strength and now plans less on her agenda so she can prioritize what is best to multi-task and what needs her full in-depth attention.

Are you a multi-tasker?

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Strategies to Survive Unemployment, Job Loss,Injury and Disability At Work

When you get laid off, injured or become unemployed the money may stop coming in but the bills never stop. Are you prepared for this situation if it happens? Red Alert….panic sets in, frustration, stress, what will you do?  Collection agencies will come calling and doing everything in their power to get money from you if you don’t pay. They will even go as far as taking you to court if they believe you can pay and have exhausted all other avenues.

Investing in yourself is, if not the most important tip you should take away from this post. You are your number one priority and you should take the time to know who you are and what you have to offer.

That’s not all though, not everything you have to pay for comes in the form of a bill. You still need to pay for your food or whatever else you pay cash for throughout the month. Thank goodness for local food banks who try their hardest to keep the shelves full for local families in need and to those that donate. Please, I have to say, for goodness sakes stay away from those Payday Loan shops or you will forever be indebted to them no matter what anyone tells you. It’s a cycle that is hard to break and will cost you an arm and leg. That’s like jumping from one fire into another with no hope in hell of getting out unless someone throws you a rope. Odds of that happening are slim to none unless you have some rich mates, win the lottery or simply have family who bail you out every time you create a mess like this.

Getting terminated or laid off can take its toll on someone and all sorts of emotions can surface especially if it was unexpected. When people tell me they have a secure job I always tell them there is no such a thing. How many people are we hearing of that are losing their jobs after many years of service? Just look at Ford manufacturing St.Thomas in Sept 2011  which closed down with over 1200 employees who lost their so-called “secure jobs”. Ford exported over 8 million vehicles around the world and was Canada’s Top Selling vehicle maker.  How many of these employees were students fresh out of high school that skipped College or University for a huge pay each week? Was it worth it?

I bet if you ask many of them they wish they had furthered their education after high school to gain some portable skills such as a red seal apprenticeship trade or nursing. Some are still struggling today in 2012 as it’s not an easy transition. Working in manufacturing facilities for a long time is like Shawshank, you get used to life on the inside. Not many people like to return to school well into their 30’s, 40’s or older with mortgage payments and children. Lucrative pay checks lure people in and once they sign on the dotted line it’s hard to break free especially when they start buying big-ticket items.

Our mate who worked at a car manufacturer for a few years gave up her $80k a year plus overtime job and is now a few steps away from becoming a doctor. Like Ford all things may come to an end or a slow-down unless businesses can keep up with the demands of the economy something that Ford was lacking. Not many people are running around in big gas guzzlers these days, not even me and I drive a truck. We need to prepare ourselves for any instance that may come our way even if it’s 20 years down the road no matter what industry we work in.

Then there are the folks who get injured at work or off the job and struggle with their insurance companies as the process can be daunting. Working with insurance companies such as Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) or Long term or Short term insurance through your works group benefits may take some time depending on your specific case. Always be in the know and understand your rights at work. If anyone has ever told you “Safety First”, heed that warning. Don’t let anyone bully you into doing a job that is unsafe not even a supervisor. I’m sure there are many people who could tell you a story or two about how they wished they’d use their voice.

In many of these cases people who struggle simply don’t have any money saved up or have very little to cover expenses. They may have to wait until they secure new employment, EI benefits or insurance benefits kick in or receive severance pay if they are entitled. It takes upwards of 2 weeks unpaid if you’ve lost your job which was no fault of your own through (EI) employment insurance in Canada. Of course there are other stipulations to qualify and you should start the process immediately. What happens if you and your spouse are both working at the same facility and both were laid off? How does that impact the budget? Are you prepared for this and how?

These are questions that should be answered and fast and before something happens. We like to keep upwards of 1 year in our Emergency Savings Fund in case of a scenario like the above as no job is a secure job. Most folks recommend 3-6 months although in today’s economy assess your situation and do what’s right for you. This should be ample time for most to sort out the situation by finding new meaningful employment or return to school to upgrade skills.

Strategies in Case of a Layoff, Loss of Job, Injury or Disability

  • Emotional Well Being- It’s important to take care of you and your emotions. If that means to take a break for a couple of days to gather your thoughts then do it. Call on your support networks like your friends and family to chat to and then pick yourself up and work hard at investing in YOU.
  • Budget! Enough said, we all should be budgeting our money so we know where it is going. It’s not difficult to do and simply educating yourself on steps on designing and using a budget are virtually all over the internet. You can also download online budget spreadsheets to use as your own.
  • Group Benefits- Do you know what they entail? You know that little booklet your employer gives you well make sure you read it cover to cover and know what benefits you have ahead of time. Know what your options are or will be when the time comes including your investments.
  • Understand Your Rights- Understand your rights as an employee and review the Employment Standards Act (fact sheet), WSIB Act or the Disability Insurance Policies to make sure you are covered and how. Understanding and knowing puts you in an informed position rather than relying on others to guide you along the way. If you are unsure ask your Human Resources professional for this information. Knowledge is power.
  • Emergency Savings is crucial to your financial well-being and will be handy in any emergency situation.
  • Your Resume should be visited at least every few months and updated to add any new skills that you have mastered or milestones you have reached.You can always edit the final copy but keep adding to it until needed. Most people wait until they are laid off or lose their job and tend to forget dates, and important skills employers may look for.
  • Cut expenses in your household while you can such as electricity, water usage and your communications bill (TV, internet, cell phone and home phone). If you call your communications company like Rogers or Bell retention or billing department you may be able to haggle a better deal. TIP: If you want to know how much electricity you are using visit your local library and see if they lend out the kil-o-watt meter to check your appliance usage.
  • Time of Use- If you have the smart meter installed outside your home start living with-in the cheap times of use as it can really add up if you are not mindful of this.
  • Spend less than you earn. Period! Stop putting money on credit, stay out of debt.
  • Grocery shopping can be a huge cost for anyone. Start shopping your weekly flyers, using coupons, price matching and stocking up on items that you know you will use if they are at the ‘best price” keeping in mind expiry dates. You can also post your shops in our grocery game challenge to keep track of your shopping and budget.
  • Shop second-hand for clothing and other items to save money in the budget. There are loads of shops and online outlets such as kijiji, Freecycle and Craigslist. You can also take advantage of garage sales in the summer time.
  • Career Change is something that most people never think about. If you are thinking about a career change you should do your homework. Research the career and know that if and when the time comes you already have a plan B in place.
  • Try to live on one income if you are a couple but that’s personal choice but certainly will help in the savings department. We purchased our home while I was in school and used my lower wage at the time which was $15.00 an hour to buy our first home.
  • Retirement Savings- if you have the money keep putting money away into your (Registered Retirement Savings Plan)RRSP, Tax Free Savings Account (TFSA) or any other investments for your future especially if your employer has an investment matching program.
  • Education is important no matter how old you are. Never stop learning. Always try to gain new skills whether it’s from your employer or you taking it upon yourself. It’s important to have a back up plan and skills to go along with it. You will be happy you did. Some employers offer an education incentive.
  • Networking is so important and people tend to forget about this. I always used to say you never know who your next boss will be so try to be nice to everyone you meet. Don’t be shy, introduce yourself and find out what others know and what they do for a living. You may be surprised how many people find their next job just from knowing someone. It’s true… “It’s all about who you know

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