How an Unexpected Employment Break Will Help Me Survive Covid-19 Part Two

Photo by Anh Nguyen on Unsplash

The longer employment break broke me into smithereens.

By January 2020, I was getting ready to start my overseas work when my exit requirements got into a hitch. A fellow expat would understand how bureaucracy and age-old immigration laws will sometimes make you feel that it’s better not to leave the country at all.

By March, I was anxious, broke, and unemployed like many others.

No cash was coming in. People were not coming out of their houses. The tallies of COVID-19 infections kept piling up, along with my expenses. When there’s trouble, you’re supposed to stick together. But two of our family members were far from home and the lockdowns made it impossible for any of us to travel.

Here are my top survival tips if there’s a COVID-19 Part Two.

  1. Tough situations can make or break you. But once you’re through that phase, you’re stronger and more capable of handling obstacles. Do not underestimate your moxy. You may not feel it in you but you have that inner strength or mental resilience to get out of trouble. Train that resilience by exposing yourself to challenges outside your comfort zone. When there’s a need, mine that strength and release automatically.
  2. Build an emergency fund especially during those times that you are well-off. As an accountant, I know how important it is for a business to have a steady cash flow. Treat your life like it’s your most important business. You cannot be caught unprepared in times of emergencies.
  3. Speaking of business, a period of unemployment is the worst time to start one. You don’t have a lot of leverage. You face internal and external pressures. That shouldn’t stop you from becoming an entrepreneur anyway. If you’re bold and risky, do it. But do know that you’ll face disappointments and frustrations.
  4. Start small. Think big. Be consistent. Pandemic or not, if you want to start something, do it small first. You’ll be amazed at how tiny steps can later snowball to larger impact. One example is the story of a Filipina who started a community pantry that later spread across many communities and sparked a collective spirit. Consistency is also a key factor here. If your actions are leading to positive change both within yourself and the people around you, keep doing it.
  5. Unexpected employment breaks can lead you to major breakthroughs. I rediscovered my passion for writing during my break from work. I thought that my well of creativity has dried up. But the lack of action and lots of introspection made me realize how writing helps me release all those pent-up thoughts and emotions. I broke through my accountant mold and re-invented my definition of a career.

Final Thoughts

As of writing this, I’m finally pushing through with my employment in another country. The pragmatic accountant in me needs the stable paycheck to rebuild my finances. Plus, international exposure has always been part of my career plans.



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Tin Mariano

Tin Mariano


International work experience, the expat life, and everything in between