But having seen the devastation of Hurricane Harvey, reading the Facebook posts of resume writing colleagues evacuating Florida ahead of Hurrican Irma, and having recently faced the untimely death of my "twin" brother, Sean, I am compelled to write a quick blog post about disaster planning.
I've actually written about this topic before. You can read some of my blog posts about disaster planning here:
- Business Interruptions: Natural Disasters
- Backup Systems and Disaster Recovery
- How to Backup Your Computer Files Automatically
- Business, Interrupted
The current wildfires in the northwest and the hurricanes and resultant flooding may be bringing your attention to the need for disaster planning, but even simple personal situations can trigger a huge problem. It pays to be prepared.
So here are four important things to consider:
- Review your insurance coverage at least once a year. If you don't have a separate business policy to cover your career services work, consider it. Mine costs about $350/year and includes business interruption coverage. In the event of a major disaster (most likely a tornado or house fire in my area -- hurricanes aren't really a thing in Nebraska), it will replace some of my lost income. Ensure you also have business insurance for your equipment -- your computers, for example. Your personal policy may not cover your business laptop.
- To speed up your claim processing in the event of a disaster, make sure you have an inventory (up to date!!) of your home and office. Your insurance agent will need a list of all your possessions -- including purchase dates and serial numbers. Could you provide that at a moment's notice? If not, take the time to AT LEAST take photos of your stuff. When you do create an inventory (even a simple one to start), email it to yourself so you'll have online access to it. (Or email it to a friend.) And then keep it updated!
- The most LIKELY disaster you'll encounter is a small one -- a loss of power while you're putting the finishing touches on a resume, or someone steals your laptop. Ugh! In both of these situations, you'll be kicking yourself if you don't have a backup. Subscribe to an online service that offers automatic backup capabilities. And do a REGULAR (monthly?) backup to physical media (thumb drive, CD/DVD, hard drive) and keep it OFFSITE. If your basement floods and your home office is down there, it won't do you any good if your thumb drive is in your desk drawer.
- Have a will. Please, if you don't have one -- get one. Sean died without a will. It took almost two months and a court order to have me designated as his personal representative. We couldn't clean out his apartment until we got that (that was specific to his specific apartment's management policy), but what a mess. Even a basic will in the meantime is better than nothing at all, so consider an online service like LegalZoom or US Legal Forms.
If you're in the path of the wildfires or hurricanes or other natural disaster, stay safe. If you're not, take a few moments to address these four issues so the next time a disaster heads your way, you're ready.