Unemployment in the UK is rising at a rapid rate – the pattern is being repeated across Europe and redundancy and job losses are already massively prevalent across the US.  If you think you may be facing the sack as your company tries to consolidate or goes under, what real options do you have?

Well, the natural reactions to job loss are certainly very negative – anyone who has ever lost their job or who is now facing redundancy knows that it comes with feelings of anger, confusion and even fear – but it doesn’t have to be like that.

If you’re facing redundancy in the UK, now could be the ideal time to re-evaluate your options and look at the positive prospects you have.  In this article we’ll discuss expatriating, moving abroad to live and work – and also how you can make the very most of the skills you have, how you can skill up and ultimately, how you can turn the negatives of job loss into a positive life change for you and your family.

With the news that up to three million of us Brits could be on the job scrap heap by this time next year, it’s time for us all to face up to the very real prospects of potential job loss.  Some may say that focusing on the negative is a very bad thing and that you can bring about your own downfall if you become fixated on losing your job.  However, we’re not suggesting you become obsessive about it, rather we’re suggesting you are realistic about your prospects and that you have an action plan up your sleeve so that you remain the one in control of your destiny at all times!

Have you ever thought about living abroad?
Perhaps you have a dream of one day packing it all in and moving to the sun and opening a bar?
Maybe you have plans to retire overseas when you hit 65 and start drawing your pension?

It’s a fact that increasing numbers of Britons have actively thought about a new life abroad with some even going so far as buying a property overseas that they can holiday in now, perhaps profit from, and ultimately one day enjoy full time.  Well, why can’t ‘one day’ become today?  Why do you have to wait until you’re 65 or until circumstances are exactly right to move to live and work abroad?  If you’re facing redundancy, now could be the right time for you to be proactive and actually make your dreams become a reality sooner rather than later.

There is nothing like being forced into a tight corner, metaphorically speaking, for making us all have to take action.  So why can’t your action be a very positive one?  Why can’t your action take you overseas in search of that new and better life?  There are still jobs out there in the UK, and there are still jobs out there across the rest of the working world!  What you have to do is know which skills travel furthest, and concentrate on skilling up in those areas so that if you do decide that getting out of the UK is the right path for you to take, you will find your path much smoother into a new and hopefully better job overseas.

Did you know that one of the best, most transferable skills you can have is actually the ability to communicate effective through the medium of English?  Assuming you’re a native English speaker – how cool is that?  You have a transferable skill before you even have to start looking at your professional qualifications and levels of experience in one give area or another!  Indeed, communication and literacy; i.e., the ability to speak and write well in English is a top skill, massively sought after not only overseas but in the UK as well!  So, you get a tick in the box straight away and can start feeling much more positive about your prospects I hope.

Next up is IT – if you have any IT background, any ability to use a computer on any level, this is seen as a very real bonus when you look for a job.  Obviously the more technically adept you are, the better.  If you can work well as part of a team and as an individual, prove that you are a team worker as well as a self-manager of time and tasks, so much the better.  Those who are good at problem solving for businesses are also highly in demand, and finally, if you can bring to a company the ability to target and identify what motivates their customer base and therefore what drives the success of their company, you will be an excellent job candidate.

These are core skills that have been identified as being the most in demand skills across all key business areas.  Therefore, you now have the tools you need to ensure you’re effectively experienced and have the required abilities that employers at home and abroad want.  If you don’t have the necessary expertise in any of the areas identified above, get on a course and get trained up.  If you have lost your job you may be eligible for free training, alternatively, if you think your employer has some budget left in them, see if they will pay for you to go on a course that will give you skills to benefit the company you’re working for – and which will ultimately benefit you if your company does the dirty on you and makes you redundant.

Having covered the very real, positive and practical steps you can take if you do believe you could be facing the loss of your job, it’s time to talk about money.  Losing your job clearly has an immediate and dramatic financial impact on you and your family.  If you are ‘fortunate’ enough to be made redundant or given early retirement, chances are there will be a financial payout of some sort.  For others, a job loss is instant and impacting in that it comes because a company has no money left and there are no more wage packets and certainly no sweetener for having taken your job away.  If you’re one of the ‘lucky’ few who are given a few pounds in exchange for job security, you are in the best position to start a new life abroad.  You have the money in the bank to give you the tools necessary to make the move.  If you are unfortunate enough to have been let go with no financial back-up, then perhaps it would be far more sensible to secure a contract abroad before you make the move.

Whichever option you chose, take the time now to be as proactive as you can be.  Skill up, try and save and get some money put aside so that you have options if you do face the loss of your job, think about turning your dreams into a reality – after all, what have you got to stop you now – and finally, remember that the loss of your job doesn’t have to be the end, it can be the beginning of a new and better life living abroad as an expatriate.