Jobless at the holidays? Hold on to hope

By Dave Ramsey

Dear Dave,

I lost my job a few days ago. We had an idea cuts were coming, but I thought it wouldn’t happen until well into the new year. My wife works, so that’s a good thing, and we’re both in our 30s. Do you have any advice for how we should handle things during the Christmas season and until I’m working again?


Dear Brandon,

I’m really sorry to hear this. Losing your job around the holidays can feel like a nightmare.

But before you despair, remember this is also the season of hope. And hope can’t be taken from you. It can only be surrendered. Keep your head held high, and focus on what’s still in your control.

First, cut back on your spending. When your income changes for the worse, eliminating all unnecessary spending is key. This is not the time to put Christmas on a credit card, or dip into retirement to cover holiday expenses. The last thing you should do right now is steal from your future to buy more stuff. Find some kind of seasonal work. Even if you’re packing boxes or stocking shelves, you’re contributing to your household and easing the stress. This side income will be a real blessing as you continue your career search.

Be open with your family, and what this change means. If there are kids in the picture, you and your wife should be in agreement on how you handle things where they’re concerned. Explain to them in an honest, loving way what has happened, and that Christmas will look a little different this year. A couple of inexpensive gifts may not be out of the question, but as harsh as it sounds, presents are not a priority right now. It may be uncomfortable or disappointing for everyone, but it can also offer a bonding opportunity and a valuable life lesson.

Keep a positive outlook, and stick to your normal routine as much as possible in the days ahead. Wake up early every morning, and make a list of things you will accomplish that day. Update your résumé, start networking, and begin submitting applications like that’s your new job. Work hard, stay hopeful, and focus on the goals ahead of you.

Refuse to give up, Brandon, and you will succeed. May God bless you and your family!


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