Once a script lands his desk, Ralph Karlo Cayabyab immediately fires up the computer to seamlessly stitch videos and interviews that should make it to the afternoon news program. 

The days working as a video editor for a news organization exposed Ralph Karlo Cayabyab to various stories of people from different walks of life. Sometimes it’s about the victory of a passionate athlete or a brilliant student. Sometimes it’s about defeat — a farmer who lost his crops to a typhoon or a mother who lost her child to an accident. He has seen and heard them all. 

Never has it crossed Ralph’s mind that one of this year’s biggest story will be about him and his co-workers losing their jobs. Their company decided to retrench workers after the non-renewal of its broadcast franchise. 

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“I got scared of losing a source of income. I was worried about not being able to support my wife financially,” shared Ralph.

Not knowing how to be able to support his mother’s medical needs troubled Ralph for weeks. His mom has diabetes.

He only had one question — “Why now?”  

The pandemic is far from over. The economy is taking a hit, making it hard for retrenched workers to find another job. 

On the day he received his notice of termination, Ralph felt like his dreams are shattered. Soon after, he realized it should not end that way. So, he lives each day to pick up the pieces. 

If you are in the same situation or are afraid you might soon be, here are nuggets of wisdom from Ralph that might help sustain you during a difficult time. 

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Emotional support from family and friends matter most

Gone are the days when addressing your mental health is a minor issue. You can’t start moving forward in your life without acknowledging how you are feeling. That being said, you should reach out to a relative or a friend who can serve as your rock. They will be your strength when you are at your weakest. 

Ralph’s wife, Ayie teaches in a university miles away from where Ralph used to work. The strict protocols and lack of public transportation since March made it difficult for Ralph to go home. Not seeing each other made the situation even harder to bear. Nevertheless, Ralph felt Ayie and everyone in their family got his back. 

READ: It’s Okay To Not Be Okay: Breaking Gender Roles Stereotypes On Screen

“I make it through each day because of the support of my wife and family. My friends were also there for me. My co-workers and I have always treated each other as family,” said Ralph. 

Morning greetings or how-are-you’s somehow makes his day. In return, he is also sending out good thoughts and hoping for the best for everyone who has been affected by the lay-off. 

“I always pray for God to strengthen and sustain everyone who’s going through the same situation,” added Ralph. 

Little savings will go a long way

It could seem like the world is already experiencing the worst but these are unprecedented times. We will surely overcome this pandemic but we can’t say for certain if it will happen again in this lifetime. It may not be the same as this but we are sure to face another setback in the future. You can, however, prepare for these situations. 

Ralph made it a habit to secure a part of his earnings. He has money in the bank but he worries it will not be enough to cover their future expenses if he does not find a job soon. 

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“We are now living on my wife’s salary as an accountant and a university professor. We are stringent in budgeting our savings. We only use it to pay for necessary expenses,” shared Ralph. 

If you do not have an emergency fund, the government has installed safety nets for workers who unexpectedly lost their jobs, especially during turbulent times. For active members of the Social Security System (SSS), you can apply for an unemployment benefit if you have been involuntarily separated from work. It may be because of retrenchment or downsizing, closure or cessation of operation, installation of the labor-saving device, redundancy, and other reasons which SSS may deem acceptable. This also covers kasambahays (house help) and overseas Filipino workers (OFWs). 

READ: Government Aids To Help You Get Back On Your Feet

Because the government declared a state of calamity, SSS also opened its doors for members to avail of a calamity loan. Other government agencies such as the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) also made this program available. 

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Back up your back-up

Even the best plans tend to go astray. So, you should always have a “plan B” to your “plan C.” The longer your list, the more likely you are to emerge victorious from a difficulty.

While you still have the means, channel your strength and wisdom into creating streams of income. You can do this by knowing your strengths and potentials. If you have a knack for baking, then sell your treats on weekends. If you have a singing talent, accept event invitations such as weddings or birthday celebrations.

READ: 5 Profitable Hobbies You Can Start At Home

Ralph is entitled to separation pay, which he already plans on using to invest in their future. 

When he was still working for the company, Ralph was smart enough to Learn stock trading to grow his income. Now, he intends to invest a portion of his separation pay by putting it in the stock market. This way, he can maintain a passive income as he works on achieving more. 

Trading: Is It Right For You?

You are never too old to try new things

If you have not discovered these yet, use your downtime to learn new skills. If you are too shy to take a face-to-face class because a lot of your classmates might be younger than you, take an online class. Virtual lessons tend to have more flexible hours, which is perfect for those who have other obligations and could not attend a standard classroom setting. 

READ: Skills You Can Learn While Working From Home

Ralph is currently studying to earn a degree in Computer Engineering under the Expanded Tertiary Education Equivalency and Accreditation program of the Commission on Higher Education. Part of it will be used to pay his tuition. 

“For now, I have to focus on my studies and give time to my family. I believe there will be better opportunities waiting for me once I finish school,” said Ralph. 

Ralph spent a decade of his life working for a company that he loves and with people he considers family. Fate took away his dream of playing a role in telling people’s stories. He knows, however, that he can still dream more dreams … so can you. 

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Michelle Soriano

Michelle Soriano

After working as a TV reporter in a media network, Michelle Soriano has learned to appreciate the beauty of conversations. She lives in the moment but is an old soul. She believes dreams are best achieved with burning passion and brewed coffee.

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