Getting Back on Your Feet While in Between Jobs

Written by: Katie Conroy
September 15, 2020

If you’re struggling to make ends meet while between jobs, you’re not alone. Millions of Americans are unemployed as a result of the pandemic. While it may be challenging to find a new full-time job, there are ways to make ends meet by working online. Find ways to save and plan for your future, whether it’s going back to school or doing a certificate course to upskill in your field.

Career planning

One great way to gain momentum if you’re between jobs is by making a new career plan. Future planning can be done at any stage of your career, whether you’re still applying for entry-level jobs, or if you have senior experience in your field. Think Bespoke notes that developing a mid-career plan is helpful to help you reassess your goals and set new milestones for growth.

As you start your mid-career plan, first conduct a self-assessment. Consider your skills, your job requirements, and your short- and long-term goals. Reflection is helpful for determining your ideal future job and will help you find any gaps in your knowledge where you might choose to upskill.

After you self-assess, you should develop some criteria for your next role. This will help you determine which jobs or roles will suit you best, and will come down to a few considerations such as financial objectives, environmental preferences, and personal values.

Upskilling or further education

A break between jobs can be a great time to go back to school. If you like your career, Career
Tool Belt points out that this could be an opportunity to upskill or get more certifications that
would allow you to seek out higher-paying or more advanced roles. Or, if you need a change,
you could take this time to pivot completely and learn something new.

Returning to school can be time-consuming, which could be hard for adults who have children. If
you have kids, consider doing an online degree to allow for more flexibility in your schoolwork.
One good option includes getting a teaching degree; many institutions will also help you get a
license to teach in your state. Along with getting a teaching degree, you may have to submit
transcripts and pass entrance exams and skills tests.

A few other worthwhile online degree options include healthcare management, information
technology, and accounting; do plenty of research and consider meeting with a guidance
counselor before you choose a path.

Freelance work

If you need money while you search for new work, consider working online as a freelancer.
Many jobs these days can be done on a freelance basis, whether it’s writing, web design, or

To get started, update your resume and set up an online portfolio to show to prospective clients.
Investigate your options for freelance platforms such as Upwork and Fiverr, and determine what
would be best for your type of work. There are dozens of common freelancing jobs that will
more than fit the bill, so do some exploring.

Financial planning

Living without an income requires some careful financing, so be sure to set up a solid budget for
yourself during this time. You can save money by eating at home more often, making shopping
lists to avoid impulse-buying, and tracking your spending.

Debt can be a major stressor when you have a gap in employment. It’s important that you don’t
skip payments on credit cards and loans, because it will significantly impact your credit score.
You can contact your credit card company or lender and explain your unemployment—some
companies will offer lower interest rates or reduce your minimum payments. Also, look into apps
like Debtly that can help you manage credit card debt more quickly and get a handle on
repaying your bills.

Being unemployed is never easy, but it does afford you the time and mental capacity to
reassess your career path. Use this time to determine what your goals are and whether going
back to school would help you advance your career or help you find something you’re more
passionate about. Remember to be mindful of your spending during this time, and consider
freelancing if you need to earn extra income while between jobs.

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