Just when we were beginning to believe that things are getting better, the news that Makati Shangri-La hotel will temporarily close its doors come February shocked the business world.
Some would argue that shock is too strong a word. After all, nearly all businesses are hurting and still in recovery mode from last year’s losses. From the wealthiest taipans with their large conglomerates to the mom-and-pop shops that offer anything and everything from laundry to mobile car wash services, everyone keeps hoping to turn the corner and leave behind the ravages caused by the global pandemic.
But while we can understand a restaurant that operates from one branch deciding to throw in the towel and close shop, Makati Shangri-La is another matter altogether. One of the respected hospitality chains in the world, Shangri-La is the preferred address of the affluent and aspirational travelers as their home away from home. Its property in Makati has been the venue of many professional and personal milestones, corporate and family events that saying goodbye is as painful as bidding a fond farewell to a friend.
For all our sentimental musings, we can only imagine how hard it will be for the employees that will be let go as part of the organizational change. Shangri-La has other key properties that will remain open for now, but the temporary shutdown of its Makati location means some of its employees will have to start looking for new jobs in this difficult time.
If you are one of them, or find yourself in the same boat, here are some tips to help you in the transition.
1. Ask for the help you need
Don’t blame yourself because you are being let go, while some of your colleagues will continue to have jobs. It can be painful, but you need to stay positive especially if you have to look for another job and fast. Work on your resume, and do not hesitate to ask for the help you need in the transition.
In its statement to the media, Shangri-La Group said they are “providing colleagues with career transition assistance to help them get back on their feet.” Many companies are doing this and their help covers consultations on polishing your bio-data, to sending out your resumes to target companies, even referrals to employment placement agencies and headhunters. Say yes to all these – always better to have more options and then you can decide on what’s best for you.
2. Time to liquidate your emergency savings
It’s easier to face job loss when you have rainy day savings. If you do, now is the time to cash them in and check how long your funds can last. Ideally, savings that can cover your needs for 6 to 9 months will give you breathing room. If you will receive separation pay and other benefits, you should include them in your budget tracker.
According to Shangri-La Group’s statement: “Every effort is being made to support all our affected colleagues through this transition, including providing a fair compensation package that is higher than local statutory guidelines and extending healthcare coverage and grocery support until 31 December 2021 to provide affected employees and their families peace of mind during these uncertain times.” These assurances are no doubt welcome to the affected employees.
But what if you don’t have any emergency fund? Let’s hope your employer is as generous as the Shangri-La Group, providing much-needed cash plus covering two basic necessities - healthcare and food support – for the next 11 months as you find your footing. If you come up short, approach your family and friends for help. As much as you can, try not to get a new loan or rack up spending on your credit card. Interest charges will make it harder for you financially in this already stressful time.
3. Be ready for a different job, even underemployment
It’s always good to know where you stand in a competition, especially in job-hunting. The latest unemployment figures from the Philippine Statistics Authority report around 3.8 million Filipinos are jobless amid the coronavirus crisis. The region with the highest unemployment rate is the National Capital Region with 12.4% of the total.
Another alarming statistic is underemployment, or the number of people who are employed but are looking for more work to meet needs, which stood at 6.4 million workers.
When you start looking, you may find that there are fewer options, and that you are overqualified for the positions that are hiring. If you can afford to wait, you can choose to do so but many are deciding to take on these jobs for security. Reach out to family and friends with similar experiences and ask for their wisdom to help you make an informed decision.
Business conditions will improve, but it may get worse before it can get better. Until we know when, put your needs first and set up the best help network you can have to get through this.
Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.